Russian Forces Burned Down a Museum Home to Dozens of Works by Ukrainian Folk Artist Maria Prymachenko

Ukraine's culture minister is calling UNESCO to revoke Russia's membership.

Maria Prymachenko, Our Army, Our Protectors (1978)
Maria Prymachenko, Our Army, Our Protectors (1978)

Invading Russian forces destroyed a museum in Ivankiv, a city northwest of the capital Kyiv, that was home to dozens of works by the Ukrainian folk artist Maria Prymachenko on Sunday.

The Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, located northwest of the capital city Kyiv was burnt to the ground, along with 25 works by Prymachenko, according to the Kyiv Independent.

Vlada Litovchenko, director of the Vyshhorod Historical and Cultural Reserve, confirmed the “irreparable loss.”

“Numerous historical and architectural monuments and archaeological sites are under threat of artillery shelling and uncontrolled movement of heavy military trucks,” Litovchenko wrote in a statement on Facebook that was translated into English.

“Another one of the irreparable losses of the historical-cultural authority of Ukraine is the destruction of the Ivankiv Historical-Cultural Museum by the aggressor in these hellish days for our country,” she wrote, adding that the museum was home to not only the works of Prymachenko, but other artists and exhibitions as well.

The self-taught artist was born in 1909 in the region and was buried there when she died in 1997. Her colorful folk art paintings were widely exhibited in the country and appeared on the country’s stamps during the 1970s. She was honored with the 1966 Taras Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine. UNESCO declared that 2009 was the year of Maria Prymachenko.

Since the Russian forces destroyed the museum during the ongoing war, Ukraine has called for UNESCO to strip Russia of its membership in the organization.

“The idea of creating an international movement to protect historical monuments in case of armed conflict was laid into the basic principles of UNESCO activities,” Litovchenko said. “Since 2014, the Russian Federation has been systematically violating international humanitarian law and international conventions for the protection of cultural heritage, especially on the Crimea Peninsula.”

Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Oleksandr Tkachenko, has already appealed to UNESCO to revoke Russia’s membership, according to Litovchenko.

“[Russia’s] actions have already caused damage to the ancient city of Tavriian Khersones, listed on the World Heritage list, as well as the Bakhchisaray Palace of the Crimean Khans,” among other cultural heritage objects, Tkachenko was reported as writing on the encrypted messaging system Telegram.

Tweets condemning Russia’s destruction of the museum and images of Prymachenko’s works flooded Twitter.

“A sign of Putin’s barbarity to destroy a museum in #Ukraine. Especially one which celebrates the joyous art of Maria Prymachenko,” wrote Irish artist Robert Bohan. “@UNESCO must intervene with Putin.”


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