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russia is not just destroying cities, but it is also systematically destroying thousands of years of Ukrainian cultural heritage — Ukrainian Institute

russia is not just destroying cities, but it is also systematically destroying thousands of years of Ukrainian cultural heritage — Ukrainian Institute

We spoke about the «Postcards from Ukraine» project and its purpose with Nadiya Koval, head of the analytical department of the Ukrainian Institute.

Nadia Koval: «Postcards from Ukraine» is an online project. We plan that it will consist of 70 postcards. The initial third has now been released and over time, it should expand beyond the online format. Its next formats will include exhibitions, the printing of postcards, and other ways into physical space.

«The Postcards from Ukraine project aims to document and demonstrate the damage caused to Ukrainian culture by the Russian occupiers as a result of bombing and shelling during the full-scale war that Russia launched against Ukraine on February 24, 2022.»

Nadiya Koval: Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the occupiers have been destroying our country’s historical, architectural and archaeological monuments every day. The Russian military cynically and mercilessly fires at museums, memorials, university buildings, and movie theaters. They fire rockets at churches, temples, cathedrals, television towers, and monuments. Russia is not just destroying Ukrainian cities and villages, but it is systematically destroying Ukrainian cultural heritage, which is thousands of years old. Some objects are completely destroyed and others are partially damaged. These are different buildings from different regions

  • With this project, we want to show that with their attacks, the Russians destroy not only human lives, but also our culture and history.

Ukrainian cities have different degrees of destruction. With good monitoring and effort, we will be able to restore some. Others, unfortunately, are lost forever.

This is a very serious attack on our history and culture. We must show it all. The identity dimension of this war is extremely important.

Examples of project objects

Nadia Koval: Our list includes buildings that belong to medieval architecture, as well as newer ones. We try not to think in terms of «old is more valuable.» We do not compare or rank. All damage is important. These are all layers of Ukrainian culture. Everyone deserves attention and memory.

In the Luhansk region, for example, many objects of sacred architecture have been destroyed. There, total destruction is taking place, as in the example of the building of the Lysychan multidisciplinary gymnasium. In 2017, the building was among the five finalists of a competition, which takes place every year with the support of the King of Belgium’s foundation. This building received the «Belgian Heritage Abroad» award.

Photo: «Postcards from Ukraine» project

The Holy Dormition Sviatohirskaya Lavra is located on the high chalk bank of the Siverskyi Donets River, the so-called Holy Mountains. This is a unique object of the cultural heritage of Ukraine. According to archaeological findings, the first Christian cave abodes appeared on these mountains even before the baptism of Kyivan Rus.

Photo: «Postcards from Ukraine» project
  • The Ministry of Culture maintains a registry of destroyed monuments of Ukrainian cultural heritage based on information policy. It includes about 400 objects, and this is not all. Fighting is still going on.

Today, more than ever, we need solidarity and support from the international community. Everyone can make a huge impact and deprive Russia of this leverage, regardless of their location. Distribute flyers on social media, send them to influencers and let them hear your voice.

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