Oleg Sentsov

The Ukrainian Director said that he thinks about Russia and Ukraine.

7 September 2019 between Russia and Ukraine took place the exchange of prisoners, which returned to Kiev 24 Ukrainian seafarers and 11 political prisoners. One of them – the Director Oleg Sentsov. The purpose of his first trip abroad after his release from a Russian prison, Berlin has become. In an interview with DW Sentsov shared their plans for the future, gave his assessment of Ukrainian reforms and of Vladimir Zelensky on the post of the President of Ukraine, and also spoke about his detention and about what preceded it.


Oleg Sentsov

– Tell us about the events prior to your arrest for five and a half years ago.

– I was against Russia, against the occupation in the Crimea, was engaged in many things that could not like. (At that time in the Crimea. – Ed.)there was a group of arsonists, they set fire to the office (of the party “United Russia”. – Ed.). One of them, a boy by the name He has decided that this is not enough, we must do more serious things. It is necessary to lay a bomb, to blow something up, well he was a little crazy. First his friend ratted him out to the FSB.

The FSB did nothing for two or three weeks, read the decision, in the case of restoring the picture. And then, apparently, took the team that need some kind of terrorist organization on the eve of presidential elections in Ukraine in 2014 year to catch, to show that Ukraine is going to conduct subversive-terrorist war in the Crimea. They are about this statement remembered and detained him, tortured. He immediately told what he knew, and he did not know. After that detained his friend, Afanas’eva. He, too, was tortured, asked: “Who is in charge here”. But it is more important I didn’t know anyone.


Ukrainian Director Oleg Sentsov met at the airport Borispol

– And where were you?

– I talked with all Pro-Ukrainian activists who were in the Crimea. About what they did, everyone knew – broke a window, threw a bottle with Molotov cocktail, there is even burned down some linoleum on the window sill. Disorderly conduct is, but the FSB got caught and made this a terrorist attack, announced that they encroached on the party “United Russia”. And we have condemned, as it were. That is, for a long time all was resolved. Because when I was detained, tortured, interrogated, and found nothing, I still did not let go. Said, “We’re all the same plant, anyway. We will not let go. Just if you want to alleviate, that any name you call from Ukraine’s leadership – you get 7 years. Refuse – you will be the organizer, will get 20”. I refused, I was made organizer, got 20 years.

– You say that you were tortured?

The evening was interrogated that night. The FSB operatives were beaten, strangled with a pack, beaten with batons on the soles of his feet. Stripped, threatened with rape. Such are the usual interrogation. This is nothing unusual, it may be a shock, but having stayed in prison, I have seen enough, heard enough of this, I understand that it is the easiest program available.


The first press conference of Oleg Sentsov in Kiev after his release from a Russian prison

– As you showed yourself as Pro-Ukrainian activist after what happened in Crimea. You were there obviously in the minority. Whom you feel the guerrillas?

– No, not the guerrillas. Just see everything happening as you capture, as you are forced to something, like being raped mentally… it’s a very unpleasant feeling. I didn’t want to be part of Russia, I know what Russia is, I was already with Ukraine. Because I was on the Maidan, I knew what my country is committed. I wanted to go.

– How is it that the majority of inhabitants of Crimea expressed as active your position as you expressed it?

– First of all, most of the population of Crimea is still Russian-speaking. For twenty years of independence there was an attempt of official Ukrainization, which was incorrect and caused people rejection. And even not Russian propaganda, but this soft power, it gradually to his disposal. Some events, some cultural events, everything is slowly – gradually to his tie.

It all started not with the seizure of buildings by Russian special forces on 27 February 2014, the year, everything started with Maidan. Because although I was three months in the Maidan returned to the Crimea, sometimes for several days to visit his family. And I saw the posters, the advertisements on the TV: “Maidan”, “Maidan will not pass”, “Fascists in Kiev, we are trying to capture” – and all. People cheat – local media, Russian media, saying that what is happening in Kiev, it’s terrible that the Bandera-fascists seize power. It had no relation to reality, but people have been stranded and believed it.

– It took five and a half years. President Poroshenko has lost the election. Ukraine has a new President. It is the victory of the Maidan?

