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Crimea is called an open-air museum for a reason. Dozens of peoples and civilizations of Europe and Asia have left their mark on the blessed Crimean land. In addition, it grew and unique phenomena, among which a special place is occupied by indigenous peoples. According to the discovered and recorded monuments of history, archeology, architecture and monumental art, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is the richest region of Ukraine. And here we must add the heritage of Sevastopol…
In the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine, seemingly more acute aspects of the Crimean problem come to the fore – accelerated militarization of the occupied Crimea and its transformation into a military bridgehead for further aggression, the occupiers’ formation of a “peninsula of fear” where freedoms communities, blocking hydrocarbon production from most of the Ukrainian shelf, Russian theft of gas from Ukrainian fields using seized Ukrainian equipment ($ 800 million was paid from the Ukrainian budget for only two drilling rigs), blockade of traffic flows in the Sea of Azov, and more.
However, the problems of Ukraine’s cultural heritage in Crimea due to the policy of the occupiers are no less acute, both due to the blatant cases of vandalism by Russia and given the special place of Crimea in the Ukrainian geocultural space. Our country is returning to the European family of nations. Many thinkers see it as a common basis of European civilization – Greek culture and philosophy, Roman law and Christianity. Crimea for Ukraine-Russia was one of the main ways of penetration of Greco-Roman and Christian values. At the same time, this region is an important center of the Islamic tradition of Eastern Europe. For the modern Ukrainian political nation, which in ethnic terms consists of the Ukrainian ethnic group, national minorities and indigenous peoples, the Crimean Tatar cultural heritage is of particular importance, because the Crimean Tatars are the largest indigenous people of Crimea and,respectively, the whole of Ukraine. Caring for Crimean Tatar culture and monuments is a direct duty of the Ukrainian state. And the occupiers’ policies discriminated against the indigenous people, who had not yet healed the trauma of the communist genocide, and posed a threat to the preservation of its heritage. A sad symbol of this was the act of vandalism by the occupying authorities under the guise of restoration in Khan Sarai – the only surviving monument of palace architecture of the Crimean Tatars.A sad symbol of this was the act of vandalism by the occupying authorities under the guise of restoration in Khan Sarai – the only surviving monument of palace architecture of the Crimean Tatars.A sad symbol of this was the act of vandalism by the occupying authorities under the guise of restoration in Khan Sarai – the only surviving monument of palace architecture of the Crimean Tatars.
“Treasure Peninsula” in numbers
Actually important monuments of archeology begin to be formed in the Crimea since the Paleolithic. Already in prehistoric times, an interesting feature of the region became apparent – its ability to preserve from time to time as long as possible phenomena that have already disappeared elsewhere. For example, the Crimean land has become one of the last refuges for Neanderthals in Europe. People of the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Eneolithic, Bronze and Early Iron Ages also left many traces on it. Even more cultural layers were left by our predecessors in historical times. Crimea lay at the crossroads of sea and land, had beautiful bays, plenty of pastures and convenient places to live and cultivate the land, so the last three millennia of history have constantly attracted tribes, peoples and states of the Great Steppe, Mediterranean and Eastern Europe.
Mysterious Tauri, Iranian-speaking Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans, Turkic-speaking Huns, Khazars, Pechenegs, Polovtsians, Seljuk Turks, Crimean Tatars, Ottoman Turks, Karaites, Crimean Tatars, German-speaking Goths, as well as Greeks, Romans, Romans, Middle other peoples left their mark in the Crimea. Ancient polises, steppe associations of tribes, the kingdoms of antiquity and the Middle Ages of Asia Minor and Europe, the Italian republics, the Ottoman and Romanov empires fought for the right to own it or its parts. In the middle of the XIX century. Crimea became the main arena of the Eastern War between Russia, on the one hand, and the coalition of European states and Turkey, on the other. The whirlpool of tragic events of the twentieth century. drew the peninsula even more – the period of wars and revolutions of 1914-1920, the communist experiment, World War II left many scars, scars and marks on the Crimean land.On the territory of Crimea is the oldest city in Ukraine – Kerch, which arose more than 26 centuries ago. This policy is associated with the founding of the state, which is one of the oldest in modern Ukraine – the Bosporus Kingdom. And the history of Crimea knew the states created by the Crimeans themselves in other eras, among which was the last fragment of the Byzantine world – the Orthodox principality of Theodore (captured by the Ottomans in 1475) and a significant state led by the Genghis Khan dynasty – the Crimean Khanate.among them was the last fragment of the Byzantine world – the Orthodox principality of Theodore (captured by the Ottomans in 1475) and a significant for its time state led by the dynasty of Genghis Khan – the Crimean Khanate.among them was the last fragment of the Byzantine world – the Orthodox principality of Theodore (captured by the Ottomans in 1475) and a significant for its time state led by the dynasty of Genghis Khan – the Crimean Khanate.
