Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015)

Title: Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Year: 2015

Genre: Documentary | 

Runtime: 102 min

Director: Evgeny Afineevsky

Starring: Bishop Agapit, Catherine Ashton, Serhii Averchenko


A documentary on the unrest in Ukraine during 2013 and 2014, as student demonstrations supporting European integration, grew into a violent revolution calling for the resignation of President Viktor F. Yanukovich.


Born out of unprecedented protests and rallies, demonstrators take on a dictator regime, denying the people of Ukraine their freedom, starting first by excluding the country out from the EU.  This documentary from Netflix depicts the fight against the government that denies the land to be European and therefore fight against the police, creating a violent revolution. The story is told in the retrospective view of the protester as they fight to remove their leaders.

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The documentary feels short with it’s 102 minutes and contains several interviewees’ that retells their story on how the demonstration and the primary revolution escalates and breaks out with fire during the early days to the end of the pro-Russian government.  It’s told as a revolutionary tale where the ordinary citizen is fighting to take back their country for democracy and part of the free world. As the story doesn’t detail every day, only certain key moments, you get a decent overview of the fights but keep the overall plot intact. The found footage is gruesome and mature, as there is footage of people being killed and the emotional impact it really does have.

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The anxiety, bravery the Ukrainian people have shown in both 2014 and the Russo-Ukrainian war 2022, is that they don’t accept the aggression from their neighbour in the east. As this is much of a political documentary, it also shows the power of the people which is remarkable. With its unity, solidarity, few countries would have the spirit Ukrainian has like their patriotism and love for their country.

As the revolution occurred for 93 days making the Ukrainian president flee under the cover of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the destruction that this film depicts doesn’t really go into details. The spirit of the people is there, and we see the fight breaks out, the fighting will of the youngster fighting for an independent country, is also there but there is something deep that below the surface, this documentary does. It’s showing a horrible reality, which turns everything into a full-scale war. A war that has killed several thousand, is mentioned in the end credits.

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Even if the film could have been longer and stayed at some key moments, it shows as well that something back then is still relevant in so many ways today and it’s worth acknowledging that, as well.

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