The Cinema of Civil Protest in Ukraine: An Evening with Filmmaker Yuriy Gruzinov

SEP 23, 2014 | 6:00 PM TO 8:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


1218: Segal Theatre


September 23, 2014: 6:00 PM-8:00 PM




This Fall’s CUNY BA Academic Conference Series has organized a discussion with Yuriy Gruzinov, a film director from the Babylon’13 project. Its members shot a series of short movies on the Ukrainian Revolution that led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych. Since then, Yuriy has been following and recording the events in Ukraine closely and even spent several days held prisoner by separatists in Crimea. Yuriy will share his commentaries and screen the documentaries. The event will be moderated by Hunter College History Professor, Iryna Vushko and will take place on September 23 (Tuesday) at the Graduate Center/Segal Theatre, from 6-8pm. Please RSVP here:

Guest Bios:

Yuriy Gruzinov is a Russian native who left Russia to live in Ukraine as a young adult. Yuriy is a cinematographer by trade and became one of the founding members of the Babylon’13 crew that began making short documentary films from the outset of the Maidan movement.

On January 22, 2014 Yuriy was wounded with 3 bullets while recording the Grushevskogo Street clashes. Upon recovery, he continued shooting documentaries about the Ukrainian protest movement and subsequent developments (including Russia’s invasion of Crimea). On March 16, 2014 Yuriy and his crew were captured while filming a documentary about the Crimean ‘referendum’; they were held by the separatists in Simferopol, Crimea for 7 days. When held captive, they were beaten and tortured for refusing (in truth, not simply being able) to provide details on offices and leaders of the “Right Sector.” Shortly after he was released, Yuriy came to the United States.

Born and raised in Lviv, Iryna Vushko is a Professor of History at Hunter College. Her teaching interests cover modern Eastern Europe, modern Russia, the Soviet Union, comparative history of empires (Russian and Austrian), and interwar Europe. Her research extends to the Austrian Empire and successor states, imperial borderlands, modern administration, nationalism, and conflict and coexistence in interwar Europe. Her first monograph, The Politics of Cultural Retreat: Austrian Bureaucracy in Galicia, 1772-1867, will be published by Yale University Press. Professor Vushko received her Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 2008.


Our mission is to memorialize and showcase the birth and first decisive steps of civil society in Ukraine. The recent Ukrainian events evidence the reformation of Ukrainians’ civil conscience, which centers on self–organization, solidarity and protection of human rights. It is a notable fact that the driving power of Ukraine’s civil protest is the new generation, formed within the timeframe of Ukraine’s independence. This generation produces bold ideas and deems basic human rights and values as determinants of their actions. They are still too few, but their numbers are growing and they are providing leadership to Ukraine’s majority toward vastly-needed fundamental social and economic reforms.

The Babylon’13 team is convinced that their medium – documentary film making – can influence and shape how people see reality and the world around them. Babylon’13 was launched after the short video “Prologue” was filmed at Mikhailovska Square, Kyiv on November 30, 2013 and became an internet hit upon its release. Babylon’13 has contributed to other Ukrainian film projects, including the “Winter that has changed us all” collection. Many of Babylon’13 movies have gone viral on the internet, generating tens of thousands of views. Among the most famous movies are “The Heavenly Hundred,” “Women of War,” and “Avengers.”

Event’s Program:
“Differences In Donetsk”
( Yuliya Gontaruk, Yuriy Gruzinov)
“Hand Gun”
“Cultural Checkpoint”
(Dmytro Sukholytkyi-Sobchuk)
“Revolutionary Fuel” (Yaroslav Pilunski) ” Battle On Grushevskogo #4″ (Ivan Sautkin) “The First Death” (Volodymyr Tykhyi, Yuriy Gruzinov) “Heavenly Hundred” (Yuliya Gontaruk, Roman Lyubiy )