Even a brief look at the Crimean past clearly demonstrates that the cultural heritage of Crimea should be an extraordinary layer of world cultural heritage. In fact, we see in this region a wide panorama of historical and cultural sites – mounds of nomads and the remains of ancient polises, temples and necropolises, cave cities and fortifications, memorial houses and complexes, museums and reserves. Many of them are unique or of great historical and cultural value.
At the time of Russia’s attack on Ukraine in 2014, 7,227 archeological monuments, 3,861 historical monuments, 742 monuments of architecture, urban planning and landscape art, 520 monuments of monumental art were on the state register in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. 227 of them are of national importance. At the same time in Sevastopol the state registered 246 monuments of archeology, 1479 – history, 719 – architecture, town-planning and garden and park art, 262 – monumental art, from them – 42 of national value. That is, there were a total of 14,364 attractions in the Crimea. Is it a lot or a little? This is more than a tenth of all such objects registered in Ukraine! We will remind that the area of the Crimean peninsula is only 4% of all area of the state.
At the beginning of 2014, there were 32 state museum institutions in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, including 7 historical and cultural reserves: the Sudak Fortress State Architectural and Historical Reserve (established in 1928, a branch of the Sofia Kyivska National Reserve since 1958), Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve (1987), Bakhchisaray Historical and Cultural Reserve (1990), Alupkin State Palace and Park Reserve (1990), Republican Historical and Archaeological Reserve “Kalos-Limen” in the Black Sea town (1997), Historical and Cultural Reserve Old Crimea ”(2000), Naples Scythian Historical and Archaeological Reserve (2011).
There were approximately 10 state museums in Sevastopol at the time of the Russian aggression, including the Chersonesos Tavriya National Reserve (founded in 1978 and granted national status in 1994).
In the Autonomous Republic of Crimea there were 917.5 thousand items of the state part of the Museum Fund of Ukraine, and in Sevastopol – 320.2 thousand. In addition, more than 300 public and departmental museums were registered in the state alone. A number of similar institutions were in Sevastopol.
The United Nations specialized agency for education, science and culture – UNESCO – has been maintaining the World Heritage List since 1978. Inclusion in it gives additional guarantees of preservation and integrity of the object, determines its special protection status, and also raises prestige of the country and attracts attention of tourists. As of 2013, the List included 936 objects, seven of which represent Ukraine. The importance of the Crimean cultural heritage is evidenced by the fact that among the “wonderful seven” is “The ancient city of Chersonesos Tavria and its choir (V century BC to XIV century AD).” The Chersonese settlement is the only fully preserved example of an ancient city in Europe with an agricultural district (choir), which demonstrates how the territory was distributed among the citizens of the ancient city and how economic activity was organized. Exactly in June 2013.by the efforts of Ukraine at the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee, this site was included in the World Heritage List.
In addition, even before the Russian attack, Ukraine included 5 more Crimean sites in the list of nominees to the World Heritage List:
- Bakhchisaray Palace of the Crimean Khans (2003);
- The complex of objects of the Sudak fortress of the VI – XVI centuries. (2007);
- Fortified settlements on the Genoese trade routes from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea (2010);
- Cultural landscape of the “cave cities” of the Crimean Gothia (2012);
- The historical environment of the capital of the Crimean khans in the city of Bakhchisarai “(2012).
Unfortunately, Russia’s occupation of Crimea has not only slowed down the process of including these sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List for a long time, but has already had direct negative consequences for some of them.
