The Monastery of the Caves in Sviatohirsk, Ukraine, endured Russian airstrikes, shelling and sniper fire this spring. Credit...Dimitar Dilkoff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


On the 24th of February 2022, Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian Federation in a televised speech announcing a 'special military operation' against Ukraine. Putin castigated the West as an 'Empire of Lies' and drew upon Russian history and cultural heritage to justify his invasion of Eastern Ukraine. This article investigates how cultural memory has been manipulated in the war in Ukraine, and in the previously occupied Crimea. We argue that cultural heritage, memory, and museum collections have been removed and/or repurposed to legitimise the current invasion by linking it to a grand narrative of Russian power and the recovery of ancestral lands. We present case studies from the annexation of Crimea (2014), the war in Ukraine (2022 -), and make a brief comparison with the armed conflict in Syria (2011 – 2022).

To cite this article:  Nour A. Munawar & James Symonds (2023): Empires of Lies? The Political Uses of Cultural Heritage in War, The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice, DOI: 10.1080/17567505.2023.2205193

You can read the full paper Here