Ukrainian intelligentsia requests transfer of Babi Yar project to the Institute of National Memory
The text of the Ukrainian company’s call for state leadership was signed by around 700 people
A week ago, the appeal of the Ukrainian cultural and scientific community to the leadership of the state and the mayor of Kiev for the commemoration of Babi Yar was published for the first time. In one week, the number of signatories has doubled and totals approximately seven hundred people. Signatories: members of the initiative group On December 1, philosophers, scientists, artists, human rights activists, former political prisoners, journalists. Today we provide the full text of the call submitted to the editors of Ukrinform by its initiators.
We, representatives of the Ukrainian cultural and scientific community, appeal to the President of Ukraine, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the Mayor of Kiev and the City Council of Kiev to take, in cooperation with civil society, effective responsibility and direct control over the creation of the commemorative complex at Babi Yar, which would prevent external destructive or manipulative influence on this process. In Babi Yar territory, an exclusively national commemorative institution with the status of National can function. It is she who must implement the state policy of commemoration of this place of Crime and Tragedy.
Recently, a lively public debate has started in Ukrainian society around the commemoration of Babi Yar in relation to the circumstances that accompany the activities of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (below – ICCJ). This institution, created on the initiative and at the expense of Russian businessmen Mikhail Fridman, Pavel Fuks and German Khan in 2016, at the height of an undeclared war by Russia against Ukraine, has started active preparations for the implementation of a large-scale private project in the territory of Babi Yar.
Initially, this project raised significant objections from representatives of the Ukrainian scientific community and the Jewish community due to an unacceptable ideology imposed by the sponsoring clients and the site chosen for the construction, which is located on the territory ancient Jewish cemeteries, Orthodox Cyril and Karite.
Now, the controversy is gaining momentum due to the appointment of ambiguous Russian director Ilya Khrzhanovsky as artistic director of ICCHA, whose significant methods and creative practices proposed for the future commemorative space are worrying a large part of society. This appointment was accompanied by dramatic staff changes at the ICBC and loud statements from its former top employees, including well-known foreign scientists. All these events have once again highlighted the initial flaw in the ICRC’s work – the absolute lack of transparency and the unpredictability of key decisions, over which neither the Ukrainian state nor Ukrainian civil society has any influence. .
But these are just symptoms of basic problems:
– What should be the memorial space at Babi Yar?
– what status – public or private – should it have?
– How should the Ukrainian state, Ukrainian civil society and the Ukrainian scientific community influence the decision-making process concerning its creation and functioning and therefore be responsible for it?
We believe that the absolute dependence of the ICBC project on foreign investors completely subordinates the private project of the memorial to external factors and interests, depriving Ukrainian society of the possibility of influencing it.
The management of the ICSCB publicly expresses its wish to include representatives of the highest Ukrainian authorities in its supervisory board. However, everything must happen exactly the opposite: only the Ukrainian public institutions responsible for the development of the commemorative project can invite foreign experts to participate in its collegial bodies. The question of the perpetuation of the memory of the victims of Babi Yar and the creation of a memorial must be exclusively under the control and control of the Ukrainian State and of Ukrainian civil society and cannot be transferred to the hands of citizens foreigners or private entities.
The charity of philanthropists deserves gratitude and approval, but it cannot serve as a basis for making small group decisions on matters of national importance. After all, this not only reduces the idea of charity as selfless help, but also turns into cover for voluntarism and authoritarianism.
We are convinced that Babi Yar is one of the key places in the national memory of Ukrainians as a modern political nation – Ukrainian citizens of all nationalities. We remember the victims of the Holocaust, as well as the Holodomor and the Great Terror, the genocide of the Roma and the deportation of the Crimean Tatars. The tragedy of the Ukrainian Jewish community is an integral part of the history of Ukraine, the tragedy of the whole Ukrainian people. Perpetuate the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, one of whose symbols is Babi Yar, as well as other victims of Babi Yar – Roma, patients in a mental hospital, hostages, prisoners of war, members of national resistance movements and Ukrainian Soviets, is a matter of national importance, and the creation of a national memorial should become the task of all of society with state funding and systemic support from the state’s higher institutions.
