#BBCtrending: Russians in Ukraine say 'Don't save us'
14 March 2014 Last updated at 13:40 GMT
Amidst a furore of politicised media coverage and propaganda campaigns, a Russian man living in Ukraine has created a series of online films with a simple message for his countrymen back home: "Please don't save us".
Created by advertising executive Aleksandr Gorlov, originally from Moscow but now living in Kiev, the films show residents of Ukraine waving their Russian passports as "proof" of their identity. In one film, Gorlov himself says "I live one kilometre from Maidan, my Russian mother visited me recently," to illustrate his sense of safety. Other Russians also living in Ukraine offer relaxed smiles to the camera and say "people always loved me here", before telling Russia "you should have asked me before 'saving' [us]". The series has garnered tens of thousands of views on Youtube.
Gorlov tells BBC Trending that people in his home country are being sold a message - that Russians in Ukraine are "being oppressed". "We considered it our duty to report the true position," he says. "In actual fact, Russians here are doing well. There is absolutely no reason to bring in troops to save them." His message rebuts the stance not just of the Russian government, but also groups like the Civil Defence of Ukraine who say that ethnic Russians in Ukraine are in danger. The group is calling on young Russian men to cross the border into Ukraine to help Russians in need of "moral support".
Could Gorlov's videos be a propaganda campaign themselves, though? Gorlov says he is not affiliated to, or funded by, any other group, and the idea for the films was his alone. Gorlov has a fairly prominent profile in Ukraine's capital, as the head of his own advertising company.
Reporting by Sam Judah
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