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Maksym Zubov: The National Military Memorial Cemetery is about forming a new culture of memory

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The formation of a “new culture of memory” and the uniqueness of the National Military Memorial Cemetery project were discussed by Maksym Zubov, the head of the memorial work department at the National Military Memorial Cemetery, during Hromadske Radio’s field studio at Docudays UA.

The National Military Memorial Cemetery is currently at the stage of preparatory work, and the project for the construction of the first stage is being developed. The entire complex—a preliminary design was presented to the public, and it is available online. According to the preliminary design by the chief architect, the project is quite large-scale and cannot be built at once. It is divided into stages and launch complexes, and now the project of the first stage is being developed», – Zubov explained.

He emphasized that this is a unique project for the country because “this is actually the only state cemetery,» and all other cemeteries are communal by law.

There are unique cases, such as nature reserves: Lychakiv and Lukianiv cemeteries. We face many challenges, both for the project team and the Ministry of Veterans Affairs. No such projects have been implemented in the country. We have to start collecting this experience bit by bit or look for it abroad, but we have a local context. This project is not just about the cemetery; it’s not just about burying a person.

Nowadays, the function of caring for the graves of the military is entrusted to the relatives, but the memorial cemetery ensures that the graves are always well maintained. It means not only burying with military honors but also looking after them with honors», – Zubov said.

Another important aspect is that the graves are visited and remembered, Zubov noted:

“The culture of remembrance in cemeteries in Ukraine… I don’t know how to say it, but we have «coffins» after Easter, people drink, eat, and bring different things to cemeteries. Do we need such a culture of remembrance for the fallen defenders? Do we need to bring artificial wreaths that need to be recycled, or is this how we want to remember the fallen defenders?

That is why one of the tasks facing the team of the memorial cemetery is to educate and form a new culture of remembrance in relation to the maintenance of graves.»

The Memorial Military Cemetery will be built near the village of Hatne, Fastiv district, Kyiv region. The complex will have places for different types of burials, public buildings, and a park. In March, it was reported that “the preparatory work will start soon, and the construction itself is scheduled to begin in June this year.”

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