It is the Ukrainian State which should act as the main initiator, organizer and guarantor of the protection of national interests, and therefore of national security in matters of historical memory. The authorities’ inaction and insufficient support for Ukrainian public initiatives and professional communities lead, among other things, to accusations of non-compliance by the Ukrainian state in memory of the victims of Babi Yar – the terrifying tragedy of World War II and one of the global symbols of the Holocaust, and also makes possible the implementation of questionable experiments not only on the memory of the dead, but also on living carriers of that memory.
We believe that commemorative spaces of national importance should be placed in the operational management of public authorities under the effective control of the Ukrainian public, for example in the form of supervisory boards, and under the control of state institutions under the long-approved form of national commemorative museums, complexes or reserves. Of course, in this area, it is necessary to take into account the experience of other countries, to attract international experts and philanthropists. We are convinced that the experience of a commemoration worthy of Babi Yar will become a model for the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and of the Second World War in all the cities and villages of Ukraine.
We ask the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the authorities of the city of Kiev to take urgent measures to urgently resolve the above problems and to approve the policy of the memory of ‘State:
● Facilitate the rapid completion of the work and the wide public debate on the concept of global commemoration of Babi Yar, which was prepared by a working group of Ukrainian scientists at the Institute of Ukrainian History of the Academy National Science Board of Ukraine on order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dated July 26, 2018 and on the order of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine and the National Historical and Memorial “Babi Yar” reserve.
● Submit the revised concept to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for approval. It is this document, which has already passed the professional Ukrainian peer review and supplements the international review, which should become the basis for the implementation of state measures for the commemoration of Babi Yar.
● Identify the Babi Yar National Historic and Commemorative Reserve as the basic institution of the profile of the State responsible for the direct implementation of the approved project. Carry out a complete structural reorganization of the reserve, create with it a supervisory board, which will include on an equal footing representatives of Ukrainian civil society, state institutions, the scientific community and philanthropists.
● Subordinate the Babi Yar National Historic and Commemorative Reserve to the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance and determine the UIPP as a state institution which should ensure the commemoration process of Babi Yar, in accordance with the concept approved by the Cabinet ministers.
● Provide the necessary funds in the state budget for 2021 and the following years for the full implementation of the concept of commemoration of Babi Yar.
● Create a special fund in the Babi Yar national historic and commemorative reserve, open to sponsorship, to financially support the Babiy Yar State commemoration project.
● Check the legality of decisions to make available land for rent by the ICBC; establish a moratorium on all new construction in Babi Yar, in cemeteries and adjacent protected areas.
● Provide broad informational support for all stages of the creation of the National Memorial Complex at Babi Yar.
We Ukrainians, as a political nation, share a common responsibility to preserve the memory of the tragedies that have occurred in our country. Our ability to face the task of commemorating these places is a global challenge and a modern test of national and political maturity and at the same time a test of how free we are from post-colonial consciousness, from the inferiority complex and dependence on other states and groups that try to form this historic memory for us or impose our own commemorative practices.