Occupation as a challenge and threat to the cultural heritage of Crimea
Already the first steps of the occupying state in the spring of 2014 in the Crimea on cultural heritage were significant. The occupation administration dismantled the monument to Hetman Sagaidachny and the memorial to the 10th anniversary of the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol. Then they acted on a large scale and on the principle: the territory of lawlessness is the territory of lawlessness. Contrary to international law, in 2014–2015, the occupation administration in Crimea and the occupying state took quasi-legal steps to appropriate Ukraine’s historical and cultural heritage. Normative acts of the illegitimate “Republic of Crimea” and the Russian authorities on declaring “objects of cultural heritage (monuments of history and culture)” of Crimea… “an integral part of the national wealth and property of the peoples of the Russian Federation” were adopted.the procedure for including Crimean monuments in the register of cultural heritage sites of the Russian Federation was simplified and its application began. By the end of 2014, almost all relevant scientific and museum institutions of the Crimea were re-registered under Russian law.
According to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), the occupying forces are obliged to assist the national authorities in ensuring the protection and preservation of its cultural property. That is, the Russian Federation, as an occupying power, should help Ukraine ensure their security. However, the Kremlin, known for its brutal and cynical attitude to international law, is failing to fulfill its obligations under the Hague Convention.
The negative consequences of this for the cultural heritage of Crimea did not linger. The occupying power allocates funds for what it calls restoration. Thus, immediately after the occupation of Crimea, the destruction of the works of Italian architects Torricelli and Digby began – the stairs to Mount Mithridates, where in ancient times there was the Acropolis of Pantikapaion. Back in 2016, the head of the Kremlin promised to restore this iconic building for Kerch. In 2017, the Russian tender for the restoration was won by Meander LLC from St. Petersburg. Note that this company is a fantastic success in obtaining Russian budget money. Billions of rubles were in her accounts. In particular, according to experts, she received contracts in the occupied Crimea and Sevastopol for a total of approximately more than 2 billion rubles. Most of these amounts for unauthorized by the sovereign state – Ukraine – restoration work on facilities,among them are the Livadia Palace, the complex of the Surb-Khach monastery in the Old Crimea, A. Chekhov’s house and the Swallow’s Nest in Yalta.
I think no one has any illusions about the selection of a restoration company in Russia, where the words “crucifixion” and “rollback” may soon overtake the words “satellite” and “pogrom” in terms of “export potential”. But it was painful to read that in 2018, Meander, without conducting archeological excavations directly on the slopes of Mount Mithridates, where the ancient acropolis was located, stuck 1,134 piles, each 30 meters long, and poured concrete into the middle. It is no longer even important that, according to the occupation authorities, such a “strengthening of the slope” had no effect on the stairs and that the work was carried out outside the area of their cadastral location. The main question: what happened to the cultural strata of ancient Pantikapaion and the medieval Bosporus after such a barbaric intervention? It seems that the approximate, according to journalists,to the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Medinsky company “Meander” confused the slope-strengthening measures around the village club in the Ryazan region with work on an ancient object of world importance.
