Despite the fact that targeting cultural heritage is a war crime, cultural sites are often treated as a second front: looted, damaged, or destroyed as a way for the aggressor to assert their power, demoralize the enemy, and control – or even erase – the cultural narrative.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, identity has been at the center of Putin’s agenda. And with cultural sites across the country being damaged, it is becoming increasingly clear that erasing Ukraine’s cultural and historical markers is a major aspect of Russia’s plan.
Ukraine is home to a wide variety of visual and physical culture – museums, monuments, archives, architecture – all of which are at risk of destruction, both collateral and intentional.
We spoke with three experts actively working to protect Ukraine’s art treasures: Hayden Bassett, director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History; Cultural Heritage Monitoring Laboratory (CHML); Vasyl Mestko, Director of Communications at Lviv Art Galleryand Catarina Buchatskiy, co-founder of Shadows Project.
If you are interested in volunteering remotely, Save Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO) It works to identify and archive vulnerable sites, digital content and data in Ukrainian cultural heritage institutions.
or check file Network of European Museum Organizations (NEMO). They are compiling a list of some of the organizations that are in contact with the Ukrainians on the ground.
This video is part of our broader reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
How did Stalin starve Ukraine?
You can find this video and all files Vox videos on YouTube.