Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine has caused tremendous damage to the country’s cultural heritage. According to the Culture Ministry, as of late October, the war had destroyed or damaged 171 monuments, 146 historical buildings, 58 major works of art and 44 museums.
The list also includes hundreds of libraries, theaters and residential buildings that were not registered as architectural monuments but had high historical value.
Experts note that a major problem in post-war restoration efforts is a shortage of professional restorers rather than a shortage of funds. Ukraine only has five experienced specialists left and no schools train students in this field.
Considering (according to official statistics) that approximately 1,000 cultural sites have been damaged to date, and the number continues to grow, there may simply be no one to restore them.
Nevertheless, restoration efforts continue. Ukrainian architect Mykola Vikharev has initiated a nationwide professional discussion on the most pressing issues of restoring Ukrainian cultural heritage.
In the near future, architects, builders, art restorers, officials and academics from all corners of Ukraine are set to gather at a round table to join efforts for restoring destroyed and damaged cultural sites. This will give due consideration to the problems and specifics of each particular region. Efforts are also expected to involve young specialists and students.
It should be noted that, even during the hard times of war, the Ukrainian cultural community has not stopped working for a minute on preserving cultural heritage, with everyone contributing in whatever way they can.
However, only a united team of professionals with the necessary experience and skills, a clear strategy and practicable action plan, can yield tangible results in efforts for preserving Ukraine’s culture and historical memory.