One, two, three, four, five… I go looking… Familiar words of different children's voices are heard almost in every yard.
The fascinating game “Hide-and-Seek” starts with these words. Once we used to play it, and now our children and grandchildren play...
But everything changes when the war begins at home.
In the twentieth century the humankind has survived two bloody armed conflicts and it would seem to receive immunity from the disease of militarism. Moreover, the mischief happened. In the twenty-first century the Russian-Ukrainian war began in the center of Europe...
One, two, three, four, five… I go looking…
The voice is not the same, not childish, but horrible – metallic, strident. This is the voice of war that starts hunting for its victims, for the most weakest – children. More than 20,000 Ukrainian children stayed living under enemy fire in Donbas. They are the hostages of adult games and continue playing the “game” intuitively in the occupied territories, in the “gray zone” and in the neighboring settlements. They try to escape from the deadly bullets and shell splinters. In the labyrinths of consciousness, they seek a hiding place from pain after losing loved ones and their homes.
The museum installation leads the way through this labyrinth. It looks like an empty and destroyed house that can no longer protect from danger and give neither warmth nor comfort.
Its hiding places with the feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are filled with endless childish pain. Not every adult will endure it. The personal stories collected by the museum scientists tell about it. Look! Listen! And let everyone ask themselves: “What have we done to turn back war-torn childhood in our future?”
The Ukrainian East ... A painful wound that hurts daily and nightly with mourning for the dead ones, makes us search for the answer to the question: was it possible to prevent disaster? How to distinguish who are ours and who are strangers and (not) strangers in conditions of a hybrid war? And how, without losing ours, to get victory in it?
“Ukrainian East”... This is the name of the museum project which uses authentic materials to tell about the war that broke out in the center of Europe in the 21st century.
The aggression of the Russian Federation against the state of Ukraine, which arose on the ruins of the Soviet empire, exercising the sovereign right to self-determination provided for by the UN Charter, began with the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Subsequently, the flames of the conflict spilled over to Donbas, where the Russian-Ukrainian war has been lasting for more than five years. It took lives of about 13 thousand military personnel and civilians, broke families, destroyed many infrastructure sites and caused enmity between the two peoples who were destined to be neighbors.
All these years, the museum team follows the events in the east of Ukraine, collects the authentic materials related to them in all regions of the country, including the area of fighting, creates thematic exhibitions and conducts educational and communication activities. During this time, the fund collection has been replenished with more than 10 thousand museum objects, which are the evidences of the valor and sacrifice of Ukrainian soldiers who protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state in its eastern territories. At the same time, they reveal the realities of the lives of civilians who are suffering, surviving, struggling, as well as socio-humanitarian problems caused by hostilities and temporary occupation. The museum project “Ukrainian East” is an exhibition reminding to our fellow citizens that there is war in the country and every minute it can take one’s life. It is also exhibition warning the whole global community, because who will become the next victim of the aggressor?..
Factual and statistical information for the preparation of the exhibition is taken from the official sites of the state institutions: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Security Service of Ukraine, National Guard of Ukraine, Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine, Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, National Institute for Strategic Studies, Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Research named after Alexander Razumkov as well as official correspondence and publications: White Book of Antiterrorist Operation in the East of Ukraine (2014 – 2016). – K., 2017; Surviving Hell: Testimonies of Victims on Places of Illegal Detention in Donbas. – K., 2015 and others.
Photo: Ruslan Borovyk, Artem Hetman, Maksym Dondiuk, Oleksandr Klymenko, Stanislav Kozliuk, Serhii Loiko, Yefrem Lukatskyi, Anton Naumliuk, Pavlo Netosov, Maks Rokotanskyi, Anatolii Stepanov.