Vladimir Putin Makes Mass Looting of Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Easier

Putin Makes Mass Looting of Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Easier, by Imposing Martial Law in Four Ukrainian Territories Illegally Annexed by Russia.

Nov 6, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine
Sand bags for protection, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 28, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko/File Photo


Vladimir Putin implemented martial law in four unlawfully acquired Ukrainian territories. Everything occurred on October 19. He also effectively legalised the theft of cultural property in Ukraine, by doing so.


Vladimir Putin Forcibly Seized Control of Many Cultural Institutions

Workers fix a banner reading “Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson – Russia!”, State Historical Museum in central Moscow on September 29, 2022. Photo: Natalia Kolesnikova /AFP via Getty Images.


The imposition of martial law in Russia gives the nation the authority to “evacuate” objects with economic, social, and cultural significance. Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk are the four regions specified in Putin’s decree.


However, looting takes place in the occupied Ukrainian territories, now for months. Russian troops forcibly seized control of Kherson’s Shovkunenko Regional Art Museum. Also, numerous other institutions in the four annexed regions could suffer a similar fate. This also includes the Donetsk Republican Art Museum, and the Luhansk Art Museum.


In Kherson, occupants also demolished monuments of Russian military heroes from the 18th century. Those heroes are Aleksandr Suvorov, Fyodor Ushakov, and Vasily Margelov. Also, the Russian military demolished a 21st-century reproduction of an 1823 statue representing Prince Grigory Potemkin.


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The prince facilitated the Crimean takeover from the Turks in 1783. Additionally, soldiers removed Potemkin’s remains from Kherson’s St. Catherine’s Cathedral. They transported them deep into Russian-occupied territory.


“The evacuation of Crimean museums is a war crime” – Ukrainian Culture Minister

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin


The “evacuation” of Crimean museums would be regarded as a “war crime”, the Ukrainian ministry of culture said on October 15. “Mass removal of cultural values ​​from the territory of Ukraine by the Russian occupiers will be comparable to the looting of museums during World War II, and should be qualified accordingly”, the ministry’s statement said.


He also talked about the violations of the international law that Russia made. “The actions of the Russian Federation are a violation of the international law. Any seizure, destruction or wilful damage to religious, charitable, educational, artistic and scientific institutions, historical monuments, works of art and science is prohibited and should be subject to prosecution.”


Ukraine asked for help from UNESCO and other international partners. The country asked for not cooperating with the aggressor and their museums. Also, they asked for the prevention of any future violations of the international law.


Russian invasion
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, via Wikipedia


A top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, stated on Twitter that the declaration of martial law is a “pseudo-legalization of plunder of Ukrainians’ property.”


“This does not change anything for Ukraine”, Podolyak wrote. “We continue the liberation  of our territories.”

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.