Russia's crimes

PACE Committee recognizes erasure of Ukraine’s cultural identity as an element of Russian genocide


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The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) Culture Committee has recognized the erasure of Ukrainian cultural identity as a tool of Russia’s war against Ukraine and part of a genocide policy aimed at destroying the Ukrainian nation, according to Evgenia Kravchuk, a Ukrainian delegation PACE member.


PACE will consider adopting a resolution at its June session, which includes the following key provisions: 


  • Ensuring full compensation for damages based on international law and guaranteeing the non-recurrence of destruction.
  • Raising awareness about how propaganda, colonial, and neo-colonial practices can create grounds for violations of international law, particularly regarding cultural heritage.
  • Imposing sanctions against all individuals and entities that carry out or facilitate the illegal transfer or trade of artifacts, conduct illegal excavations, or use artifacts for their purposes (such as exhibitions, auctions, and academic publications), and ensuring that relevant authorities and state institutions are held accountable.


The resolution asserts that Russia employs cultural “cleansing” as a weapon of war to deny the existence of another cultural identity and erase historical roots, values, heritage, literature, traditions, and language. PACE recognizes these actions as war crimes and crimes against humanity. 


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According to Evgenia Kravchuk, these actions constitute a campaign of genocide, demonstrating a specific intent to destroy the Ukrainian nation or a significant part of it, particularly through the destruction of Ukrainian identity and culture. In her address to PACE, Evgenia Kravchuk cited a book by Volodymyr Vakulenko to illustrate her point.


“Given that PACE is a statutory and consultative body of the Council of Europe, the PACE resolution is inherently a political document that does not carry mandatory legal consequences,” commented Taras Svyryd, a lawyer and advocate for the communication agency UK comms. “However, in my view, it represents a significant diplomatic triumph, as it may be incorporated into future strategies for seeking compensation for damages.” 


Main image: BBC


Copy editing: Terra Friedman King