A glaring act of vandalism also took place in the Bakhchisaray Palace. At the end of 2015, the general contractor (Moscow-based Atta Group Corporation) and a subcontractor (Kiramet LLC) began “restoration” at the request of the occupying power from work on the oldest building in Khan Sarai – the Great Khan’s Mosque (1532). These structures removed the authentic hand-made floor beams and tiles and replaced them with the latest materials. During the de facto reconstruction, they damaged the paintings, which were carefully restored by Ukrainian restorers in the second floor. XX century, and one of the oldest tombstones in the Khan’s cemetery. In addition, they managed to remove the roof of a valuable ancient building in winter, as a result, moisture got inside it, and put a concrete armopoyas on the walls, which increased the load and led to cracks in the building and minaret, stained glass damage.The actions of the Russian contractor, who had no experience in the restoration of historical and cultural sites, caused irreparable damage to the monument, which was included in Ukraine’s Preliminary List of World Cultural Heritage. Some experts are convinced that the destruction of the authenticity of Khan Sarai is not just a matter of corruption and unprofessionalism, but one of the steps to assimilate the indigenous people, during the genocide of which the communist regime has already destroyed a large part of Crimean Tatar architectural monuments. Activists drew attention to the tragic situation with the only Crimean Tatar monument of palace construction due to publicity and the actions of Ukrainian diplomacy. However, at other facilities of the Khan’s Palace “restoration” is now carried out by the infamous company “Meander”.caused irreparable damage to the monument, which was included by Ukraine in the Preliminary List of World Cultural Heritage. Some experts are convinced that the destruction of the authenticity of Khan Sarai is not just a matter of corruption and unprofessionalism, but one of the steps to assimilate the indigenous people, during the genocide of which the communist regime has already destroyed a large part of Crimean Tatar architectural monuments. Activists drew attention to the tragic situation with the only Crimean Tatar monument of palace construction due to publicity and the actions of Ukrainian diplomacy. However, at other facilities of the Khan’s Palace “restoration” is now carried out by the infamous company “Meander”.caused irreparable damage to the monument, which was included by Ukraine in the Preliminary List of World Cultural Heritage. Some experts are convinced that the destruction of the authenticity of Khan Sarai is not just a matter of corruption and unprofessionalism, but one of the steps to assimilate the indigenous people, during the genocide of which the communist regime has already destroyed a large part of Crimean Tatar architectural monuments. Activists drew attention to the tragic situation with the only Crimean Tatar monument of palace construction due to publicity and the actions of Ukrainian diplomacy. However, at other facilities of the Khan’s Palace “restoration” is now carried out by the infamous company “Meander”.and one of the steps towards the assimilation of the indigenous people, during the genocide of which the communist regime had already destroyed a large part of the architectural monuments of the Crimean Tatars. Activists drew attention to the tragic situation with the only Crimean Tatar monument of palace construction due to publicity and the actions of Ukrainian diplomacy. However, at other facilities of the Khan’s Palace “restoration” is now carried out by the infamous company “Meander”.and one of the steps towards the assimilation of the indigenous people, during the genocide of which the communist regime had already destroyed a large part of the architectural monuments of the Crimean Tatars. Activists drew attention to the tragic situation with the only Crimean Tatar monument of palace construction due to publicity and the actions of Ukrainian diplomacy. However, at other facilities of the Khan’s Palace “restoration” is now carried out by the infamous company “Meander”.
It is currently restoring with unpredictable consequences another landmark from the Previous World Heritage List – the Genoese fortress in Sudak. This is the best preserved monument of Western European serfdom in the south of Ukraine, almost perfectly integrated into the mountain landscape. In 2015, one of the towers of the fortress collapsed. This drama led to another – the illegitimate Russian management of the museum hired workers without proper skills, who filled the foundation with concrete and old stone on it, but with the use of modern cement built a copy of the authentic tower. So props gradually replace real monuments пам In addition, modern small and not very architectural forms, electric poles installed during the occupation in the protected area of the Sudak Fortress, distort the overall appearance of the historic site.
Unfortunately, the list of problems associated with the restoration of monuments in the Crimea can be continued, but it is time to move on to illegal archaeological excavations. After the occupation, there was even talk of an “archaeological boom” in the territory of the autonomy and Sevastopol. It is largely related to Russia’s illegal construction of infrastructure projects. Thus, during the construction of a strategic military transport facility – the Crimea-Kuban bridge, according to Russian sources, 1 million artifacts were found, a tenth of which is of scientific value! It is obvious that the lion’s share of the finds were made in the occupied territory of Ukraine, but contrary to the law, no one applied to the authorized bodies of the sovereign state for open letters and permits for excavations. In general, these, like almost all other archaeological works in the occupied Crimea,conducted in violation of Ukrainian law and international law. Experts of the Crimean Institute for Strategic Studies noted that during the construction in 2017-2018 of the Kerch-Sevastopol route, out of 75 archeological sites that fell into the construction zone and most of which were just discovered, only 3 were preserved. slaughterhouse late Scythian settlement “Front-2”, a mound with the burial of the Cimmerian leader, the parking lot of primitive man, medieval settlements.mound with the burial of the Cimmerian leader, the parking lot of primitive man, medieval settlements.mound with the burial of the Cimmerian leader, the parking lot of primitive man, medieval settlements.
