“Winter on Fire” is a moving Netflix Original documentary detailing the protests that shook Ukraine during the winter of 2013 and 2014.
Ukraine’s leader, Viktor Yanukovych, came to power promising to forge a relationship between Ukraine and the European Union. After being elected to office, however, he made a deal with Putin and aligned Ukraine with Russia.
What began as a peaceful student protest turned into a mass demonstration involving a million people in the streets of Kiev for months. Attacks on the students resulted not in people going home, cowering and hiding, but in people of all ages and nationalities and ethnic groups flooding into the streets of Kiev. Within a short time, people were coming in from all over the country. Protestors were confronted first with military police (the Berkut) and then with the Titushkys, criminal who were released from prison to help put down the demonstrations. Some 100 people died in the protests which eventually ousted Yanukevych. Yanukevych fled Ukraine in the middle of the night and was given sanctuary in Russia.
Paul Manafort worked for Yanukevych and helped return him to power after a previous election which Yanukevych won was found to be fraudulent.
This film is a must see. It provides some of the political context necessary to understand Manafort’s eventual position in the Trump campaign and the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election.