Tuesday, 10 May 2022

New Interview With Melitopol Museum Director

This really needs reading, especially by those who are trying to build a huge case on organized Russian "looting to order" using this case as a base: Ghanna Mamonova, Dmytro Rayevskyi, Tetyana Lohvynenko, '"The Ministry of Culture has never contacted me.” Director of Melitopol Museum Lieila Ibrahimova tells about how the Russians stole Scythian gold, about captivity, interrogations, and local collaborators babel.ua, 6 may 2022

Lieila Ibrahimova is the director of the Melitopol Museum of Local Lore, a member of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast Council from the 'European Solidarity' party, and a Crimean Tatar activist. She was the first to be abducted by the Russian military in Melitopol. On March 10, they broke into her home and took her away for questioning. On the same day, talks between the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov took place in Turkey. At the press conference, Lavrov was asked about Ibrahimovaʼs abduction. He said it was a fake, and she was released the same day. Ibrahimova agreed to her first interview since the start of the war because the Russian military stole a collection of Scythian gold and jewelry of Hunnic and Sarmatian cultures from the museum she has been running for 11 years. She was surprised by the reaction to these events by the Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko, the head of the Zaporizhzhia Military Civil Administration Oleksandr Starukh, and other relevant officials, who said that the museum had only copies of valuable exhibits, not the originals. Lieila Ibrahimova told Babel what happened when she was in captivity, about how she buried museum gold in the basement, and why she blames the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy for the fact that the museumʼs collection is now stolen.
There is also something on the new director appointed by the Russian occupying forces:
a collaborator Yevhen Horlachov [...] On April 20, they "appointed" him [as a museum director]. He has been visiting us since childhood, he knows every corner of the museum. He was engaged in the reconstruction of [the museum section about] the battles around Melitopol during World War II. He was a soldier of the Ukrainian National Guard, in 2014 he served in the anti-terrorist operation [on Donbas], but then somehow disappeared, and we didnʼt see him. In general, I thought that they would call the director, that was there during Soviet times. She has “Soviet brains”. But Horlachov was dragged because he is an ally of our former MP Yevhen Balytskyi, who actually brought orcs to Melitopol and cooperates with them. After his appointment, Horlachov called the museum staff and invited them to work, but everyone refused.

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