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"Our oral histories are the main source of truth": a discussion on "War through the eyes of civilians" with the participation of the Museum of Civilian Voices by Rinat Akhmetov Foundation


The Readeat bookstore in Kyiv hosted a conversation on the topic "War through the Eyes of Civilians: Yevhen Polozhyi about the book The Final Episode and Natalia Yemchenko about the Museum of Civilian Voices by Rinat Akhmetov Foundation." The discussion was about covering war stories through various forms: transferring people's stories into fiction, documenting and creating archives to preserve testimonies for future generations and historical memory.

Natalia Yemchenko, Director of Public Relations and Communications at System Capital Management, member of the Supervisory Boards of Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, Mariupol Reborn and Heart of Azovstal, spoke about the importance of Ukrainians documenting their own stories:

"We are the nodes that can still go back three generations and learn the history of these generations, and we can tell our story, preserve our history, what is happening to us now, for another three generations. Our oral histories are the main source of truth. Because great history, great memory is still a certain interpretation. For me, the main point of documenting our own stories is for Ukrainians to regain the ability to remember, and the culture of communicative, or personal, memory."

There is an opinion that it is important to create literature about the war after the events have been reflected upon. Yevhen Polozhyi, a writer and journalist, disagrees.

"I write during the war, even though I did not fight. For example, I wrote the novel Ilovaysk based on the testimonies of participants in the events, military, volunteers, and civilians. Everyone I wrote about and people who read it said it was a very important book. If you get information everywhere, record people's testimonies, why can't you do that? There are tens of thousands of stories from Mariupol, which I have read a lot, including on the pages of the Museum of Civilian Voices . These are honest, direct testimonies of people about crimes. So I can't understand why it is impossible to write about it."

The discussion was moderated by Olena Danylina, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor of the Department of International Journalism at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv Metropolitan University, trainer of educational programmes, writer, fairy tale therapist.

The Museum of Civilian Voices by Rinat Akhmetov Foundation is the largest project in the world and in Ukraine in terms of preserving data about the war in Ukraine. Since 2014, it has accumulated almost 110,000 living stories and first-hand accounts.

Tell your story about what you experienced during the war on the museum's portal or on the Foundation's free hotline 0 (800) 509 001