Ukraine and Fear: a video in Russian social network reflects the idea of protest

On Friday, Feb. 21 Pavel Durov, founder of the popular Russian social network Vkontakte, posted a video entitled "Fear" in support of the protestors in Ukraine’s Maidan.

Fear ("Strakh") by Alexander Makedonskiy. Source: YouTube 

Over the weekend, this two-minute video went viral, gaining around 90,000 views from users of the social network. In my opinion, this clip is the most unusual and unexpected reaction of Russians to the events in Ukraine.

The film consists of video fragments showing protests and street clashes in Ukraine. The voiceover in the background reads a text about fear and the choices that people have to make. This text is full of quotations from famous blockbusters "After Earth" with Will Smith and "Rocky" with Sylvester Stallone. Any news, informational details, and political messages are absent. 

At the end of this video, I was surprised at my reaction. First of all, because it produces an incredibly strong impression – primarily due to the excellent narration. Secondly, the movie is not like any other political movie or news footage about the Maidan and Ukraine. It raises fundamentally different issues.

What surprised me in the first place was that the video is not about politics. Of course, we see documentary shots of street protests in Kiev. But the narration has nothing to do with politics. This text could be applied to any major social protest, whether in Ukraine or in any other place on the globe.

Politics moves into the background. For the author of the video, the protests in Kiev are no longer about politics; they are about society making a choice without any policies or guidelines. Therefore, this video is about something that is beyond the politics, it is about human values​​.

The video raises existential questions: What is fear? What is a fact? What is a choice? Are we able to forget about fear in order to make what we want happen?

Of course, these questions are just as naïve as they are complex. But every Russian who sees what is happening in Kiev is trying to respond to them. For Russians, Ukraine still remains a country where similar people speak a similar language. Russians do care what happens to Ukraine. The events taking place in Kiev reflect many concerns of Russian society, too.

This video reminds us how hard it is to be in a situation of social choice, as difficult decisions must be made under the influence of fear, and how difficult it is to achieve big goals. And of course, this video says that all the people who take to the streets deserve a change for the better.

And we cannot but sympathize with them.

Off topic

Here are some lines from the voiceover, used in "Fear":

"In reality, Fear does not exist. Fear lives in one corner of our mind in our thoughts of the future. Fear is a fruit of our imagination. It makes us afraid of things that are not real and will, most likely, never be real. It’s pure madness. Please, do not misunderstand me, danger is realbut fear is your choice.” ("After Earth")

After Earth. Source: YouTube

"It ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth…" ("Rocky")

Rocky Balboa. Source: YouTube

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