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Critically Acclaimed Current Time Documentary Chronicles Families Divided By Russia’s War, Disinformation

Andrey Loshak talks to Current Time
Andrey Loshak talks to Current Time

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new documentary produced by Current Time and directed by journalist and filmmaker Andrey Loshak, “Broken Ties,” has premiered to critical acclaim in Russia. The film shows the human cost for Russians themselves of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and ways Kremlin disinformation and state propaganda are tearing Russian families apart.

Filmed over a three-month period, “Broken Ties” follows seven Russian families as their relationships deteriorate in the months following the invasion. Among the subjects followed are: Renata, a pediatrician struggling to come to terms with her guilt over Russia’s involvement in the war, and her mother, Vinera, a fiercely patriotic schoolteacher; and Ekaterina and Artem, a Russian couple so deeply divided on the war that they may divorce. Loshak also interviews Vika, a survivor of Russia’s bombing of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, and her brother, Yakov, who dismisses Vika’s perspective on the war. As ideologies clash, communication becomes strained, and relationships begin to deteriorate. In time, any hope of finding common ground, understanding or reconciliation begins to vanish.

Kenan Aliyev, executive editor at Current Time and executive producer of the film said, “We are extremely proud of this latest collaboration with Andrey Loshak, and our ability to release this important documentary to Russian-speaking audiences – including in Ukraine – while the war rages on. This documentary shows the real, human costs for Russians themselves of Putin’s assault on media freedom and independent journalism.”

In one of the film’s most moving scenes, Natalya, a psychologist opposed to Russia’s invasion, recounts how she regularly talks with her mother Lyudmila for hours, refuting state propaganda. When asked if her daughter has managed to persuade her at all, Lyudmila answers, “No, of course not.”

“Broken Ties” first premiered for Russian-speaking audiences on Current Time on June 20. It is now available on YouTube, where it has been seen over 1.2 million times, generating significant positive audience engagement.

Ksenia Larina, a prominent Russian journalist and television critic, described the film as “astonishing” and “scary;” and Anton Dolin, a Russian film critic writing for Meduza, called the film, “a powerful antidote to what Russian television has become,” and, “made by one of the best representatives of a different kind of television...”

Andrey Loshak is an internationally recognized journalist, reporter, and filmmaker from Moscow. He has received the Russian TEFI award for “Best Reporter” and the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” 1st class medal for his pioneering work in Russian national TV. Loshak’s previous work with Current Time includes “InterNYET,” a series covering the rise and fall of Russia’s internet, and “Let It All Burn,” a documentary about Russian rock band IC3PEAK’s fight with local authorities for its right to perform.

Watch "Broken Ties" with English subtitles here.

About RFE/RL
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 37 million people every week in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed 7 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram/IGTV in FY2021. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

Current Time is a 24/7 Russian-language digital and TV network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA that caters to Russian-speakers worldwide. In addition to reporting uncensored news, it is the largest provider of independent, Russian-language films to its audiences. Despite heavy censorship from the Russian government, Current Time videos have received 408 million views on Facebook, 213 million view on YouTube and 159 million views on Instagram in FY2022.