Last year Sergey Zakharov was living in his hometown of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine when he was captured and imprisoned by pro-Russian separatists for making satirical art.
Now he's making comics about his time in captivity.
Zakharov spent more than a month and a half imprisoned, per Global Voices, after being kidnapped on August 6, 2014. He says he was tortured, and that "mock executions" were common.
The artist started putting up street art in Donetsk starting in July 2014. The art poked fun of the "Donetsk People's Republic" —a self proclaimed state— in July and was called "the Donetsk Banksy." Zakharov's pieces portrayed separatist militants, among other things, as clowns:
Zakharov isn't the only one to be detained by militants in Donetsk. Earlier this year the Kyiv post reported on arrests in the city, quoting one resident who said separatists would "arrest anyone who they don't like. Randomly. Without charge."
The Donetsk People's Republic remains unrecognized as an independent state , though it's still controlled by rebels. Yesterday the separatist leaderAlexander Zakharchenko told the English-language Russian news site Sputnik that there weren't plans to hold a referendum about joining Russia. Zakharchenko dismissed the idea of a referundum, saying "Ukrainian media spread the information claiming that instead of elections we are going to hold a referendum." Ukraine is scheduled to hold local elections late in October.
As for Zakharov, he moved to Kiev after his release, and started drawing comics. He's hoping to create a graphic novel.
The comics portray a search of his home:
A prison shower:
Interrogations by separatists:
And mock firing squads:
Zakharov hasn't made a deal with a publisher yet, Global Voices says, but after Ukrainian media started running stories on his work, several have approached him.
You can see more drawings on Zakharov's Facebook page.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org