The conflict between Russia and Ukraine may not have reached the level of open war—at least not yet—but the two sides still seek to undermine each other in subtler ways, with civilians often paying the price. Last week, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was sentenced in Russian to twenty years in prison for protest activities that sound fairly innocuous. Since then, a who’s who of international filmmakers—including Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Stephen Daldry, Agnieszka Holland, Wim Wenders, and Aki Kaurismaki—have appealed to Vladimir Putin for his release. Artforum has more details here. An excerpt:
An active protester against the pro-Kremlin government, Sentsov was “found guilty of creating a terrorist group, carrying out two terrorist acts, and plotting another that involved blowing up a statue of Lenin in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol,” writes Kishkovsky. According to supporters, he helped Ukrainian servicemen who were trapped in Crimea escape.
Image of Oleg Sentsov via Artforum