A hat-tip to Hettie D. because that blog is where I was introduced to this documentary. Hettie highly recommended “watching this movie to all my friends who ask me “how Russian people feel about what’s going on”. There are English subtitles.”
This is a feature length video, however, so you should probably bookmark the video for when you have some time to be engaged with it. The documentary was directed by Russian journalist and independent filmmaker Andrey Loshak. The documentary was produced for Current Time. For the hyper-partisan amongst us, yes: Current Time is a project of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and I’m just fine with that. If you are not then you probably ought to watch the documentary, but I won’t argue.
I left this documentary with some observations that are difficult to write about, mainly because anyone reading what I have to say before watching the documentary will likely be misled regarding its content. This is, in essence, a love story that follows several families who span the Ukraine / Russia divide. It is about the fear, anger and bewilderment that comes when someone you intimately know and love becomes repugnantly alien in an existentially fraught situation.
And that fraught situation is the “politics by other means” of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Having been active in protesting the Vietnam war (among others), I found the documentary to be distressingly familiar. I leave doing a compare-and-contrast re: Vietnam and Ukraine to you, dear reader, but it’s worth pointing out that it is not at all clear how much the U.S. anti-war movement influenced government policy. Certainly it was a decisive influence on a good many political careers, but the war dragged on. I suspect whatever constraints the movement placed on actual policy was secondary to the disintegration of the U.S. military in Vietnam: the fragging, drug use, refusal of orders, not to mention the occasional racial conflict. There are stories suggesting something similar is happening to the Russian military in Ukraine, but the context is different… so who knows what will happen?
3 thoughts on ““Broken Ties””
Thank you for reblogging! It was surprising to hear you drawing parallels to the Vietnam war… I mean, I understand why, but unfortunately, I have zero expectations of Putin pulling out of Ukraine. Russia is not even close to the “back then” US, and so far, as I’ve already mentioned multiple times, I only see the parallels with how WWII had started.
You’re welcome, Hettie. But it is an important documentary and it’s only proper to give credit for introductions.
There are indeed parallels with WWII and you can also find parallels with WWI. All of them have some use in illuminating the situation but while history might rhyme, it never really repeats itself. To paraphrase one of Karl & Freddie’s better bon mots on the subject: Humans make history but not just as they please.
Let’s hope humans live through all this because, combined with several other gathering crisises, it is a very dangerous time for everyone.
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Hope is always here, and maybe a little bit more than just hope. One of my Ukrainian friends wrote to me: the time will come, and the castle of Evil will come down, and the sky will be blue again, but maybe not as soon as you and me wish it to happen.
I now virtually carry this note close to my heart 🙂
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