Putin’s Hostages: a documentary about the Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin

putin's hostages

Putin’s Hostages: Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin is a documentary film about the Ukrainians imprisoned by Russia for political reasons.

The movie aims to remind public opinion in Europe about circa 70 Ukrainian political prisoners incarcerated throughout Russia and occupied Crimea. Among them Maidan activists, Crimean Tatars as well as ordinary and sometimes random people.

Ukrainian political prisoners are held in conditions that threaten their health, life, and human dignity. Many of them are kept in long-term isolated confinement that has devastating effects on their mental health. They have no access to health care services leading to needless suffering, disability, and even death. The prisoners’ rights to communicate with families and the outside world are extremely curtailed.

The movie will show the cases of the prisoners and the way Russia’s authorities penalize those opposing its aggression on Ukraine. We would like to provoke viewers to think, to realize that it is happening just next to them and to take actions to support political prisoners. We would like to show the impunity of Russian authorities, which detain people, depriving them of the basic human rights, for the reason of generating a fear factor in the battle with its opponents.

Through the stories of three prisoners: Pavlo Hryb, Yevhen Panov, and Bekir Dehermendzhy the documentary will recount the propaganda mechanism and actual goal of show trials conducted in order to justify Russian involvement in Ukraine. On the other hand, their stories will be told by the family members and friends. Showing the prisoner’s everyday life, from the time before being arrested, is crucial to make viewers identify with them.

The documentary movie will show the perspective of organizations and activists both in Ukraine and Russia which undertake actions to release the hostages. Their experience with the mechanisms of propaganda and institutional inequitably will illustrate the current situation in Russia.

The movie is being created by: 

Bożydar Pająk – independent journalist and film director. He cooperates with the Polish national television (TVP). The author of many reportages broadcast on Polish national television and also of the documentary film „Annexation”, a co-production with TV Belsat.

Piotr Malinowski – independent journalist associated with Gazeta Wyborcza. He reports on the situation of asylum seekers, minorities groups and recently on Ukrainian prisoners in Russia.


Alya Shandra, editor-in-chief of Euromaidan Pressan independent online English-language media about Ukraine.

The creation of this movie was possible thanks to the financial support of the British Embassy in Ukraine as part of the project “Creating a documentary on Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin” implemented by the NGO Euromaidan Press. The ideas expressed in the movie are that of the authors and may differ from the official position of the government of the United Kingdom.