The Crimean filmmaker recently delivered a powerful speech where he stressed the need to rediscover the spirit that was present on the Maidan during the Revolution of Dignity. Without unity, no enemy can be defeated, Oleg Sentsov argued.
After five years in Russian prisons, the director has “nothing to fear” which is why he is able to speak out and praise whoever is in power when necessary and criticize them if there is a reason for it.
It's ... difficult with alive people. They are inconvenient. They say things, they do things, they speak out and criticize. They disappoint ... They are alive.
At the Mariupol Unity Forum which took place 30 kilometers from the demarcation line, Sentsov also outlined the problems Ukraine has to face at this critical moment. Apart from Russian aggression and corruption, he noticed a third major problem that holds back the country: “the people”.
He recalled a question he was asked by a Ukrainian immigrant at a conference in Poland about the relations between Ukrainians that were present on the Maidan.
I don't see this … That winter when we spoke to each other in a polite, civil, open, and honest manner. I remember the light and warmth between the people. It helped me all those five years. I knew what I was risking everything in Crimea for. I knew what I was serving my term for ... we have lost it all. The Revolution of Dignity has turned into the Counter-Revolution of Hatred … We are very aggressive towards each other. We are very divided. We are intolerant of any [different] opinion.
He proceeded to stress the need for mutual respect and building on the differences between Ukrainian people, which in itself is “a strength”. Sentsov believes that because Ukrainians will never be “monolithic and servile people,” an authoritarian regime is not feasible in this country.