Kyiv, February 24, 2016. “The film calls for a discussion. There’s probably something that makes us all feel not very comfortable. But we thought that discovering actual facts and the truth is of a bigger importance. This truth does not neglect neither the acts of heroism, nor the memory, nor the fact that unarmed people were killed on Instytutska street,” said Anastasia Stanko, co-author of the “Following the traces of revolution” investigation series speaking at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. The journalist said that the initial idea was to show the department for special investigations within the Prosecutor General’s Office at work. Investigators to deal with the Maidan cases that include over six thousand episodes are very few. “But when we started talking to them, work with them, when we had visited their offices, we realized that the story is much wider and that we need to say more about it, about the dark gaps that had not been known to us,” explained Stanko.
In the course of their investigation the journalists came across the investigators who are dealing with killings of law enforcement staff. Among the Maidan cases there are episodes pertinent not only to the killed law enforcement staff but also to the wounded ones. That’s why the journalists wanted to find out more. That’s how they got an idea to include into the film the episodes on the killed law enforcement staff. When they started researching the topic, they reached the film characters, which were shooting from the Maidan side as well, Stanko said.
Angelina Kariakina, co-author of the “Following the traces of revolution” investigation series explained that the starting point for their work turned to be the fact that part of the developments on Instytutska street was filmed by a large number of journalists. However “that part of the morning of February 20 remains unclear. What exactly made the law enforcement staff retreat from Maidan.” Film’s authors consider the preface an important part. According to Kariakina it is key. “The day of February 20 including the morning and killing of policemen is not possible to be pulled out of the overall context that the three months of Maidan represent,” noted Kariakina. “In the preface we note that it was a certain point in the protests that they came to first of all due to the violence on the part of authorities, because of the laws of January 16.” The film emphasizes that 30 protesters had been killed by the morning of February 20, four of them were killed back in January.
Anastasia Stanko said that in course of the work over the film law enforcement staff eagerly responded to contact requests. However not a single policeman of “Berkut”, internal troops or other units of Interior Ministry wanted to speak on camera. “It also demonstrates that similarly to us, journalists, they do not see drastic changes in the law enforcement system in which they would be confident which is the light and which is the dark side; a system, in which they would be sure that by telling the truth including that of the people who are still working in the Interior Ministry they are not risking,” noted the film’s co-author.
The theme of the Maidan participant Ivan Bubenchyk turned to be one of the most disputable ones in the film. “He is not a fake person who popped up now close to February 20. Even in the “Captives” (Branci) film that was shot on combat positions in the east in ATO last summer he was telling this story himself,” said Stanko. She also noted that they have other proof and material evidence that Ivan Bubenchyk was in the Conservatoire on February 20 and that he was shooting. “However, only the investigation itself can prove whether he was able to kill anyone. What we learnt from investigation is that indeed two killed law enforcement officers were killed close to the monument (stella) nearby on Maidan. Investigation can claim that the angle of fire leads to the Conservatoire or to the side of the barricade adjacent to it,” explained Stanko.
However the film authors confess that they expected more attention to be paid to another Maidan participant Serhiy Trapezun who miraculously survived on Instytutska. “He is a living witness of the events on Instytutska. He is the person who remembers the circumstances in which he was wounded and actually the circumstances in which at least three persons around him were killed,” said Angelina Kariakina. The journalists were trying to explain that even if assuming that actions of the Special Forces unit were made after three law enforcement staff were killed, their actions have no explanation as they were shooting at unarmed people. There was a case when bullets from two different types of weapons hit a person, said Anastasia Stanko. “One of the conclusions we can make is that they were shooting at the crowd. There is even a moment when four persons were killed in course of one minute from different automatic rifles,” she explained. According to her, the journalists learnt that the Berkut staff is mostly “hiding in the Russian Federation, two of them left the country by crossing the Polish border, some stay in Crimea, some in the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) and “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). Five are arrested including the deputy commander of the regiment Oleh Yanishevsky. Investigation considers him the person who was the only one of the special unit who was wearing camouflage and this person was actually firing rounds.”
Summarizing Angelina Kariakina noted that the film was shot based on live materials, as thousands of episodes are still being processed by investigation. Meanwhile the film “February, 20th. COLLAPSE” is just the first one in the series that comprises five films.