Donetsk is the coal-mining area of Ukraine. Here most people work for low wages in the run-down mines, while others make a lot of money. No matter which side of the social divide you are on, coming from Donetsk you will almost certainly be an opponent of the Orange Revolution and a fan of the local football team, Shakhtar Donetsk.
Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov invests heavily in the club, which is becoming a major European force during the season followed by the film. However, this sporting success funded by an Oligarch fortune only seems to highlight the wider social and political stagnation of the region. Off the pitch, the outlook appears bleak…
Coal miner Sasha (55) has been a fan of the team for 50 years. He sits among the common people on the terraces in the stadium, while local politician and businessman Kolya (30) has his place high above his head in the VIP box. Both are witnesses to Shakhtar’s breakthrough on the international stage during the 2009 UEFA-Cup. Shakhtar serves as an example of the connection between politics, business and sport. Coal miner Sasha is critical about the new elite in his country, he and his colleagues at the mine regret the Soviet times and they cannot cope with the new capitalism. However, the fact that oligarch Akhmetov is a patriot, and invests in the team of his hometown rather than in a big foreign club, means a lot to him.
THE OTHER CHELSEA features the discordant worlds of coal miners and oligarchs, and how both of them meet: in the football stadium of Shakhtar Donetsk.