Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Perhaps it is indeed the most European values: no one from the German TV channels showed an interest in the documentary of the journalist Mark Bartalmai, who is living in Donetsk since 2014, and impartially documented events in the People’s Republics. The truth about Donbass appeared to be uninteresting for central media, and instead of this they released the hounds on the journalist.
Mark Bartalmai is the only German journalist who, except for small breaks, is in Donetsk for such a long period of time, since 2014. None of his colleagues can brag about such experience. For example, the famous propagandist of ARD TV channel Golineh Atai mostly gives her reportings about Donbass from Kiev, receiving information on the conflict from the “hands of the enemy“: such an approach has little in common with qualitative journalism, writes the German website Telepolis.
Mark Bartalmai repeatedly offered his works to central TV channels and news services, however all of them were rejected. And as if that seemed to be not enough, in July of last year the ARD TV channel showed a reportage, the aim of which was to discredit the journalist.
Most likely, this programme was a reaction to the first film of Bartalmai under the name “Ukrainian agony – The concealed war”. Despite the fact that the author of the film was branded “Putin’s propagandist”, the film gained success, then the journalist was engaged in fund raising for further work.
The new movie of the journalist “Frontline City Donetsk – Republica Non Grata”, first of all is a classical documentary, which after viewing the watcher can create their own opinion on the events. And it is due to this fact that this film has an advantage over the first film, where the conflict in Ukraine was shown more from the point of view of global interests.
It should be immediately noted that the film doesn’t describe the “camouflaged Russian army, which oppresses the local population with assistance of insurgents lusting for power”. Instead, the film describes those people who, in May, 2014, in their vast majority voted for separation from Ukraine, because, for them, the Kiev coup and the course on friendship with NATO was unacceptable.
Now, nearly three years later, the German media began to pay less and less attention to the crisis region. Meanwhile, the film of Bartalmai shows how consumers of news in the West are deprived of honest and realistic reportings from the place of events.
In the documentary the process of reconstruction of civil buildings in Donetsk is shown: houses, hospitals, schools destroyed by the Ukrainian artillery in 2014-2015 – i.e. in the hottest phase of the war.
At the very beginning of the film, the journalist asks a question – and who actually is a separatist? In the documentary numerous examples are shown of how actions of the Ukrainian authorities simply didn’t leave the people of the DPR another choice except how to create their own state.
The people living on that side of the blockade could hardly do something other than create their own structures for the maintenance of civilized life. Thus, it is possible to understand why decisions on nationalization of the enterprises creating additional profit were adopted: now the profit ceased to go into the pockets of Ukrainian oligarchs, and goes towards providing life for the people of Donbass.
Bartalmai draws a portrait of young society, which created – if to measure by international standards – their own apparatus of justice and police, which has its own car registration plates, passports, and committee on the defence of human rights, which is in continuous contact with OSCE and other structures. It is possible to say that the DPR is an even more constitutional State than Ukraine itself.
All this completely contradicts the image of “Russian occupation”, which so willingly is distributed by our (German) media. Thus, in the film the significant role of Russia isn’t denied: after the Ukrainian market disappeared, the traditional market – Russia – became the main supplier for the DPR. In addition, Russia regularly sends humanitarian convoys to the Republic.
At the end of the film the author convincingly shows that the destiny of the civilian population of Donbass in reality doesn’t especially interest neither western governments, nor the OSCE.
Somewhere it is even possible to assume that the German government realized already a long time ago that in the case of Ukraine it made a huge mistake, however it can’t recognize its own failure. Of course, it is difficult if you always present actions as non-alternative.
The documentary of Mark Bartalamai would have appeared on central German TV channels, however our news, obviously, declared Donbass “nobodies land”. And it is precisely for this reason that we need this film, summarizes Telepolis.
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