I think it’s almost impossible for anyone living on the outside to really understand Russia. It’s such an immensely large country, populated with disparate and incongruous peoples. Scattered miles and miles apart over vast swathes of land. Generations who grew up within a communist autocracy, now abandoned to fend for themselves. Children born into the chaos. Many Russians are a very long way away from the power bases of Moscow or St Petersburg and have little in common with metropolitan elites.
The far east of Russia is very much their wild west. Towns and cities rife with corruption and a kind of modern lawlessness. Politicians feathering their own nests and citizens left to rot in places starved of investment. Cowed by fear of authority and streams of propaganda pumped directly into living rooms. Viktor Toroptsev has had enough. The taxi driver takes to YouTube to do something about it. Far Eastern Golgotha tells his story.
Far Eastern Golgotha is a documentary which follows what transpires when someone raises a dissenting voice in Putin’s Russia. Viktor is angry and what frustrates him most is that no one else can see what’s going on. Julia Sergina’s fascinating documentary is a cautionary tale of what happens to those who stand up against the regime. While Far Eastern Golgotha might be a scream into the void, it’s a fascinating film about the power of protest and the obstacles put in the way.
Far Eastern Golgotha is released on Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and Youtube on 3 October.