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Crimes against culture: Ukraine has created a Red List of endangered cultural property

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Crimes against culture: Ukraine has created a Red List of endangered cultural property

Ukrainian cultural heritage is under threat due to the massive export of historical property by the occupiers. Find out what historical and cultural values of Ukraine are on the Red List and what is the significance of the document

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The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine (MCIP), together with the International Council of Museums (ICOM), has created an Emergency Red List of cultural property threatened by the armed aggression of the russian federation. 


Experts from 11 museums in Ukraine worked on this document under the guidance of the Department of Heritage Protection. The research and implementation of the project lasted almost a year.


What is on the Red List?


The published list contains 53 types of cultural property, divided into 7 general categories. In particular, we are talking about archaeological finds, original ancient manuscripts and books, coins, as well as objects related to religious, applied, and fine arts.



Trypillia ceramics


In addition, the list includes Trypillia and Kosiv ceramics, Crimean terracotta figurines and elements of Crimean Tatar clothing, Scythian jewelry, the Ostroh Bible, and the Bakhchisarai theological manuscript.



Scythian jewelry


As well as paintings by many artists, including Mykola Pymonenko, Mariia Prymachenko, Oleksandra Bohomazova, Oleksandra Ekster, and others.



The Ostroh Bible


All these objects are under threat due to looting, theft and illegal export from the territory of Ukraine. 




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How did the process of creating the Red List go?


According to Yulia Lytvynets, Director General of the National Art Museum of Ukraine, the actual creation of the list was completed in December 2022, and approval work has been ongoing.


The process of selecting objects was very difficult, and experts had to take a responsible approach to analyzing the samples available in Ukrainian collections. After all, the main goal was to select the most typical cultural heritage objects so that any uninformed person could understand that they were looking at a stolen historical and cultural value of Ukraine. And given the fact that there are many stylistic differences and various trends that influenced culture in different regions of Ukraine, the initial list of objects was much longer than the final, approved document.


It is important to note that the list of cultural property prescribed in the published document is the property located on the territory controlled by Ukraine, and therefore there is no threat to it. They are only a reflection of typical art objects that are under threat in other regions of the country.


What is the significance of the Red List for Ukrainian cultural heritage and the museum sector in particular?


The Red List is a benchmark for other countries to recognize stolen objects of Ukraine's historical heritage and prevent their export. The document will be translated into the languages of the countries bordering the russian federation and distributed among customs and border guards who work directly with people crossing the border.


The official publication of the Red List is an important step toward preserving Ukraine's historical and cultural heritage. It means that the problem has been recognized internationally, and all countries are obliged to carefully check the objects that they will try to export from the territory of the aggressor country in the future. And if there is a suspicion about the origin of cultural property, both the person who tried to smuggle the object and the property itself will be checked.


It is also important that the Red List includes Crimean Tatar cultural objects. According to Lytvynets, this is a loud appeal to the indigenous population of Crimea, which emphasizes the importance of the Crimean Tatars for Ukraine and Ukrainians.


We remind you! Today, there are many films and documentaries about the history of Ukraine and the struggle of the Ukrainian people for freedom. We told you which films about Ukraine are really worth watching in our previous article.




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