By Dan Clendenin
Winter on Fire (2015) — Ukraine
When Victor Yanukovich was popularly elected president of Ukraine in 2010, he promised his people to join an E.U. trade agreement, and to foster closer ties with the west. When he broke that promise in the fall of 2013, a few hundred university students protested in the main Independence Square of the capital city of Kiev. Those early protests morphed into 93 days of violent and bloody revolution in Maidan Square, and even a “March of Millions,” as Yanukovich unleashed the police, the dreaded special Berkut forces, and even paid thugs. This “Netflix Documentary” captures the revolution as it happened, and interviews the participants. The broken promise symbolized broader disagreements between pro-western and Russian-leaning citizens. In the end, Yanukovich fled to Russia on February 22, 2014, new elections were called, and the Ukrainian parliament signed the trade agreement. But there’s a grim footnote: in March of 2014, Putin annexed the Crimea in southern Ukraine, and by the spring of 2015 some 6,000 people had been killed in the conflicts. This film has won numerous festival awards, and was shortlisted as one of the fifteen finalists for the Best Documentary for the 2016 Academy Awards. In Ukrainian with English subtitles.
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