One of the problems in the field of protection of archaeological heritage is the official permission in Russia of private archeological companies and the transfer of this practice to the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea. There is reason to believe that a significant part of their findings is on the “black market”. Traditionally active in the occupied Crimea and ordinary “black archaeologists”, only one seized FSB collection was valued at $ 2 million.
A serious problem is the illegal export of cultural heritage sites from the Crimea to Russia or other countries. The Convention on Measures to Prohibit and Prevent the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) stipulates that the export or transfer of rights to cultural property resulting from occupation is illegal. Despite this, Russia has been exporting items from the Museum Fund of Ukraine to Russian museums for all the years of occupation. It is unknown how many of them return to the Crimea. Meanwhile, for example, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow exhibited paintings by I. Aivazovsky, which are exhibits of the Feodosia Art Gallery. Cases of export of exhibits from the Crimean museums abroad are fixed. For example, in the summer of 2019, Russia, in particular,With the help of the Crimean Diocese, the UOC-MP organized an exhibition “Shrines of the Crimea” in Cyprus using Crimean artifacts.
The Ukrainian embassy in Cyprus was quick to respond to the latest case, which concerned the wider problem of the aggressor state’s use of Ukraine’s cultural heritage in the war against Ukraine. Representatives of the Russian side did not hide that this exhibition is part of a broader provocative project aimed at trying to achieve indirect recognition of the annexation of Crimea by an EU member state. For this purpose, in particular, the “Society of Friends of Chersonesos Tavria” was formed in Cyprus (previous working name – “Crimean House in the EU”). In general, Putin has repeatedly tried to use Chersonesos to try to find a quasi-historical justification for annexation, which became the greatest violation of international law in post-Hitler Europe. After all, no country on the continent where the two world wars began,for more than half a century it did not annex the territory of another sovereign state. Hence the absurd statements of the Kremlin leader that Chersonese is the source of Russia’s centralized state.
Uses Russia to try to indirectly recognize the capture of Crimea and philately. Thus, in 2016 she jointly issued stamps with Malta in honor of the architect Nikolai Krasnov, among the images of which was the palace and park ensemble in Korea Dulber, and in 2017 there was a Russian-Sri Lankan series of stamps “Architecture”. where there was a postage stamp with the Bakhchisaray Holy Dormition Monastery. Invitations to visit Crimea to foreign figures of science and culture in violation of Ukrainian legislation serve the same purpose.
A significant problem is the use of part of the Ukrainian archives seized in Crimea by the occupying power, as well as the removal of books from Crimean libraries that do not fit into the Procrustean bed of the great Russian ideology, and bringing librarians to administrative responsibility for their use. for example, in Feodosia.
Ukrainian state and society guarding the cultural heritage in Crimea: the search for effective interaction
The Ukrainian authorities are taking measures to protect the cultural heritage in Crimea from the actions of the occupying state. Among the positive aspects of drawing the attention of the international community to this burning issue. For example, Ukraine, which Russia illegally does not allow to monitor the temporarily occupied territory, managed to initiate in 2018 a decision of the UNESCO Executive Board to start monitoring the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine). The monitors of this specialized UN agency have not yet managed to enter the temporarily occupied territory. Nevertheless, in September 2019, UNESCO Director-General O. Azule stated that the general deterioration of the situation on the Crimean peninsula in all areas of the organization’s competence, as well as, in particular, “the destructive actions of the Russian authorities in Crimea,which really threaten the preservation of universal cultural and historical value and authenticity of Ukrainian cultural heritage sites, including the site “Ancient city of Chersonesos Tavria and its choirs” – from the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Khan’s Palace in Bakhchisarai – from the Preliminary World Heritage List.
Ukraine has won a court of first instance in the Netherlands in the case of the so-called “Scythian gold”, ie valuable artifacts of antiquity and the Middle Ages from the State Museum Fund of Ukraine, which were taken from Crimean museums for display abroad before the war and which Russia wants to return temporarily occupied territory. Moreover, the aggressor state is hiding in this case for the alleged Ukrainian status of museum institutions, which it forced to re-register under its own legislation, ie made them illegitimate from the point of view of international law. In 2019, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed in first reading a law that will change the old management of Crimean museums, which has long gone beyond the legal field of Ukraine and cooperates with the occupying state, and legitimately appoint new directors. The latter, in our opinion,will be able to withdraw this lawsuit against Ukraine altogether.
Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are investigating cases of Russia’s misappropriation of Ukrainian cultural heritage in the temporarily occupied territory and damage to it. In March 2019, the sanctions mechanism against violators of legislation in this area finally began to work. However, the first sanctions list showed that the internal content of this mechanism needs to be improved, because many, indeed, large violators did not get to it.
However, the almost 6-year term of the occupation of Crimea demonstrates that the state authorities have not yet worked out a systemic and effective policy in the field of cultural heritage protection. This is largely, according to the expert community, due to the position of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. It was “the main body in the system of central executive bodies that ensures the formation and implementation of state policy in the fields of culture and arts, protection of cultural heritage.” Unfortunately, the previous leadership of the ministry failed or did not want to implement the policy of effective protection of Ukrainian cultural heritage in the occupied Crimea. This agency mostly responded to problems in this area and did not take a proactive position. And often reacted untimely.
This is demonstrated, in particular, by the lack of systematic monitoring of violations in the field of cultural heritage in Crimea (words promised to create a special Crimean center) and registers of cultural heritage in its territory (talks on this since 2015), the introduction of sanctions in in this area only in the fifth year of occupation (and it seems that the Ministry of the Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs deserves more credit for launching this mechanism), non-accession to the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The Ministry of Culture had the right of legislative initiative, but despite the statements of Minister E. Nyschuk about the need to join the Second Protocol, it did not initiate this issue.
Since the beginning of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, where the state is underdeveloped, civil society has been trying to “close the holes” on its own. This year, too, NGOs have constantly sought to keep the authorities’ attention to the protection of cultural heritage in the occupied Crimea. One of the most meaningful talks on this topic took place at the round table “Monuments of Crimea – the current state of cultural heritage of Ukraine”, which took place in May in Kiev at the initiative of the Crimean Center for Business and Cultural Cooperation “Ukrainian House”. Authorities, including the First Deputy Minister for TOT and IDPs, the expert community, and the public discussed a number of painful issues. One of the results of the event was an appeal to the authorities of Ukraine and the international community.The document states “a catastrophic situation with the protection of historical, cultural, architectural and archeological monuments in the Russian-occupied territory of Crimea and Sevastopol as a result of the actions of the aggressor state”, as well as its “policy of eroding the identity of indigenous Crimean Tatar people and ethnic Ukrainians ». In this connection, in particular, the Ukrainian authorities were invited to accede to the Second Protocol (1999) to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Property and the Council Convention Europe on Cultural Offenses (Nicosia, 2017),and strengthened the sanctions policy against violators of the right to protect cultural heritage and create a special body to monitor the state of cultural heritage in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea and Sevastopol, in particular, the creation of a register of Museums of Ukraine in these regions.
A more distant consequence of this round table was the issue of a special issue of the magazine “Sights of Ukraine: National Heritage”, devoted to the state of cultural heritage in the occupied Crimea. Its pages contain both the official monitoring of the Ministry of TOT and IDPs, as well as expert analysis and materials of journalists on acute problems. The presentation of the magazine in Ukrinform in the fall of 2019 turned into a professional discussion of the problems of cultural heritage preservation. By the way, the bitter experience of Crimea should encourage the authorities to take action, at least in the case of accounting for cultural values in the territories bordering Russia. The materials of the magazine were of interest not only to profile specialists and fans of the past, but also to law enforcement officers.
It is hoped that the sanctions list announced by the Government of Ukraine in autumn 2019, but not yet approved by the National Security and Defense Council, will include the most significant violators of the legislation on cultural heritage protection, as advised by experts at round tables.
Another important step of civil society in establishing cooperation with the authorities in the protection of cultural values was the presentation in December at a round table in Kiev by the Crimean Institute for Strategic Studies of Crimean Monuments and Museum Funds, as well as monitoring methods and international mechanisms for protecting cultural values. occupied territories. The expert society not only states the importance of the triad “systematic monitoring of the state of cultural heritage – its protection – punishment of violators”, but also provides the authorities with an information product for further processing.
