Borderlands vs. Freedom of Speech?

This story  is from a couple of days ago and involves Freedom of Speech issues.

The lede:  Ukrainian Embassy to Poland demanded that the film “Masks of Revolution”, made by independent French filmmaker Paul Moreira  not be shown in Poland.

Later development:  The film WAS actually shown in Poland, on 21 February, Channel TVN24.  I got that latest factoid from this StopFake piece.  StopFake, which is a pro-Maidan, anti-Russia outfit, calls the film “scandalous” and clearly believes that it is all just a pack of lies.  Indeed, anything which impugns Western-backed regimes, is clearly a pack of lies, according to StopFake.  But anything that impugns Russia is true, by definition.

Tears of Outrage

Ukrainian Embassy, crying their eyes out, issued the following statement:

“What hurts the most, is that the Polish channel timed this film with the second anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity.”

Did Maidan rioters set police on fire? Nope, never happened.

The Embassy demanded the channel explain “why from variety of objective films about Maidan events this particular lying creature of the Russian propaganda was chosen, which insults the memory of Heroes of the Revolution of Dignity.”

Agreeing with that assessment, pro-Maidan Polish “journalist” Michał Kacewicz:

“To me, broadcasting of the film “Ukraine. Masks of the Revolution without the appropriate explanation what kind of a film that was, is a scandal. This French film is lying, it is using classical manipulation techniques for depicting Ukrainian events that correspond to the Russian narrative (….)  The majority of Polish people don’t know those events in details. Considering our sensitivity to the topic of Ukrainian nationalism, this film can strengthen the feeling of fear and threat which are allegedly coming from the new Ukraine,” Kacewicz emphasized.

Subsequent to the release of Moreira’s film, dark forces combined to make sure the English-language version of the film was  banned from various Facebook pages and also a youtube site.  However it is still available on this other youtube site.  Unfathomably, dubbed into Russian, and also with Russian subtitles.  Much of the French dialogue is still audible underneath the Russian, however.  Everybody knows French, right?

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17 Responses to Borderlands vs. Freedom of Speech?

  1. Error says:

    The tenets of religion are incompatible with the right to free speech. The only way to mix the two in one’s mind is to take neither of them seriously. But not taking religion seriously does not change what religion is or says or means. And not taking freedom of speech seriously does not alter the fact that it is a fundamental requirement of human life.


  2. Ryan Ward says:

    As is often the case, I think this attempt at censorship is proving to be counter-productive. I know, for my part, I never would have been aware of this documentary if the Ukrainian government hadn’t tried to get it censored. The biggest effect of all this has been thousands and thousands of dollars worth of free publicity for the film.


  3. Ryan Ward says:

    Here’s a version of the film in the original French, with English subtitles. There are a few minor inaccuracies in the translation, but nothing major/significant


  4. spartacus says:

    The film does show some unpleasant facts about the “Revolution of Dignity” but is, in my view, a sanitized version of the events and stops short of telling the whole story. I mean, it does show the heavy involvement of the far-right groups in this American-led regime change operation, but does not mention a word about the Ukraininan oligarchs financing and supporting these paramilitary groups. Not one word about Kolomoisky and his role as “sugar daddy” for the Azov and other armed Nazi groups.

    Another thing: after watching the part of the film that deals with what happened in Odessa, the viewer is left with the impression that the pro-russian group started to attack the pro-ukrainian one and things got out of hand and the people in front of the Trade Union Building were collateral victims of the pro-ukrainian crowd venting its rage. It’s this what really happened? I was under the impression that it was more like this:


  5. Northern Star says:

    I know this is off topic..BUT…this series is absolutely outstanding and would seem to fit into the somewhat eclectic nature of AA…maybe there are some anthropological topics you could post for discussion!!!


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Northern Star! This is very interesting film. Sorry your comment languished in spam filter, I just noticed and rescued it!

      Although narrator irritates me with his “conspiratorial” voice tone. He makes anthropology sounds sinister. He sounds more like he should be narrating one of those American true-crime series:
      “When the Jones family returned from their vacation, they didn’t notice the sinister stranger lurking with a shovel in their back yard…. [cue scary music] …When they entered their kitchen they saw perched upon their dining table… a human skull!”

