Natalka Diachenko


Documenting Ukraine Grants

Ukrainian Socialist Rural

During the Russian full-scale military invasion, the war on Ukraine’s Soviet-era heritage has intensified. As the Russian Federation actively uses Soviet narratives in their propaganda, irritation at and hatred of any manifestations of Sovietness are growing in Ukraine. Unfortunately, emotional tensions in society often cloud the fact that Ukrainian Soviet art was created by Ukrainian artists, whose cultural heritage is part of Ukraine’s national heritage. When the time comes to rebuild cities destroyed by Russian forces, they will be rebuilt from scratch. Many settlements that appeared during the Soviet period will lose their historical identity. 
The domestic culture of the Ukrainian Soviet village in the second half of the twentieth century was presented exclusively in the National Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine. In 1979, the exhibition "Ukrainian village of the 60s and 70s of the XX century" appeared here, with 25 representative architectural samples from each region, supplemented by appropriate interiors with local characteristics. At the time the exhibition was created, it was rather an idealistic vision of the future––an agricultural utopia, which after the fact acquired signs of reality. And now this exposition really represents a typical modern Ukrainian bucolic. 
At the end of February of 2022, during the emergency evacuation of the museum collections, the exposition of the socialist village was partially dismantled. After the end of the war, it will not be restored in full measure for various reasons. Many buildings were already dilapidated because funds were not allocated for their restoration and upkeep, due to the unpopular theme of this exposition; in the future, the Sovietness of this exposition will probably lead to its further liquidation or transformation. 
This project will lead to a catalog with documentation and description of the former exposition of the socialist village of the National Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine, which we documented before and during the dismantling. In undertaking this project, we plan to preserve a significant and extremely important layer of the unique household culture of the twentieth century, as the physical manifestations of this culture are being destroyed by Russian bombs and the memory of it is being stolen by Russian propaganda.

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