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New Heroes

New Heroes are three documentary films about ordinary Ukrainians. Every character has the own story, but the common for all of them is the struggle for justice in today’s Ukraine


The only source of income in Zakotne village is milk.

The milk market is controlled by resellers who go around villages by milk tankers and buy milk from households for low prices and then sell it to a milk factory for several times bigger prices. They also get the government subsidy to support villagers. Having one or two cows, families in Zakotne live on what resellers pay them. Villagers sell the milk on terms of verbal arrangement and there are no legal guarantees that they will timely get the money for their product.

Tetyana Sywokon persuaded her fellow villagers into creating of cooperative to be able to sell milk to the milk factory not dealing with resellers. Resellers disapproved the idea. They received backing from local officials and began to put different obstacles on the villagers’ way to sell the milk directly to the factory. Zakotne inhabitants did not give up and founded a public organization named “Villagers’ Rights Defence”.

Novopskovsk Regional Centre for Legal Information and Consultation has helped in founding of the cooperation and public organization “Villagers’ Rights Defence”. Currently, lawyers of the Centre help villagers to defend the Cooperative’s rights.

The Centre was founded by Public Committee for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms Defense (the chairman is Mykola Kozyrev, Lugansk) and International Renaissance Foundation in cooperation with Open Society Justice Initiative (Budapest).


Inhabitants of 30 houses in Pavlograd refused to continue State Housing Department’s custom and founded (UABC) Unions of Apartment Block Co-Owners. As a result, they pay for housing services 6-7 times less than before. The film’s character is Valentyna Minaeva, a chairman of “Steppe Front 50” UABC who explained the advantages of such Unions over the State Housing Departments. Citizens were assisted in defending their rights by the Pavlograd Centre for Legal Information and Consultation. The Centre’s lawyers have helped in founding of the public organization UABC Chairmen of Pavlograd.

The Centre was founded by Pavlograd Municipal Charity Foundation “Gorenie” (President Olena Grechko) and International Renaissance Foundation in cooperation with Open Society Justice Initiative (Budapest).


Regional officials have illegally handed out 29 hectares of Stara Zbruivka community’s best lands to figureheads. Viktor Marunyak, head of the village council who has sued them, was put into the prison. The villagers got together, founded the Committee of Stara Zburyivka Self-Defense and began campaigning for their rights and defending the head of their village. The investigation was unable to prove Viktor Marunyak’s guilt. None of the fabricated accusations were confirmed, and he was set free, following the pressure from the community. Despite the resistance and threats from the regional officials, village deputies voted for Viktor Marunyak’s return to power. He was elected as a village head again, in 2010. All the while, he was fighting for stolen from the community lands. As a result, the Prosecutor General’s Office recognized the illegality of the lands transfer into personal farming.

In the village was founded Centre for Legal Information and Consultation. The struggle for returning the stolen lands is still in progress. The Centre provides legal support for 12 surrounding villages. During this story, the village community has changed considerably. In Stara Zbruivka were founded and are successfully functioning two public organizations: Hola Prystan Regional Public Organization “Committee of Stara Zburyivka Self-Defense” and Youth Public Organization “Dniprova Chaika”.

The Centre was created by Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation (head of the executive committee Natalya Bimbirayte) and International Renaissance Foundation in cooperation with Open Society Justice Initiative (Budapest).


Alla Tyutyunnyk – consulting expert in human rights and advocacy

Roman Bondarchuk – director, cameraman

Andriy Lisetsky – cameraman

Borys Peter – sound director

Dar’ya Averchenko – journalist, scriptwriter

Natalya Bimbirayte – executive producer, project manager


Kherson Regional Charity and Health Foundation and International Documentary Human Rights Film Festival Docudays UA. 

The films of “New Heroes” cyclewere created with the support of International Renaissance Foundation in the framework of the “Legal Empowerment of the Poor” initiative.

“Legal Empowerment of the Poor” initiative was founded by International Renaissance Foundation in 2009. Currently, in March 2015 42 Centres for Legal Information and Consultation are functionating in 20 regions of Ukraine within the framework of the program. You can find contacts and information about the work of the centres on the “Legal Space” website  and on the page of the program “Legal Empowerment of the Poor” on Facebook– Legal Empowerment of the Poor in Ukraine.


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