Independent film director Elizaveta Stishova and a team from the Berlin-based Russian-language OstWest television channel have released the documentary film, Save and Be Saved («Спасись и сохранись»), about the struggles of four young men to avoid fighting in Ukraine, including by applying for alternative civilian service. In parallel with these stories, we hear thoughts on the war in Ukraine and what is happening in Russia from a varied assortment of long-distance train travelers: an elderly woman, Wagner Group fighters returning from Donbas, a refugee from Ukraine, and a long-haired yogi.
A correspondent for the independent news outlet 7x7 spoke with Elizaveta Stishova about how Russians talk about the war and about people willing to fight for their rights against the odds.
I had to start making documentaries, because I simply couldn’t make narrative films on abstract subjects now. Naturally, when the war broke out, I started to wonder: “What kind of people are we?” And from being furious at Russians I arrived at a desire to make films about heroes, about people who stand up for themselves. For example, the previous film, War and Mirny: The Story of a Russian Family [«Война и Мирный. История одной российской семьи», about the family of an environmental activist from Shiyes], features an absolutely heroic woman who was forced to flee the country. Yana Troyanova and I are also planning to make a short about [Irina] Slavina [the Nizhny Novgorod journalist who died in an act of self-immolation protesting oppression by the authorities in 2020]. It has become really important to me to show that such people exist. In that sense, I’m working as an advocate for the Russian individual.
Don't have an account? signup
Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567