The first museum of war in Donbas opens in Dnipro [PHOTOS]

History, Ukraine, War in the Donbas

About 2000 artifacts in 3 halls will tell the history of the Donbas war in the first Ukrainian museum of the Anti-Terrorist Operation. It opened in Dnipro, a city in central Ukraine which was under threat of Russian intervention after the Euromaidan revolution as well as Crimea and Donbas, but withstood and became an eastern outpost of Ukraine’s independence.

Read also: Meet the people behind Novorossiya’s grassroots defeat

The full name of the museum is “The Civilian Endeavor of the People of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.”

The military conflict in Donbas involves not only soldiers and displaced persons. It also includes thousands of volunteers, doctors, and families of those who went to war and children who were one of the main reasons for Ukrainians to stand up for their country. All these people have been honored in the museum.

Dnipro is 250 km away from the war zone in Donbas

“Dnipropetrovsk Oblast citizens were among the first who united and started to defend the independence of the Fatherland. Some went to the frontline as volunteer soldiers, some became [civilian] volunteers, some left their hospitals to treat soldiers on the front line. The exposition of the ATO Museum is devoted to a feat of every citizen of the oblast . The exhibition preserves the history of victories and the pain of losses. It is about all of us,” said the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Council Valentyn Reznichenko.

Read also: Two years of war in Donbas through the lens of one hospital

The artifacts are placed in 3 halls.

The first one contains different items of the citizens of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast who has made a contribution to defending Ukraine. There are medical instruments, chaplains clothing, volunteers chevrons, posters of volunteer’s events, war correspondent’s photos and children’s drawings.

No one was forgotten in this exposition. Nor soldiers, neither volunteers and doctors. It has to be so. Ukrainians should see that it were just ordinary citizens as they are – with open hearts and kind eyes – who fought,” expressed his thoughts Yevhen Mezhevikin, the commander of a tank battalion and a Hero of Ukraine.

The photos of half of a thousand of fallen heroes are placed in the second hall. There are also the things they loved – letters from their loved ones to the frontline, books, chess, and icons.

“I gave my husband’s body armor and his personal helmet hit by an enemy bullet to the museum. These items are dear to me, but I do not regret that I donated them. People have to see the price of peace in our home. I will come to the museum with my son. He knows that his father is a hero,” said Svitlana Guba, the wife of a soldier who was killed in the ATO.

The third hall is a multimedia one. It moves you directly to the events in Donbas. For that the organizers prepared panoramic documentaries which are shown on four walls.

When I look at the black walls which are covered by the names of dead, I repeat to myself for many times: ‘they used to be alive’. All of them were alive. Every particular life, whole personal profiles, hundreds of papers in the state agencies confirm that they really existed. All of it now is a keepsake,” the soldier Masi Nayem shared his thoughts.

Also the museum contains the outside exposition which was opened last year. So far the museum doesn’t have its own premises. Now it is located in the building of Yavornytskyi Historical Museum.

Over two and a half years, the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine in Donbas has taken about 10 thousand lives, including 3 thousand soldiers and at least 68 children. Despite the Minsk Agreements which are called to settle the situation, shelling in the conflict zone is ongoing. So it’s likely that the exposition devoted to this war will expand. A bitter fact is that at some historical museums in Ukraine the artifacts devoted to the conflict in Donbas laid next to the ones devoted to the World War II. During 1941-1945, Ukrainian and Russian soldiers were fighting against Nazi Germany together. More than 70 years later, they are fighting against each other.

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Weapons and ammunition Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Weapons and ammunition Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

A uniform Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

A uniform Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Photo: gorod.dp.ua

Photo: gorod.dp.ua

A guardian from children Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

A guardian from children Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

A chaplain's clothing Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

A chaplain’s clothing Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Medical instruments Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Medical instruments Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

The hall devoted to a feat of all citizens of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

The hall devoted to the feat of all citizens of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Exsposition with photos of fallen heroes Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Exposition with photos of fallen heroes Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Personal stuff of soldiers Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Personal stuff of soldiers Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Names of fallen heroes on 4 walls Photo: Facebook of Masi Nayyem

Names of fallen heroes on 4 walls Photo: Facebook of Masi Nayyem

Personal stuff of soldiers Photo: gorod.dp.ua

Personal stuff of soldiers Photo: gorod.dp.ua

Demaged during explosions uniform of a soldier Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

The uniform of a soldier, damaged in explosions. Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Svitlana Guba and her son Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Svitlana Guba and her son Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Svitlana Guba, the the wife of a fallen hero gave his body armor and a helmet to the museum Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Svitlana Guba, the the wife of a fallen hero gave his body armor and a helmet to the museum Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Multimedia hall of the museum Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Multimedia hall of the museum Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Yevhen Mezhevikin, the commander of a tank battalion and a Hero of Ukraine Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Yevhen Mezhevikin, the commander of a tank battalion and a Hero of Ukraine Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Outside exposition Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

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Caption: Father, come back Photo: adm.dp.gov.ua

Edited by: Alya Shandra

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  • Dirk Smith

    Wow.

