The first thing people in the U.S. told me was, “Trust the media.”
And I said, “No, that’s bullshit.”
And they said, ‘That’s just what people are thinking.’
And then they had to be told to stop believing in the media.
In Canada, we didn’t believe in the mainstream media, either.
So when the first coup took place in Ukraine in 2014, I thought, “Why would we want to trust anything anymore?”
That’s when I started reading the mainstream, but I don’t think the media was at all in the position to be able to help us.
And that’s when we started asking, “How do we protect ourselves?”
We started asking the question: How do we keep ourselves safe?
“But they weren’t really sure.
There were all these reports that were coming out, and it was all so exaggerated and distorted.
And then, after the coup, I realized that the real truth was that it was the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people who were doing this to themselves.
There was no alternative.
They had been put in power because they didn’t respect the will of the people, and they were doing everything they could to crush the protests.
So, it’s a story of people who have been put into power because of their own corruption and arrogance.
And so, I started to ask, “What is it that they’re doing that is so bad?
And how do we stop it?
“And then I started thinking, “Well, I’m not going to be in a position to know that.
“But when the next coup took over, I knew that it would be the same thing, and I started wondering, “Am I going to die here?
And what’s going to happen to me?
“So, I began to look for ways to protect myself.
When the coup happened, I got on a plane and was on the plane from London to Kiev.
I went to a hotel, and my friend who works at the hotel came over and said, I think you’re going to have a really tough time getting out of here.
And I just started crying.
I had a bad feeling that was going to take me back to Russia.
The next morning, I was in the airport and the police came over, and their uniforms were so red and they carried sticks and they had guns and they began beating people with sticks.
And as they were beating them, they said to me, “Don’t move.”
I said to them, “Where’s my passport?
I’m going to need it in case I’m arrested.
“And when they told me that, I cried.
It was so heartbreaking.
It made me cry, but the police weren’t helping me.
And they were also beating people up.
And my friend said, So they’re beating people.
What are they doing to me?
And I asked the police, “I’m a lawyer, and if I can help, what do I do?
How do I get out?
“And they answered, “You can’t get out of the airport.
You can’t go anywhere.
“And then my friend started crying and said that I have to leave.
So I said I’m in the military.
And the next thing I know, I went over to the police.
And when I was standing in the police station, I saw the uniformed officers with sticks and guns.
They beat me and put me in a cell.
And a police officer came to me and he said, you know, “That’s what we do.”
And he told me, I’ve been arrested for an offense that is not a crime.
And he said to my friend, “Here’s the money you’ve been promised.”
And my friends friends said, Well, he’s not going anywhere.
And in the morning, they took me to a court.
I got in a courtroom and told the judge that I’ve not been arrested.
I have a lawyer.
And she told me to be quiet.
And there were two judges.
One of them was the president, and he started asking me, what I’m doing here.
I said what I’ve done is to defend myself against the law, and to protect the Ukrainian population.
And later on, they started giving me money.
I was given $25,000.
So my friends were like, “Okay, you’re free.”
And at the beginning, I wasn’t really thinking about it.
But later on I started noticing things, like the police officers would come to my friends houses, and sometimes they’d be outside drinking coffee.
They’d be talking and talking, but it wasn’t anything that was interesting.
They would just talk about their lives, and not really get to know me.
So then, I realised that I needed to protect my friends, and that I would be in danger if I went out and left.
So one night I decided to get out and I