As of Wednesday, May 20, 2020, approximately 700 people had signed the appeal, including:
current and former members of the December 1st initiative group Vyacheslav Bryukhovetsky, Olya Gnatyuk, Vladimir Ermolenko, Evgeny Zakharov, Joseph Zisels, Igor Kozlovsky, Miroslav Marinovich, Vsevolod Rechitsky, Igor Yukhnovsky, Yaroslav Yatskiv;
human rights activists and former political prisoners Mikola Gorbal, Inna Chernyavskaya-Naboka;
Archbishop Igor Isichenko;
deputies Vladimir Vyatrovich, Mustafa Dzhemilev, Nikolai Knyazhitsky;
President of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov;
writers Mark Belorusets, Natalka Belotserkovets, Andrei Bondar, Nadezhda Gerbish, Oksana Zabuzhko, Irena Karp, Marianna Kiyanovskaya, Andrei Kurkov, Timur Litovchenko, Andrei Lyubka, Bogdana Matiyash, Vasily Makhno, Katya Petrovskaya, Petr Rykabo Mik,
historians Alla Atamanenko, Oleg Bazhan, Polina Barvinskaya, Vladimir Birchak, Gennady Boryak, Victoria Hungarian, Tamara Vronskaya, Alexey Garan, Igor Girich, Maxim Gon, Alexander Goncharov, Yaroslav Gritsak, Ekaterina Disa, Leonid Zashkilnyak, Victor Danilyko E , Ekaterina Kobchenko, Sergey Kot, Stanislav Kulchitsky, Alexander Kucheruk, Alexander Lysenko, Vitaly Masnenko, Nadezhda Mironets, Mikhail Mitsel, Ivan Monolaty, Alexander Motyl, Vitaly Nakhmanovich, Tatyana Pastushenko, Ivan Patryak, Yokhan Rovskyen Skov Catherine Smagliy Elena Styazhkina, Yuri Shapoval, Natalia dressing, Larissa Yakubov, Alexei Yas;
diplomats Daniil Lubkivsky, Vladimir Ogryzko, Vladimir Puzyrko;
Journalists and publicists Leonid Golberґ, Alexander Zinchenko, Zoya Kazanzhi, Yuri Makarov, Vitaliy Portnikov, Olga Skorokhod, Tatyana Teren, Sergey Tikhiy;
the philosophers Yevgeny Bystritsky, Sergey Grabovsky, Victor Yelensky, Vakhtang Kebuladze, Natalya Krivda, Taras Lyuty, Konstantin Sigov, Lyudmila Filipovich;
editors and publishers Taras Wozniak, Alexandra Koval, Andrey Mokrousov, Rostislav Semkiv, Leonid Finberg, Oksana Forostina, Tatyana Khorunzhaya;
teachers and scientists Leonid Bilyansky, Yaroslav Gerasim, Alexander Gladun, Taras Dobko, Vladimir Dubrovsky, Sergey Entis, Yuri Ilyin, Vladimir Kazarin, Sergey Kvit, Natalya Klimovskaya, Vladimir Kulik, Yulia Ladygina, Evgeny Magda, Svetlana Petrovskaya, Merezennski. Bogdan Prah, Irina Prelovskaya, Yuri Prokhasko, Maria Rudakevich, Sergey Ryabchenko, Igor Skochilas, Eleanor Nightingale, Igor Solyar, Alexander Sushko, Lubomir Tarnovsky, Oleg Turiy, Sergey Utevsky, Maria Fedurko, Boris Khersonsky, Pavel Khobeko;
the architects Alexander Antonets, Mikhail Gershenzon;
the artists Vera Vaysberg, Matvey Vaysberg, Irina Klimova, Alexandra Kripyakevich;
museum workers Olga Gonchar, Elena Goncharuk, Lyudmila Gubianuri, Olga Drug, Ivan Kozlenko, Nikolay Kushnir, Tatyana Lyuta, Irina Meleshkina, Daniil Nikitin, Olga Melnik, Svetlana Ostapa, Vladislav Pioro, Nadia Polyanskaya, Igor Poshivgorov Poshivgorov
Ukrainian and Jewish public figures Mikhail Basarab, Dmitry Bilan, Yuriy Goncharenko, Olga Kobets, Galina Koynash, Nikolay Kocherga, Andrey Levus, Alexandra Matviychuk, Sergey Melnichuk, Yaroslav Ruschishin, Roman Spektor, Alexander Stepanenko, Orest Stasets Farenets Khruslinskaya, Bogdan Chervak, Meilakh Sheikhet, Eugene Yasinsky, Bogdan Yatsun.
The full list of signatories can be found on the critics’ website.
You can sign the appeal here.
The text of the concept of complete commemoration of Babi Yar (in Ukrainian) is available on the website of the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
According to the materials: ukrinform.ru