According to many experts, public cooperation with the Ministry of Culture during the time of E. Nishchuk was complicated and far from effective. The leadership of the new Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has already announced its intention to establish the State Service for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, which has been repeatedly proposed by experts, and the State Inspectorate for Cultural Heritage. But will it be as dynamic in the Crimean problems?
As the Ministry of Culture did not respond to the round table “Monuments of Crimea – the current state of cultural heritage of Ukraine” (May 2019), the newspaper “Crimean Room” sent inquiries on these issues to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports .
Here is how the ex-acting commented on the received answer. Minister of Culture of Ukraine, Chairman of the Ukrainian ICOMOS Committee in 2007-2014 Mykola Yakovyna:
“The editorial office of the Crimean Svitlytsia newspaper addressed three letters dated October 25, 2019  with written requests to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine to provide information on a number of topical issues of preserving Ukraine’s cultural heritage, including monuments in the occupied territories. Although the Government approved the Regulations on the newly created Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine , the Krymska Svitlytsia received a letter signed by the Secretary of State of the liquidated Ministry of Culture RV Karandeeva, who is accordingly the chairman of the liquidation commission of the Ministry of Culture [3 ].
By the way, in terms of the issues raised by the Crimean Room, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine (ICMS) is, in accordance with the above Regulation, the main body in the system of central executive bodies that ensures the formation and implementation of state policy in culture and arts. language policy, protection of cultural heritage… ” with all the powers that previously belonged to the competence of the liquidated Ministry of Culture .
That is, even in some of the questions asked by the Ministry of Culture, no unambiguous (affirmative or negative) answer was received. And these are direct questions about the state of the subordinate sphere, normatively fixed for the Ministry of Culture, such as:
“ Is the state of cultural heritage monitored in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol ? ” “ Has a register of cultural heritage sites of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol been created? ” ,“ Has the register of cultural heritage sites of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol been created? ”,“ Are cultural heritage sites of local significance , in particular the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, included in the State Register of Immovable Monuments of Ukraine? ” ( Letter of the“ Crimean room ”dated October 25, 2019 №06 / 10-19);
“Are violations of the state of Ukraine’s cultural heritage monitored in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol ?” ( letter of the “Crimean room” dated 25.10.2019 №07 / 10-19);
” Whether initiated Ministry to the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the relevant committees) question on the need to accede to the Second Protocol (1999) of the Hague Convention of 1954″ On Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict ‘ ? ” , “Did the Ministry address the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (Baku, July 2019) to consider the issue of protection of Ukraine’s cultural heritage in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol?” (№09 / 10-19)
Preparing answers to such questions should not be burdensome for the bureaucratic machine of the state department, because according to modern standards of office work allows a simple search for documents according to standard formulas. The answer also does not require generalization of a wide range of documents, statistics or documentary data and comes down to a simple unambiguous thesis: does the agency exercise its powers in the assigned area ( yes or no, as in the questionnaire)?
It is surprising that routine bureaucratic action qualifies as “an appeal to which it is necessary to summarize information, conduct analytical data processing, create new information or create it in another way.” It is hoped that a detailed answer will still be provided within 30 days, as the head of the liquidation commission of the Ministry of Culture wished. The lack of direct unambiguous answers can only mean hiding from society the fact of inaction of officials and the institutional inability of the agency in this area at such a difficult time for the country. ”
PS This attitude towards public and media inquiries is a matter of concern. However, no matter how officials respond, the problem of protecting Ukraine’s cultural heritage in Crimea needs to be addressed and systemic cooperation between the Ukrainian authorities, Ukrainian civil society and the international community. And if we do not do everything to save this valuable layer of national and world culture, the descendants may not forgive us….
 According to the registration of outgoing correspondence of the Crimean Svitlytsia newspaper ська06 / 10-19, №07 / 10-19, №08 / 10-19 and №09 / 10-19.
 Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of October 16, 2019 № 885 “Some issues of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports”.
 Annex 2 to the order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of September 6, 2019 № 738-r.
 Regulations on the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, approved by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 3.09. 2014 № 495.