The statue of the Motherland, inaugurated by Leonid Brezhnev in 1981, continues to overlook the south of kyiv from the top of its 102 meters, sword in one hand and shield in the other. The open-air museum it dominates, dubbed the “Museum of the Great Patriotic War” during the Soviet era, is now called the “National Museum of the History of Ukraine during World War II”, with resources mostly online.
A giant flag in the blue and yellow colors of independent Ukraine flies over the Eternal Glory Park today, where two new exhibits have been established since the Russian invasion began almost a year ago . Because the desire to document the ongoing tragedy, palpable throughout the country, is not only part of a demand for justice, so that war crimes do not go unpunished.
It also aims to preserve the memory of the thousand and one gestures of collective and individual resistance that have enabled Ukraine not to be crushed by its powerful neighbour.
Read the survey: Article reserved for our subscribers Re-reading the Second World War, another front between Russia and Ukraine
The “crucifixion of Ukraine”
The team of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine during the Second World War is working, in the urgency of February 2022, to place the 400,000 pieces of its collections in a safe place. But, very quickly, despite the enlistment of some employees in the armed forces and the exile of many others, the museum set about collecting the traces of the ongoing conflict and developing traveling exhibitions, dedicated to defending the Ukrainian cause. abroad.
A new stage is reached, on May 8, 2022, with the opening on three floors of the “Crucifixion of Ukraine”, which replaces the previous Museum of local conflict. The choice of the date is obviously symbolic, on this day when President Zelensky invokes in black and white the “Never again” of May 8, 1945. As for Vladimir Putin, he celebrates the next day with great fanfare the “Day of Victory of the Soviet tradition.
The visitor is greeted by a giant red star, the space of which is filled with shoes left behind by Russian soldiers. The effect is quite striking and is found in front of these installations of rockets embedded in a bench, mortar shells forming a cross, stacks of bazookas, but also devastated homes, shattered museums and burnt churches. The legends are implacably precise, here a charred icon of Makariv, there a ravaged dome of the church of Loukianivka. The despondency, however, gives way to dread when we discover the endowments of a soldier from a Russian unit involved in the atrocities of Boutcha, where hundreds of civilians were massacred in March 2022. Even if the commentary remains sober, it is then difficult to take your eyes off the cutlass thus exposed, next to a uniform and military documents.
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