City collection 'ransacked' as Kiev erupts in violence
Art and archaeology in storage at the Ukrainsky Dom is looted, while Baroque church is used as field hospital
By Sophia Kishkovsky. Web only
Published online: 19 February 2014
The Ukrainian Center for Museum Development reported today that the Kiev History Museum’s collections have been ransacked in Ukrainsky Dom, as the situation in Kiev continues to escalate into brutal violence. Security forces had seized the government building from protesters yesterday. The looting appears to have been done overnight after protesters and staff had left.
“Unfortunately, the news is bad,” a post read on the organisation’s Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon. “The storage and administrative facilities of the Kiev History Museum, which are on the fourth floor of Ukrainsky Dom, have been COMPLETELY ransacked.” The group said it was trying to determine exactly when the looting took place. The interior ministry is currently using the building to deploy security forces.
A museum employee identified as Aida Bek posted a photograph on her Facebook page of an overturned box of fragments at Ukrainsky Dom, with the caption: “Our archaeology in storage.”
However, Leonid Novohatko, Ukraine’s acting culture minister, said in a television interview on Wednesday that “nothing tragic has yet happened” in terms of cultural losses. He said it was too early to assess damage to the Kiev History Museum collection since an inventory was still being conducted.
The museum had been planning to move into new quarters and was storing its collection, which includes art and archaeological objects related to the city, at a building known as the Ukrainsky Dom (Ukraine House). After protesters took over the building last month, the Ukrainian Center for Museum Development reported that the collection had not suffered significant damage from either security forces or protesters, who seemed to be respectful of the museum’s property.
Meanwhile, another nearby site of great cultural significance for Ukraine is playing a central role in the anti-government conflict as a field hospital. St Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, which was severely damaged by invading Mongols in the 13th century, was rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque style in the 18th century and had its main cathedral destroyed under Stalin in the 1930s, has become a refuge for weary and wounded protesters. The cathedral was rebuilt in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine became independent.
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