Dear colleagues and partners, friends!
This morning, on February 24, Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. Explosions are heard in many cities of Ukraine, and the enemy’s tanks and heavy artillery crossed the Ukrainian border from the north, the south, and the east. There already are casualties among Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, including children.
We should be preparing now the Book Arsenal to be held in May, exhibitions, and cross-sectoral projects — instead our team focuses the efforts to ensure the safety of our staff, our families, as well as to guard our collection, museum objects (paintings, graphics, fine art), including the artworks by Malevych, Yermylov, Bohomazov, Petrytskyi, Zaretskyi, etc., works of modern art, archaeological finds, and the Old Arsenal building, which is a historical and architectural monument of national importance.
By escalating their 8-year-long aggression with these horrid and disgusting actions against Ukraine, by invading the territory of Ukraine, Russia is attacking the basic, fundamental principles of international peace and security, the pillars of the UN, the very existence of the Ukrainian state. This is a war in the centre of Europe, and this war is not just ours, this is a war against all democratic states — the whole civilized world.
At this time, we need your solidarity and support more than ever. Today’s invasion has the potential of becoming bigger and even deadlier than anything we have seen since World War II. All this will definitely have a global impact on the whole world and very likely — for generations to come.
Everyone of you can help and support us in the following ways:
- Including the information about an ongoing Russian war in Ukraine in your public talks and speeches — during art and literature events, festivals, book fairs, exhibitions; the war that already became a war against the whole civilized world, free thought, democratic values and truth.
- Initiating joint public statements from civil organizations, institutions, and industry associations — writers, publishers, and booksellers, artists and museums; sharing information on the war and the current situation in social media with the hashtag #StandWithUkraine, providing truthful commentaries to international media.
- Sharing the information on human rights and lives of Kremlin’s Ukrainian political prisoners with a hashtag #SolidarityWords. Currently, 127 Ukrainian citizens, including 89 Crimean Tatars, stay in prisons or under house arrest in Russia and temporarily occupied Crimea — for political reasons. Moreover, at least 300 Ukrainians are imprisoned for their identity and disagreement with Russian occupation in the territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
- We kindly ask you in these challenging days to share publicly the successful stories of cooperation with Ukraine, considering that in recent years our country achieved essential progress in arts and literature, cultural diplomacy, sharing and promoting European values. We would like to save in future this important vector and defend the positive milestones that we have mutually achieved.
- If you show your solidarity with Ukraine, support peace and drive attention of your fellow citizens, media and politicians by using the facades of your offices and other available spaces for artistic and symbolic actions showing the colours of Ukrainian flag.
- Highlighting contemporary Ukrainian art and discussing the books of modern writers, who wrote and continue writing about the war in Ukraine, which has been going on for 8 years. On our part, as a leading art institution we are eager to provide you with all the information we have.
The mission of Mystetskyi Arsenal and one of its main projects — the Book Arsenal Festival is to create such interactions between people, communities, and institutions that empower an individual and society. This mission is clearly not about aggression or its escalation, it is not about the forces of evil and destruction either. We, Ukrainians, are a peace-loving nation, but we will defend our land, our families, and our right to freedom and independence. We will also defend our European choice.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine are in full combat readiness and resisting the invaders as best as possible and even more! Over a dozen of Russian fighter jets, tanks, and helicopters are already shot down. With regard to civilians, we are trying to remain calm and do everything that the civilian population needs to be prepared for during warfare.
The Book Arsenal team has been working hard to organize the 11th Book Arsenal Festival in May 2022. In recent months, we have communicated with many of you, inviting guests to participate in the festival program, to take part in business negotiations, and to visit our peaceful, beautiful city of Kyiv this spring.
Despite the invasion is currently in full force, , we believe above all that our Armed Forces along with the support of everyone involved — will stop the enemy and we will be able to meet in Kyiv this spring — to acknowledge and appreciate the principles of humanism, freedom, and critical thinking during the events together with you.
International Book Arsenal Festival,