Babyn Yar Memorial Center is funded by Russian billionaires of the First of December Group
"We believe that the project, which involves the money of Russian billionaires, during the war that Russia is waging against Ukraine, cannot be considered impartial," the appeal says.
Public opinion leaders note that the culture and politics of memory are an integral part of the sovereignty and subjectivity of Ukraine. Sovereignty and subjectivity depend not only on how well a country's borders are protected but also on whether it is capable of protecting its cultural and information space.
As noted, in addition to the project "Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center" in Ukraine, the project of the concept of integrated memorialization of Babyn Yar began in August 2015, which was prepared by Ukrainian historians on behalf of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. It should be the center of memorialization of the tragedies of World War II, in particular the Babyn Yar tragedy and other tragic events of the Holocaust in Ukraine, public opinion leaders believe.
"The memory of the tragedy cannot be privatized. Therefore, we consider the implementation of a private project that involves the money of Russian billionaires, without control from the state, the Jewish community in Ukraine, the Ukrainian humanitarian and historical environment, a violation of the cultural and historical subjectivity of Ukraine - just as the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and the war in the Donbas are violations of its political sovereignty," the appeal says.
Its authors remind that today Ukraine is a target not only of the military aggression but also of the information aggression on the part of the Russian Federation.
"Ukraine, like every sovereign state, cannot allow anyone else – and even more so the aggressor state or business associated with the aggressor state – to interfere in its sovereignty and decide instead what borders it should have, what constitution to adopt, what political and administrative structure it will have and what cultural and historical memory it will form," the participants of the First of December Initiative Group note.
The appeal was signed by: Oleksandra Hnatyuk, Volodymyr Yermolenko, Yevhen Zakharov, Iosif Zisels, Igor Kozlovskyy, Myroslav Marynovych, Igor Yukhnovsky, Yaroslav Yatskiv.
As reported, in May 2020, an appeal of the Ukrainian cultural and scientific community regarding the memorialization of Babyn Yar was released. It was signed by more than 750 people, including well-known human rights defenders, writers, historians, politicians, diplomats, philosophers, teachers, scientists, journalists, artists, and public figures. It also drew attention to the fact that the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center was created "on the initiative and at the expense of Russian businessmen," and this is an alarming fact during Russia's military and hybrid aggression against Ukraine.
On September 3, 2020, an appeal of Ukrainian Jews to civil society in Ukraine was published. The signatories of the letter drew the attention of the Ukrainian public to the dangers associated with the implementation of the private project "Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center".