  • Randolph Carter

    The saying “all gave some – some gave all” is particularly appropriate here. These people weren’t fighting in some abstract geopolitical conflict in some part of the world with an unpronounceable name. They were fighting for their families, their villages, their country. They were fighting against a sociopath/megalomaniac who stole massive amounts of money, had no problem killing his own people and drove his country into third-world status just to satisfy his own greed and lust for power. They were fighting so they, their sons and daughters, their grandchildren wouldn’t have to grow up and live under leaders who are simply evil: Stalin, Beria, Putin.

    My girlfriend in Lugansk has told me that she has just seen too much death. How must it feel to walk past the body of that nice old lady who helped you in the market yesterday? The little kid whose family shared dinner with you occasionally? When the fighting was going on in Lugansk, I used to IM her to talk. She needed to talk. But she also needed to put out all the lights and draw shades and curtains. When I asked why, she replied: “Snipers”.

    She stayed in Lugansk because her mother stayed, and her mom stayed because Lugansk is her homeland and she’s damned if she’s going to give it up to some thug with a gun. If you checked her lineage, her family probably went back decades or even centuries. Nobody was going to take her heritage.

    And I ask myself as an overweight, 58-year old man: would I have the courage to pick up a gun and fight, knowing that I would basically be cannon fodder? But in being cannon fodder, I might allow a 23-year old man with fighting skills to live a little longer, maybe to win the battle.

    Such are the questions we ask ourselves in the middle of the night when all else is quiet: do I have the courage and honor to do what these brave men and women are doing and have done? And regardless of the answer, we also ask ourselves: how can I honor them?

    • Brent

      I think we can honor what they have sacrificed by never giving up what support we can give to them and never turning a blind eye to their fight like so many others have done who are willing to sell out Ukraine and its brave soldiers to “do business” with its aggressor. I know it’s not nearly as much as the brave who fight against the invaders, but at least they are not forgotten.

      I hope Ukraine finds peace again and the independence it has long fought for and so many times been rippped away from it. I also hope you and your lady find peace and happiness. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b40738febb1e8d41106f4562d55f2993976df3b7d43eb474d3e80065265b2f6e.jpg

    • Alex George

      You are doing well by supporting your friends and campaigning on-line.

      There are many in their 30s and 40s fighting for Ukraine, sometimes even older, but they are mostly veterans, men and women who learned at an early age how to survive in modern warfare.

      Everything that each of us do is a contribution.

      • Randolph Carter

        Thank you, Brent and Alex – this whole war has been a different experience for me in a lot of ways. In one conversation, my frustrated girlfriend said, “You just don’t understand what it’s like here!”

        I thought for a bit and told her she was right – when I go to the store, I buy gas at $2.35/gal instead of 30 HRV/gal. I drive on well-maintained roads. Nobody is shooting at me. I walk into a well-stocked store, pick what I want, come out and don’t have to bribe a cop or carry papers. If my car has problems, I take it to a mechanic. If I’m sick, I see a board-certified doctor in a hospital that has the usual number of patients; they are not triaging soldiers coming back from war. I don’t have invaders from another country killing my people. I have a job. I dislike Trump, but it’s a visceral reaction; he hasn’t been actively raiding my country’s wealth with his stooges (although I hate his, and his administration’s, close ties with Putin). My country has allies who would help us in times of trouble, not slimy world leaders who keep changing the subject.

        She was right – I have a lot to understand about daily life in Ukraine, and a lot to be grateful for.

  • Alex George

    Wow – very moving.

    And so apt that it is in Dnipro – many people from this eastern Ukrainian city made great sacrifices to support the defence against Russian aggression.

  • http://www.aftinc.net Jeff Buhrt

    It has now been a year since I visited the Donbass (Donbas) Museum. I was very touched by just how recent the events were and how close my teams were.

    https://goo.gl/maps/ZogqK9aNh7D2 Almost 1.8M displaced

    https://goo.gl/maps/2nNbtHR7mMA2 Walls of soldiers who gave their lives

    https://goo.gl/maps/VGmYWWJrxXK2 Statue outside the museum

    https://goo.gl/maps/Vzsx7LzHeCR2 No anti-tank tubes in the gift shop though…