– The first requirement of the Maidan was to remove Yanukovych, that is, we did it. Other requirements are not fulfilled, and if fulfilled, not completely. We wanted fair elections. It is, in principle, is almost achieved. In the last election and the losing party, and the independent observers admitted that the elections were fair, the violations were very minor and did not affect the result. It is also a victory because this never happened before in Ukraine, and in Russia is still there. Another requirement was honest courts, honest police. In this regard, the police made some reforms, but more at the grassroots level. To say that the courts have become honest, too, until the end impossible. Was already better than before, but not as much as I would like.


A rally in support of Oleg Sentsov in Berlin in November 2017

– What are your plans?

– I see before me two great objectives that want to achieve. First – I want my country to be civilized like European country, living according to European standards and values, to be independent, including from the influence of Russia. This is very important, because as long as Russia does not fall behind, it will be difficult. We have internal problems, have not carried out all the reforms, the country is not sufficiently transparent, clearly works, and there is an external aggression of Putin, and there are prisoners. I know what it’s like to be in prison, and I use its ability and authority to help them escape.

– Given the Ukrainian history and geography – Ukraine may be independent from Russia?

– In economic terms, this is impossible because there are too many links. They are now destroyed because of the war, but they will sooner or later be restored when Russia is a normal democratic system, not the current regime. I very well distinguish what is Russia and what is Putin’s regime. I am fighting not with Russia as a state and Putin’s regime, which Russia seized and enslaved the minds of citizens. While Russia will not turn the rails in the direction of democratization and European principles, we will have a problem with her.

– In one of his speeches, you said that you would like to see Putin in the dock in the Hague. It is real or it was said in the heat of emotion?

– I never give in to emotion, especially when speaking publicly. This is my little dream, because it would be fair to punish him for his crimes against Ukraine, against Russia, against Moldova, crimes against Georgia, against the citizens of Europe. For the downed “Boeing” need to answer this clearly. Putin did not give a direct order, but this is a consequence of his actions, his system that was shot down a passenger plane, and in the war in the Donbass killed 13 thousand people. I would like to answer in court in the Hague.

– You are going to go into politics?

– No, not yet.

– How do you assess the activities of Vladimir Zelensky as President?

– I still find it hard to judge. And those with whom I communicate in Europe and in Ukraine, still do not understand what he wants and what his goal. I saw him twice. Once at the airport briefly, the second time the forum of EU. I looked at him, I was interested to see inside he is sincere or faking it. To me it was very important. And the conclusion, which I have done previously for himself is that he is sincere within himself when he says what he says and wants to do what he says. The question is, will he be able to do it.

– How is it that two such close countries like Russia and Ukraine, were in the condition like now?

– You have to understand that this conflict is not a confrontation between the two countries or the two peoples. It is a confrontation between two worldviews. Progressive Ukrainians want to live like in Europe, according to European standards and principles in a free, civilized country. And those whom they oppose – the so-called Russian world, the Russian regime, Putin’s regime doesn’t matter. These are the people who want to live in the Soviet Union, only the Soviet Union no return, he was already dead. Therefore, it is initially doomed system of values that they are trying to impose. I’m five and a half spent in Russia, was in the information space, so I know about Russia is more than about Ukraine and about Europe. And understand very well what is happening there.

– What’s that?

– There is a guide and many people dream of returning to the Soviet Union. Imperial ambitions run even ordinary people, who have nothing. Which are a way of life polubomzhey, roughly speaking, the Crimea, rejoice, rejoice in the confrontation with America. Their lives are not improving, but they rejoice that “we have America wiped his nose, and Europe wiped”. Moisten the Ukrainians in the Donbass, as well as great! It’s terrible, because the main problem of today’s Russia – not that there is a wrong political system or the economy stalled, and that very severely degraded society. Not all of course, but much more than half. I don’t know what they will do with it, because the deadlock of the development of society is very scary. The political system may change and the day, and for two. I remember how the Soviet Union collapsed in three days. I remember the fall of Yanukovych in three months. Putin’s regime also will fall sooner or later, and the consciousness of people to change will be very difficult. Now in Russia it is in a state of moral impasse.