Ukraine

I organised a projection project during the first week of the war, broadcasting messages from friends in Ukraine onto prominent London buildings. I then visited Ukraine in Oct 2022 and May 2023 to film long-form interviews with figures such as Zelensky’s Economic Advisor (pictured), the best firearms instructor in the country, the Head of the Veteran Brotherhood, and a DJ from the coolest club in Kyiv. The posts went viral on Instagram and YouTube.

May 2023 interviews

May-2023

Nikolai Mikulich had a reputation before the war as the best firearms instructor in Ukraine, and when Russia invaded he fought them with his own weapons. In this interview he describes how he survived a piece of shrapnel going between the two hemispheres of his brain.

Alexander Rodnyansky is Zelensky’s Economic Advisor. we talked about Russian interference in Ukraine and the economic argument to support Ukraine as we walked around Central Kyiv.

human margareeta is a DJ at the club that “does not exist” (see above), which I visited on my first trip to Ukraine in 2021. In this interview she explains why she chose to return to Kyiv despite it being under constant attack, even though she could have continued to live and work in Berlin.

Max Nefyodov is also the co-Head of damaged.in.ua, which scientifically estimates the cost of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He was previously in government for 6 1/2 years – an unusually long time for a Ukrainian politician – and was instrumental in creating and passing into law ProZorro, a groundbreaking anti-corruption website which Ukraine has exported to other countries.

Oresta Brit founded the BON charity foundation. I interviewed her in the charity’s secret bunker in Kyiv.

Ilya Porkalov is an analyst and world-class motorcyclist. He made a series of accurate predictions about the war a month before the invasion.

Oct 2022 interviews

Oct-2022

The interview that started it all. I visited Kyiv in Oct 2022, the weekend that Putin was annexing 4 regions in Eastern Ukraine and threatening nuclear war, and spontaneously interviewed my friend Nikolai Mikulich, who’d taught me how to fire a Glock and a semi-automatic when I first visited Ukraine in 2021. He brought along his friend Dmitri Shatrovskiy, who joined the Azov Battalion in 2014 and is the Head of the Veteran Brotherhood. They were both recovering from being near-fatally injured on the front line a couple of months before.

The interview got 17,000 views on YouTube, with one commenter describing it as “the best interview about the war so far”.

Oleg Belotskiy was a champion competitive motorcyclist before the war, and taught me how to ride a motorbike when I first visited Ukraine in 2021. When Russia invaded he transported refugees from Kyiv to the Polish border and weapons from the Polish border back to Kyiv, before joining the Hospitallers Medical Battalion and rescuing injured soldiers from the front line.

projection project

projection

I was due to be in Kyiv the weekend of the invasion, and only cancelled when the British Embassy said that they would not help repatriate citizens. Instead, I organised a projection project in London in which I broadcast messages from friends into Ukraine onto the Southbank, as well as projecting “иди́ на́ хуй” (a reference to Snake Island) onto HMS Belfast and “Путин хуило” (a popular slogan of the opposition in Russia) onto the ITV Tower. The trailer got 80,000 views on Instagram.

The post that went the most viral on Instagram was one about a cult Kyiv nightclub, known by the mathematical symbol that looks like a backwards capital “E” with a line through it, that means “does not exist”. The club represented the liberal democracy that was under threat from the repressive authoritarian invader.

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