Stolen Art: FILM.UA Group Presents the First Episode of the New Digital Project With Irma Vitovska, Dedicated to Russian Crimes Against Ukrainian Cultural Heritage

• 01.12.2022

There is an ongoing war between Ukraine and “newly reconstructed” russian empire, which strategy for ages is terrorism, tyranny, and looting. Russia has been plundering and appropriating Ukrainian cultural heritage for centuries, and now this process is accelerating. Violating all the norms of international humanitarian law, russia openly steals Ukrainian cultural heritage. What it cannot steal, it tries to destroy. FILM.UA Group's Stolen Art project will tell about the crimes of Russians against Ukrainian cultural heritage. The first episode of the series tells about the world's largest collection of Scythian gold, stolen from Melitopol Museum of Local History at the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

For many centuries, the “great russian culture” relied on looting: the collections of museums in St. Petersburg and Moscow were filled with stolen exhibits from Ukrainian museums. Today, the expropriation of cultural treasures from Ukraine by the occupiers is particularly shocking. The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine has confirmed 552 episodes of Russian crimes against cultural heritage as of October 26, since the first day of the full-scale invasion. The damage is estimated at hundreds of millions of euros.

Stolen Art, new FILM.UA project, tells more about the russian offenses against the Ukrainian cultural heritage. Every episode reveals a story of a particular crime. 

“We continue to create topical content, telling about the russian appropriation of our famous persons, achievements, and treasures. The whole world should know about russian crimes. Now, they destroy, ruin, and loots both civilian homes and centers of our cultural heritage. In Stolen Art, we use facts and prove that culture is not outside of politics and should be a full-fledged component of information resistance,” – comments Olena Malkova, the producer of the project.

From the beginning of the full-scale aggression, russian army has emptied, damaged or completely destroyed a significant amount of Ukrainian museums. According to the Ministry of Culture, The occupiers looted almost 40 Ukrainian museums and exported unique artifacts. Among them are paintings by Arkhip Kuindzhi, Ivan Aivazovsky, Mykola Dubovskyi, Tetiana Yablonska, Mykola Hlushchenko, and Mykhailo Derehus. Unique ancient icons, coins, and other treasures were stolen. But these are only the most notable episodes. Beyond them are hundreds of other crimes against our cultural heritage and thousands of cases of vandalism and looting of museum collections that were committed both during the recent Russian-Ukrainian war and much earlier. Find out more about these and other incidents in Stolen Art project by FILM.UA.

Irma Vitovska, one of the outstanding representatives of the new generation of Ukrainian actors, became the presenter of the project. Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Irma has taken a significant place in the information resistance. 

“Ukrainians should remember all that the russians have “borrowed” for the whole time of their nation all the way from Muscovy and even earlier, all the things, stolen during the centuries, and especially in our times. For the most of us, it’s just mind-blowing. But I don’t see anything shocking. It was happening always, sometimes stopping for a bit, and then continuing again. So here and now we can see the real intentions of russians and their colonized nations, who are taking revenge. The most terrible revenge is the revenge of a slave who has the opportunity to feel at least a little bit like a master. And that's the entire story. I am not impressed by all this, but there’s again the same old question – why it does not impress the entire civilized world, which is still trying to find some sense in there,” – says Irma Vitovska.


The series consists of eight episodes. The short video format allows the viewer to learn about the scale of crimes committed against Ukrainian cultural heritage in a minute and a half. The international version of the video will have English titles and subtitles. 

The first episode of the series tells about the world's largest collection of Scythian gold, stolen from Melitopol Museum of Local History at the beginning of the full-scale invasion. According to experts, 1,841 museum items, including Scythian gold, were stolen. This incident is a continuation of the infamous Soviet story of replenishing the halls of the Hermitage and Tretyakov Museum with valuables, appropriated from Ukrainian cultural institutions. 

Watch the 1 episode: 


Executive producer: Yevgeniy Tretyak

Producers: Juliia Mordas, Olena Malkova

Scriptwriter: Leonora Pashchenko

Consultant: Maria Kvitka

Graphics: Yevhen Sannikov

Language: Ukrainian, English