Breaking Point: The War for Democracy in Ukraine (2017) Movie Script

The endlessly
fertile black earth.
For centuries,
Ukraine's blessing.
But also its curse.
From East to West,
the invaders came.
First, the Mongols,
then the Poles.
Then the Turks.
Then the Russians.
Hungry for grain,
hungry for bread,
the invaders conquered the
land and reaped its harvest.
Empire after empire stained
the earth with blood and ash.
It's not an accident that the
Ukrainian national anthem
the first line is
"Ukraine has not yet died."
Your country is
living on the edge,
if that's how you
celebrate your existence.
We're still here!
We're not dead quite yet!
I remember,
my grandmother was from
central Russian-ruled Ukraine.
My grandfather was from
western Polish-ruled Ukraine.
She was Orthodox,
he was Catholic.
And one of the most
intense debates,
which raged almost daily
around their kitchen table was:
"Who repressed us more?"
In 1932 and 1933,
Stalin starved to death
millions of Ukrainian farmers
to crush the country's
dream of independence.
Millions more were killed
during World War II
in the Nazi-Soviet
battles over Ukraine.
Just like Stalin,
Hitler thought Ukraine was
a kind of breadbasket
that he needed for an empire.
The Soviet Union starts
when Russia and Ukraine
are brought together,
and the Soviet Union ends
when Russia and
Ukraine come apart.
Newly independent Ukraine
was a country still ruled by
its communist era bosses.
They didn't call themselves
communists anymore,
but they were still in charge.
The Orange Revolution was
very brave and very promising.
What happened next
is incredibly disillusioning
and very sad.
The government they
want comes to power
and it does so badly
at actually running the country
that Yanukovych,
who had failed to become
president fraudulently,
is then elected as
President of Ukraine.
A last minute about
turning Ukraine
has seen the government
suspend a trade pact with
the European Union just a week
before it was set to be signed.
The government has
now issued an order
calling off parliamentary
votes on the deal
saying it will renew active
dialogue with Russia.
Ukrainian President
Victor Yanukovych
refused to sign the deal
despite last-ditch efforts
by European leaders
to persuade him overnight.
That's prompted anger.
I live not far away from here.
So, I was able actually to come
to Maidan three times a day.
Sometimes two times a day.
Sometimes stay some
hours in the night.
I liked especially the
fact that students
wanted to have a
non-political protest.
Then I became very optimistic
thinking it's much easier to
put a small country in order
than a huge country in order.
Those who tried to
save themselves
were caught, thrown to the
ground and beaten with sticks.
Some of the protesters escaped
towards St. Michael's Square.
A monk invited them to take
refuge in the monastery.
They barricaded the
door from within.
The young people taking
refuge in the monastery say
they do not intend to go home.
After this morning, they"re no
longer afraid of anything.
They felt physically dutied
living in Yanukovych's Ukraine.
You couldn't live
an honorable life.
Paying bribes, accepting bribes.
You had to be corrupt.
Especially for this
younger generation.
People who came at the age
after the Soviet
Union had collapsed.
People who knew the West,
they knew you didn't
have to live like that.
And a lot of this was:
"" I will not live this way.
I refuse to live this way. ""
When you have a revolution,
whether peaceful or violent,
you have of course
destruction of so called
peaceful rhythm of life,
because you don't know
what to expect next.
You don't know how the
protest will finish,
and you don't know whether
it is dangerous or not
to be next to the protest.
Tetyana Chornovol told
police her car was stopped
by a gang of men near
Kyiv just after midnight.
She was dragged
from the vehicle,
assaulted and left in a ditch.
She suffered a broken nose,
concussion and numerous bruises.
The reporter had just
published an article
on the personal wealth of
Ukraine's interior minister.
Ukrainian members of
parliament on Thursday
voted for a draft law
that threatens
fundamental freedoms
including the right to assembly.
Opposition members tried to
block the vote but failed.
The main two things
which shocked me
that at some point, people
lost sense of humor on Maidan.
And almost next day they
lost fear of death.
This is still something
which puzzles me
because I cannot decipher the
psychological instruments
which force people to forget
about security, safety,
about their personal life,
personal obligations to their
families and to the closed ones,
and how they become ready
to die for their country
which was always corrupt.
The BBC can't independently
verify this footage
but video has emerged
which appears to show
president Yanukovych's entourage
fleeing from his luxurious
mansion outside Kyiv...
This afternoon crowds
of curious Ukrainians
streamed into Yanukovych's
sprawling compound.
It's a huge estate. I mean,
they say it's half the
size of Monaco,
costs millions of
Euros in making.
