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“The fight is not over yet!” Top 15 quotes from Oleg Sentsov

“I am proud to call myself Ukrainian and be part of the new Ukrainian nation, united primarily by a strong system of values. Therein lies the absolute difference between us and the Russians.” Oleg Sentsov
“The fight is not over yet!” Top 15 quotes from Oleg Sentsov
Translated by: Christine Chraibi

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Oleg Sentsov, who turns 44 today! We pay tribute to one of the most prominent Ukrainian filmmakers and writers by publishing some of his most resounding statements:

  1. It’s obvious that by definition the court of an occupying power cannot be fair.
  2. Cowardice is the greatest sin on Earth. Betrayal sometimes starts as a small form of cowardice… When they put a bag over your head, beat you a little, and after half an hour you’re ready to renounce all your principles, discredit yourself and slander other people just so they stop beating you. I don’t know what your principles are worth if you’re not willing to suffer for them.
  3. I’m surprised by the low level of freedom of speech in Russia. According to my estimates, it’s about 16%, while here in Ukraine, it stands at 67%.
  4. Many people over there [in Crimea-Ed) regret… or should I say fully understand what they’ve gotten into, but it’s too late.
  5. The day after tomorrow seemed to him a distant future, and the following week – a new millennium. He had learned to live from day to day. To live for today… although he knew that nothing good would come from today [from Sentsov’s newest book The Marketer-Ed].
  6. … faith is the infinite sky, where you can soar freely, love boundlessly and not have to squeeze yourself into a certain framework or dogma.
  7. I don’t want to think about how people see me from the side. I want to be overwhelmed. Even though I’m no longer a child, I’ll continue hopping around on one leg.
  8. Many people think that there must be somewhere better than here… Such places do exist, but there are also places where life is much worse. However, people are convinced that they’ll eventually reach a better place, and not vice versa…
  9. Well, if you tell the truth, it doesn’t mean that you’re right. In addition to the truth, there’s also justice and fairness. Think about that!
  10. Everything seems to be the same as before, but it’s not so. It’s like pulling an old T-shirt designed for teens over your CEO belly. It may just fit, but the seams will probably split and you’ll look ridiculous [from Sentsov’s newest book The Marketer-Ed].
  11. Tanks to Crimea! Tanks to the Donbas! When I say tanks, please don’t take it literally. I’m talking about our ongoing fight.
  12. We rallied on the Maidan and we knew that we had little chance of succeeding. Some people said: “Why are you protesting? You won’t change anything. Yanukovych won’t be overthrown.” But, it worked! And yes, Putin is not Yanukovych. He’s a serious opponent. But, that’s okay… the fight isn’t over yet!
  13. If a person disappears in Crimea and there’s been no news from him for a year, then he’s no longer alive.
  14. Don’t ask government officials or politicians how they plan to implement their deoccupation strategy, if Putin is sitting there. Think for yourself! He’ll never surrender his position while he’s in power. This must be understood!
  15. Dragons also die.
Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian filmmaker, writer and activist, was born on July 13, 1976 in Simferopol, Crimea. In 2011, he released his debut feature-length film – The Gamer, which won him critical acclaim.  Following the Russian occupation of Crimea, Sentsov was arrested in Crimea on May 10, 2014 and sentenced to 20 years on charges of “plotting terrorist acts”. On May 14, 2018, he began a hunger strike protesting the incarceration of all Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and demanding their release. Sentsov ended the hunger strike due to health concerns and the threat of force-feeding.

On October 25, 2018, Oleg Sentsov was awarded the Sakharov prize by the European Parliament. He was released along with 34 other Ukrainian political prisoners on September 7, 2019. Since his release, Sentsov has travelled extensively, promoting Ukraine’s fight for freedom and independence.  He is currently working on his unfinished film Rhino.

Watch The Trial, film about Oleg Sentsov (in Russian, Ukrainian subs) (1:08)

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
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