Thank you for your support.
Fortunately, Wikimedia Ukraine in general and WLM Ukraine team in particular do have
material resources. We are more lucky than many Ukrainian organisations by being able to
support our community, partners, staff and contractors owing to WMF funding. We understand
that this is a privilege, and we try to achieve the maximum possible impact in a difficult
Less fortunately, both Ukrainian Wikimedians and Ukrainian cultural heritage are at risk
due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and it is all but 'business as usual' for
First of all, we raised the topic of war impact in Ukraine back in the DEI discussions in
the first half of 2022. However, the final DEI report (
) does not even mention any of the words 'war', 'military',
'occupation' or similar. I think it was pretty obvious since February 2022 that
the war has a major destructive impact on Ukraine's cultural heritage, and the war is
a major obstacle both to diversity (as it's genocidal in nature and deliberately
exterminates cultural diversity), equity (huge difference in perception of a Wikimedian
with a camera close to the front line and in peaceful areas) and inclusion (it is harder
to engage people when a power station or telecommunications infrastructure in their city
is bombed). It could have been clear already at this stage that there is a major
Then we did reach out to the Wiki Loves Monuments international team in early November. We
tried to understand first if there was any decision already made or planned. The problem
was acknowledged but not solved. Then there was a parallel public discussion here:
, leading to the
We could have indeed organised some public campaign about it. However, we did not have
human resources to do it - we have a reduced capacity due to the war and associated power
blackouts in Ukraine - as we preferred to spend them on organising a successful photo
contest despite all war-related limitations and a tight timeline. We do appreciate though
public efforts by others to support us.
This is indeed a difficult situation, as this is the first case of a genocidal / colonial
invasion of a neighbouring country in the history of Wiki Loves Monuments. Luckily we do
not have precedents as such wars were not supposed to happen in the 21st century. But we
as the movement cannot say that doing nothing is the best option. The world of culture did
not do nothing in 2022, like it did not do nothing in 1992 with Yugoslavian invasion of
Croatia and Bosnia.
Personally I cannot imagine how to appreciate beautiful pictures of Russian cultural
heritage in 2022, even though I could do it myself in 2012. I cannot see how I would write
to a Ukrainian photographer something like 'Congratulations, your photo ranked very
high in Wiki Loves Monuments, right behind an amazing picture of a Russian church' in
2022, even though it would have inspired him to take better pictures next year in 2017. I
do not know any reasonable way to deliver a message like 'A photo of Moscow Kremlin
was rated as one of the most outstanding pictures of world's cultural heritage in
2022', as the only reaction is that this is a picture from a country organising a
genocide and deliberately destroying neighbours' cultural heritage. I am pretty sure I
am far from being the only one thinking so.
It is disappointing that despite all DEI efforts the impact of a genocidal war was not
really acknowledged, but I do hope that this can and will be changed. In any case the
Ukrainian community will remain involved in Wiki Loves Monuments, with hopes that next
year we will face less obstacles.
Mykola Kozlenko (NickK)
(member of WLM Ukraine team, writing in my personal capacity)
15 грудня 2022, 08:59:19, від "Željko Blaće" <zblace(a)mi2.hr>hr>:
Dear Olga and WLM Ukraine - your work is impressive and your efforts to bring visibility
and point to issues with WLM in 2022 are also.
I can empathize with the feeling one gets when others are benevolent to recognize and act
on what seems obvious *(as someone who experienced war aggression in all of my homelands,
first SFR Yugoslavia, then Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. I do agree that the WLM
2022 international team should not process Russian photos in a competitive way against
Ukrainians and I wish this was raised as an issue more publicly. WLM had issues also
before with inertia and no capacity and/or good will to recognize problems on national
levels. Here I agree with Peter on no good options but this is no excuse for not exploring
good-enough or better-than options!
I am hopeful that your work will sustain and that soon enough you will inform and inspire
systemic change in Wikimedia.
Meanwhile I hope WMF can practically support your work at least with material resources to
reduce some of the hardships.
In solidarity - Z. Blace
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