A lot of protesters
are very unhappy
that Yanukovych had
such a place to live
given that living standards
in this country are so low
that average monthly salary
is around 300 Euros.
What was the level of
Yanukovych's corruption?
It's hard to compare in hard
numbers how Yanukovych
ranks to his predecessors,
but Yanukovych seems to have
been in a class by himself.
I've seen one account
that suggests
in four years he stole
perhaps ten billion dollars.
There was never anything
quite like the Maidan.
There was never a
revolutionary movement
on behalf of unified
Europe before.
People never died in the
name of a united Europe.
Before that never happened.
There's never been a movement
this far East in Europe
which was chiefly
about the rule of law.
America is officially calling a
"Russian invasion of Ukraine."
"This is a Russian invasion."
The US says.
There is no doubt these
are Russian forces
roaming the roads here
in Ukraine's Crimea.
There was an opportunity
that I think Putin saw
given what was
going on in Kyiv,
to basically return Crimea
to Russian control.
A few days after
Yanukovych fled Kyiv,
we saw the appearance of
what the Ukrainians called
"little green men."
Combat soldiers who, when you
watch them on television,
by the way they handled
their weapons,
they were clearly
professional soldiers.
Very well-trained
professional soldiers.
They were in Russian combat
uniform, but no insignia.
The military invasion of
Russia to Ukrainian Crimea
was absolutely predictable.
Putin started to think about
the annexation of Crimea
immediately after the war
with Georgia in 2008.
And Vladimir Putin
knew for sure the West
would not be intervening
in the military sense
to this situation in
Crimea in Ukraine.
What you've seen in
terms of Russian action
is really egregious.
It's a land grab.
You can't find any
other instance
where a European state
has used military force
basically to change
borders and take territory
from another country.
For Vladimir Putin
annexation of Crimea
was to give more
energy to this myth
that Ukraine and Russia
are the same nation.
And he thought it would
be only beginning,
because he planned
annex not only Crimea.
He really thinks that
Ukraine doesn't exist.
Having so effortlessly
gobbled up Crimea,
it's very easy to see
that Putin at that point was
encouraged to keep going.
There's a Russian saying: "the
eating increases the appetite."
And I think it applies
very much to Putin.
Reuters has reported
eyewitness accounts
of the appearance of Russian
army troops without insignia
in East Ukraine.
After a firefight near
the Russian border
of the Ukrainian
city of Kramatorsk,
pro-Russian militants seized
the police headquarters.
This is Horlivka. They"re
storming the building.
Throwing rocks through windows.
And the police inside
are throwing out smoke grenades
and stun grenades.
When I was watching the Russian
invasion of Eastern Ukraine,
for me it was deja vu.
Not long before I had
finished writing a book about
the Stalinization, Sovietization
of Eastern Europe in 1945.
The methods were
exactly the same.
It was what Russians
call 'maskirovka'.
Pretend they"re not
really Russians.
Create fake political parties.
Create fake slogans.
Recruit local criminals
to undermine what
existing power there is.
This is what the pro-Russian
revolution in Eastern Ukraine
looks like from the inside.
The idea was to create
the semblance
of a separatist movement.
Persuade a few
people to join it.
Persuade the outside world
that that's what it was.
All under the guise of it being
de facto Russian invasion.
Of course now it's more than
clear that's what it was.
Ukraine's army has launched an
aggressive military operation
as the government tries to
regain control of several...
Ukrainian army setting up
their positions on the road
into Slovyansk,
checking vehicles...
I think Putin's original goal
was to divide Ukraine.
What he didn't expect was
push-back from the Ukrainians.
After Crimea was so
easily conquered,
he expected to walk into
Odessa and other cities
and have exactly
the same reaction.
And I think what he has never
understood, and this has always
been hard for Russians
to understand, is that
there is such a thing as a
Ukrainian national identity.
There are reports that
the Ukrainian army
moved forward this morning.
But we've heard from reporters
that Russian groups had
reestablished positions.
Ukraine has become a testing
ground for the Russian military.
But with one very significant
modern circumstance,
additional condition.
And that's the Propaganda War.
When I look at what Russian
propaganda is spreading,
I wonder at the
power of Photoshop.
How Photoshop can be very easily
used to distort the picture.
The massive lies spread by
the Russian propaganda,
even before the war started,
were a key factor in
destabilizing situation
in Ukraine.
During the three months
of armed clashes
in the Donbas region,
the Kyiv authorities have
not been able to quell
the uprising of the
People's militia.
Inept command, thousands
of dead soldiers
and a critical
shortage of funding
does not give the Kyiv regime
any hope for winning.
Why do Americans need this war?
All wars have a propaganda
and disinformation element.
This one is nothing new.
