The exhibition that opened on Wednesday evening at the Vytautas Great War Museum exhibits unique 20th century. Ave. The exhibits of the Ukrainian army, which not only reveal the pages of interwar Ukrainian battles, but also have great significance for the soldiers fighting for Ukraine today.
The exhibition is still relevant today
The exhibition exhibits items from 1914 – 1923. period. According to the foundation that contributed to the exhibition “XXI a. Ukraine” founder and patron of the exhibition, Bogdan Gubski, although all the exhibits are from the beginning of the last century, but they are intended to honor not only the heroes of the last century.
“This is an exhibition dedicated to Ukrainians who fought for Ukraine’s independence from the Russian Empire a hundred years ago,” said B. Gubskis. “It is also intended for those who are now defending our country against Russian aggression.”
Liubow Volynetz, curator of the Ukrainian Museum and Library in Stamford, who came from the USA, shared about the significance of the exhibition in Lithuania in today’s context of the war: “When we celebrated the 30th anniversary of independence, it was one of the most beautiful achievements, the whole country was in bloom, everyone was happy and excited freedom But Russia did not like our freedom and they started to destroy it again. However, they are trying not only to destroy freedom, but also to completely deny the existence of Ukraine and Ukrainian culture. Such exhibitions, their exhibits, are evidence that we must preserve and tell the world about the fact that we desire and have always desired freedom.
I hope that people who will see this exhibition will have a better understanding of the ongoing Ukrainian struggle for independence. This exhibition more specifically illustrates the different struggles of the past century, the successes and failures experienced in the pursuit of freedom. It is important to talk about this because Russia is spreading propaganda. I hope that after this exhibition, people will be more interested in the history of Ukraine and spread the message that we are a separate country and have our own separate culture,” said the curator of the Museum and Library of Ukraine.
She was seconded by the former longtime director of the Ukrainian Museum in New York, Maria Shust. “Ukraine went through a lot of terrible things in the interwar period, and all those things are happening again now. It is very important for the world to know what is happening in Ukraine, it is important that Ukraine has its own history, culture, language and to see how important their freedom is to Ukrainians. This exhibition is exceptionally important, because it is exhibited not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe,” said M.Shust.
Ukraine’s debut in the European Union
Representatives of both Ukrainian and Lithuanian institutions emphasize that this is the first exhibition of exhibits organized by a country defending itself from Russia after the country was granted the status of a candidate for the European Union.
Director of the Memorial Complex of the National Museum of Ukrainian History in the Second World War Yuriy Shevchuk told the portal lrytas.lt said that “this event is very important, because it is the first exhibition of the Ukrainian museum in Europe, when Ukraine is a candidate for the European Union. It was Ingrida Šimonytė’s initiative and we are very grateful for her and for supporting our state, nation and museum in difficult times.”
“We want to show that we are part of the European cultural field,” said the head of the museum. – We know that the war is not only taking place on the battlefield, but also on smartphones and social networks. We understand that this is not only a military conflict, but also a struggle for democratic and cultural values.”
The director of the museum, Rita Malinauskienė, said that the exhibits of the exhibition arrived in Lithuania exactly at the time when the decision was made regarding Ukraine’s candidate status.
Unique exhibition exhibits
The exhibition focuses on the 20th century. Ave. For the history of Ukrainian uniforms. According to J. Ševčiuk, director of the memorial complex of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War, the choice to display uniforms was not accidental.
“This exhibition was prepared and opened to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. A nation’s independence rests on military readiness and a strong military, so we want to share the stories and traditions of our military. It is difficult to show all aspects of our struggle in one museum exhibition, but many aspects of our history can be revealed through the uniforms and the symbols we used on the uniforms,” J. Ševčiukas taught.
More about the exhibits on the portal lrytas.lt said Lina Kasparaitė-Balaišė, head of the Department of Military History of VMU War Museum and coordinator of the exhibition in Lithuania.
“The exhibition presents at least 250 museum treasures that came from Ukraine and the USA. The largest part reached us from across the Atlantic, that is, the exhibits belonging to the institutions of the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States. A significant number of exhibits came from 9 Ukrainian museums and two archives, so the exhibits are diverse. The exhibition itself is about the uniforms of Ukrainian soldiers, they are presented through the story of the people who wore those uniforms, the soldiers who fought for the freedom of Ukraine”, said L.Kasparaitė-Balaišė.
The curator of the exhibition singled out an exhibit that can be seen for the first time: “A very interesting exhibit presented in the exhibition is the watercolor drawings of an interwar artist, an officer who fought for the independence of Ukraine. The whole album consists of one and a half hundred drawings, some of which came from America, and some from Ukraine, which have been combined into one. After the Second World War, the album was torn up and in this exhibition we put it together.”
The exhibition aims to pay tribute to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the main guarantor of Ukraine’s independence, emphasizing the connection between the modern generation of defenders of Ukraine and those who fought in 1917-1921. In the struggle for independence of Ukraine.
The international exhibition “Forever Free Ukraine!” can be visited at the Vytautas Great War Museum from Thursday at 10 a.m.