Activists present a documentary about brave ethnic minority fighting Russian aggression side-by-side with Ukrainians

Ukraine-produced short documentary narrates the present and the past of the Greek community in the country. Majority of Greeks now reside around Mariupol, eastern Ukraine.

“The film shows Ukraine’s historic background, its present and future in the context of events connected to the Greek minority in Ukraine,” noted Oleksandr Khara, expert of the Foundation Maidan of Foreign Affairs at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Disgraceful pages of history tend to repeat themselves if humanity does not make respective conclusions. “The first case of injustice towards Greeks took place already in the 18 century, when they were deported from the territory of Crimea at the order of Catherine II. […] In 1937 at night between December 14 and 15 NKVS in Ukrainian (or NKVD in Russian, abbreviation stands for: People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs – UCMC note) started a punitive operation when a large number of the people were eliminated,” Khara said. Soviet authorities carried out a total of nine deportation operations against Greeks in the territory of Ukraine. A recently produced documentary short film bearing the same name as the operation itself – “Hvylia” (“wave” in English or “volna” in Russian) narrates the story. These repressions explain why this ethnic minority is so small in number and is Russified. Nevertheless they support the idea of united Ukraine and consider Ukraine their fatherland. Starting from 2014 ethnic Greeks alongside Ukrainians are fighting in the east protecting Ukraine from Russian aggression.

Film director Svitlana Dmytrenko was not aware of the history of Greeks’ life in the Azov area. “We learned about it occasionally when we attended the event marking the anniversary of Mariupol’s liberation. We realized that it is a theme worth of attention. Turned out not so many people are aware that there is a Greek minority in Ukraine,” the film director said. The film is a documentary, it was shot in three days. Film director Svitlana Dmytrenko, journalist Marichka Zhuk and the director of photography visited Greek villages and the city of Saratana in Donetsk region. Representatives of Greek community were assisting the film crew. In the documentary descendants of deported Greeks tell the story of their people.