What we've seen, over
the last two years,
is a massive propaganda campaign
and a very-very successful
disinformation campaign.
...Russia does not only protect
its national interests,
but seeks to prevent the
outbreak of World War Three.
The Russians understand
western media
far better than the western
media understands itself,
and they play to the western
media's short attention span.
If you keep track, you'll
see actors and actresses
playing different roles
in different places.
They just move from
one place to another.
If you keep track, you
know what's going on.
But in the flood of events, what
happens is the Russians do that,
and then they do something else.
And each is treated
as a separate story
or ignored as
part of the noise.
As long as the Russian
government can always
have its message out there,
it will get it covered.
As outrageous as it may be.
Statements that are
just simply untrue.
A Malaysian airliner with
295 people on board
crashes in Eastern Ukraine.
We"ll be live across the world
assessing the impact
of this disaster...
...bound for Kuala Lumpur,
roughly three hours
later Ukrainian
air traffic controllers lost
contact with the plane.
Kremlin-backed forces
boasted online
of shooting down a Ukrainian
military transport plane,
before hastily
removing the posts
after realizing minutes later
they had mistakenly shot down
the international
passenger flight.
The passengers on board that
plane were from all over Europe,
Asia, even Australia.
But most of them on board,
154 of the 295 on board,
were Dutch.
Also, disturbing reports that
as many as 80 children
could have been on board.
Another disturbing layer to
this already horrific story.
There were truly horrific
pictures of people
from Donetsk and Luhansk
raiding the wreckage
from this downed plane.
Had this gone on for very long,
it would have become obvious
to everyone I think,
if nothing else had occurred,
that the Russian
government bore
ultimate responsibility
for this.
But it didn't happen that way.
When the Malaysian airplane
went down over Ukraine,
that was something
they didn't plan,
they didn't mean
for that to happen.
And so they just threw
up a lot of messages.
The Americans did it,
the CIA did it,
it was the same Malaysian plane
that went down over the Pacific.
The CIA dredged it up,
filled it with corpses.
They have these ideas,
and the point of those ideas is
not that anybody believes them,
but that a real tragedy
involving real human beings
becomes just a media event.
Returning to the Netherlands
where their tragic
journey began,
the first of the victims
of Flight MH17.
40 bodies, all of them
yet to be identified,
carried out of the cargo planes,
with the dignity and
respect they deserve.
It took the shooting down
of a Western airplane,
it took the deaths of
Europeans and Australians
to really wake the West
up to what Putin was.
And to the lawlessness
that he represented.
And to the fact that that
was really dangerous
not just for Ukrainians,
but for everybody else.
We ask our partners
not to lift sanctions
until Ukraine takes over the
control of its entire territory
starting with the East of
Ukraine and ending with Crimea.
Crimea was, is, and will
be a part of Ukraine.
Mister Putin, you will never win
the fight against the nation,
united Ukrainian nation.
Despite the war,
despite everything,
the main problem in
Ukraine is rule of law.
And if that problem
could be solved,
then not only would all the
other problems in Ukraine
fall into proportion,
resolve themselves,
but also that would be
the best possible result
for the rest of Eastern Europe
or for that matter, just Europe.
Because getting over the hump
from corruption to rule of law
is a lot harder than having
a revolt or a revolution.
Ukraine faces a very
difficult future.
They have these two
big challenges.
One is that they've got to
restructure their economy,
to put on the decentralization.
There's a lot of things
they need to do
to make Ukraine a state
that functions better
in terms of meeting the
requirements of the population.
And they have to do it
while they are engaged
in this military conflict
with the separatists and
the Russians in the east.
Ukrainian society is
united more than before.
And it was consolidated
by Maidan events.
They are together. And it
doesn't matter whether they are
Jews, Greeks,
Bulgarians, Hungarians.
The only way forward
for Ukraine,
and the only way to
move towards Europe,
is to build a political nation.
Where everybody feels equal
and everybody feels Ukrainian
as in England, everyone
feels British,
whether they are
Indian, Pakistanis,
ex-Polish, Russian, or
English, or Scottish.
Ukraine's become a piece
of a bigger struggle
which I think is really
going to be about the future
of European democracy.
Can European democracy even
survive, into the 21st Century?
Ukraine is really the
first step in a Russian
attempt and effort to undermine
and destroy the West.
And this is said
openly in Russia.
You don't need to be a
conspiracy theorist
to think that.
Ukraine is an illustration
and a demonstration
of Russia's national goals.
Precisely for the reasons
that Putin fears and opposes
the rise of a democratic,
prosperous rule of law Ukraine,
we should be doing everything
we can to encourage it.
I am convinced that the path
to democracy in Russia
goes through Ukraine.