      I was actually always fascinated by anthropology, and at one point even thought of studying this in college. Not necessarily the kind that digs up skeletons, I don’t think I would enjoy that, I think I would be more at home sitting at a computer studying DNA sequences. But in the end I ended up doing linguistics. Which science, interestingly enough, began as a branch of anthropology..

      Anyhow, yes, maybe I should add an “anthropology” category to AwfulAvalanche.
      If you have some stuff, or even want to write a post, just let me know!
      Remember that the motto of my blog is “Human Dignity”. So, anything that involves humans is fair game.

      “I am a humanist, I just hate people.”


  6. Grimgerde says:

    After so much publicity thanks to the Ukrainian government, I watched this film as soon as it had the English subtitles. Maybe I was expecting too much and was disappointed; I found it simplistic and inaccurate in some parts (for example: “the pro-Russian president Yanukovich left” — when he was actually illegaly ousted from his post) and does not portray the Odessa massacre in its true dimension. To me it was a very washed down version of what really happened. I watched a video that was filmed with a phone by an anonymous who was there, and it was truly terrifying. In my opinion, a much more interesting and objective documentary is available on YouTube. It was made by a German journalist and shows how the events evolved starting November 2013 in the Ukraine. It mentions the Odessa massacre, the MH 17 downing, and then continues through his own experiences during the war in Donbass.

    The documentary is narrated by the journalist in German but overdubbed in Russian. I watched the English version but sadly was taken down from YouTube “on copyright grounds” or something like that.


    • yalensis says:

      Dear Grimgerde:
      Thanks for posting this other documentary.
      I agree with both you and Spartacus that Moreira’s “Masks” film is very watered down and still overly compliant with the mainstream narrative of the events.

      I could be wrong, but I think Moreira knows better. I think, with a mass audience in mind (as opposed to a niche audience, which is all that the other side usually gets), he made a calculated decision to employ certain standard memes (e.g., “Yanukovych the pro-Russian president”, “Odessa massacre some wrong on both sides”, etc.)

      Again, I could be wrong, but I think Moreira is deliberately pulling his punches. I think his ideological purpose in making his film was to gently “wean” the mass French audience away from the pro-Ukrainian stance they had been fed, and to give them plausible deniability in backing away from the unpleasant Ukrainian monsters. Proof of this is the typical comments quoted from members of the French public, e.g., “Oh, I never knew these guys were Nazis, they never told us that.”

      In providing this “out” for the French public, I think Moreira pulled his punches and decided not to go all-out “Wild Duck” on his viewers.

      Sometimes people cannot bear to have the band-aid ripped off all at once.
      Or, in this case, the mask!


      • Grimgerde says:

        Good point, Yalensis. And you could well be right. Hopefully more people will begin to see different sides and points of view on the matter. Informed people are not so easily deceived and misled by the MSM. The way they have spinned and turned around this conflict has been outrageous.


        • yalensis says:

          Absolutely. The Russian press eagerly reported for example in this piece on French public reaction to the Moreira video.
          There are quotes from various twitters and so on, French viewers saying things like “We didn’t know about the Nazis,” or “We didn’t know about Odessa”, and so on.

          Not sure, though, how much impact was actually made. Some of the people quoted, albeit French residents, have Russian names; so they may have been engaged in the story prior to watching the video. And those who are already engaged can certainly handle more “rawer” meat than what Moreira provided.

          Plus, mainstream French media, like Le Monde, continues to take the pro-Ukrainian line and even condemned Moreira’s film. So, is not clear exactly how much impact Moreira had, and if he actually needed to pull his punches. Assuming that he did.


    • astabada says:

      Thanks for sharing. Here is an english version


      • Grimgerde says:

        Thank you Astabada! By the way, how do you post a link without embedding the video?


        • astabada says:

          I’m confused. I thought that by starting the link with the www part you would get it embedded, and by starting it with the http part you won’t get the embed.

          It appears that it is the other way around!

          A safer way is to use <a href=”your url”>your description&lt/a>

          @yalensis, please delete my test post. Sorry for this.


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