LOCK HER UP!
The true story of Yulia Tymoshenko’s 2010 run for president of the Ukraine against a corrupt opponent who uses violence, fear and voter fraud to defeat her, then imprisons her on false charges, which triggers a country’s fight for freedom.
Over a black screen, a crowd chants in a foreign language… the translation appears in subtitles… “Lock her up! Lock her up!”
We are at a political rally in Kiev’s Independence Square, also known as Maidan. Viktor Yanukovych lumbers onto a stage with his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, an American lobbyist who has been doing dirty political business in Ukraine for years.
Watching from her government office window is Yulia Tymoshenko, the person the Yanukovych supporters are calling to have locked up. It is 2010, Yulia is a powerful figure in Ukrainian politics, known for taking on corruption and Russia’s attempts to gain influence over Ukraine’s sovereignty. Yulia led the Orange Revolution in 2004, which nullified Yanukovych’s presidential win back then. He has wanted revenge ever since.
Yulia and her husband built a successful energy business and she has dedicated herself to bringing the Ukraine into the modern world. She runs on the promise of joining the European Union, believing that aligning themselves with other democratic countries will help keep Russia from taking over their country.
The forces at work against Yulia and her husband will not only test her political strength, but also the bounds of their love. Yulia and her loved ones must endure demoralizing lies, and character assassination on every level. Supporters of Yanukovych have her husband put in jail, and there is even an attempt on Yulia’s life.
These attacks are carried out by an army of corrupt oligarchs, and Yanukovych’s new campaign manager, Paul Manafort. These are the villains of our story. With violence, extortion, threats, and lies worthy of a Hollywood thriller, it is no surprise that Yulia loses the 2010 presidential election.
Paranoid that Yulia will repeat what she did to him in 2004, when she had his presidency nullified, the newly elected President Yanukovych drags her in front of a corrupt judge to face false charges, has her found guilty, and sentenced to seven years in prison. Fete accompli.
But Yanukovych made a grave miscalculation. From her prison cell, Yulia proves why she is known as the Iron Lady. She becomes exactly the thorn in Yanukovych’s side that he believed he had silenced. She becomes a beacon for the Ukranian people who know that she has been falsely accused, able to exert influence on her country… from a jail cell.
With the help of a driven journalist, the drum beat begins. Details of how the 2010 election was stolen become unearthed. The violence, corruption and financing used to defeat her traces right back to Putin. The reporting is published, and the world community takes notice. Russia’s meddling in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election brings unwanted attention to Putin and Yanukovych.
Putin pressures Yanukovych to break his promise of joining the European Union, and in November, 2013, he signs a deal with Russia. This act of betrayal triggers the protest in Maidan. Protestors have three demands: Join the EU; end ties with Russia; and, free Yulia.
To support the protesters from her prison cell, Yulia stages a hunger strike, suffers torture at the hands of prison guards paid to terrorize her (whom she later forgives and has set free), meets with lawyers, makes pleas to foreign leaders, like John McCain, who come to Ukraine, but are not allowed by Yanukovych to meet with her.
In a desperate attempt to further silence her, Yanukovych introduces new charges against her, the murder of a Ukranian politician who was killed 16 years earlier.
Again, the plan to stop Yulia backfires. These new murder charges simply give her a bigger platform to draw attention to what is happening in Maidan. Video of her standing in a courtroom, berating a corrupt judge, goes out to the world… as even more world leaders come not only to support her illegitimate imprisonment, but to support the Ukrainians being tear-gassed and beaten in the name of freedom.
As the number of protestors grows to over 150,000 in Maidan, the violence against them becomes more intense. At this same time, Vladmir Putin is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The optics of Maidan are terrible, especially as Putin is courting an oil and gas deal with the American company Exxon. Putin suggests that President Yanukovych end the protest in Maidan.
Very soon after, snipers fire bullets, and three protesters are killed. Instead of dispersing, 5,000 more protesters arrive. The next day, more protesters are shot by snipers, and 10,000 more come. Within 48 hours, over 120 Ukrainians are killed in broad daylight.
When the Ukrainian army, and police in Kiev can stand no more killing, Yanukovych escapes to Moscow. An emergency election occurs the very next day… Yanukovych is deemed a war criminal, and Yulia is set free.
By the end of this amazing true story, our heroine and our villain literally switch places, in a stunning reversal of fortune…
Paul Manafort is led from a courtroom in handcuffs, on his way to a seven year prison sentence… while Yulia Tymoshenko is freed from her own seven year prison sentence, continuing her work as an anti-corruption politician, fighting for freedom in the Ukraine’s democratic Parliament.
Yulia Timorshenko – our heroine. Through the eyes of Yulia, we will follow a country’s fight for democracy and see how one woman’s self-sacrifice has caught the attention of her nation and the world. True grit and an iron will and a belief that the truth will set you free are what lead our heroine through torture, improsonment, false allegations, threats to her family and self. A constant test of her strength and ingenuity.
Yulia’s Husband: Will reveal a softer side of the Iron Lady and reveal her heart. We will see some of the controversy that shadows her with references to their gas and oil interests.
Yulia’s Daughter: Will give us an opportunity to see through flashback some of Yulia’s childhood and what events helped build this woman into the force of nature that she is. Her maternal instincts will reveal who she really is and what her beliefs are.
Viktor Yanukovych – a villain – that will help us to understand Yulia’s passion. He will take us into the back rooms of Russia and the KGB and help us to understand the inner workings of political corruption.
Paul Manafort – a villain – drives her imprisonment and resonates with modern day politics. Another window into modern day politics.
Brave Female Journalist - whose support and belief in Yulia help her during the campaign for president, as well as during her time in prison.
The People of the Ukraine: The heroes of the movie – their devotion and willingness to sacrifice their own lives in the name of freedom and democracy is.
Viktor Yushchenko: He lost to Yanukovich in 2003 in a corrupt election. Yulia spearheaded the Orange Revolution to nullify the election results. Yushchenko became President and rewarded Yulia with the post of Prime Minister, making her the first woman to hold the position in the history of the Ukraine. We will see this story through flashbacks. When Viktor visits her in prison, he delivers a message that she is in danger and needs to apologize to the sitting president, and agree to leave the country. If she doesn’t, he fears that Yanukovych will have her killed in prison.