Conflict journalism, Donbass, Military Journalism, Photography, Russia, Ukrainian Punitive Battalions, War Photography

“Heroes of the ATO” in Moscow

Original: Colonel Cassad
Translated by Alexander Fedotov / Edited by Tiago de Carvalho


An exhibition displaying photographs of troops from the Donbas Battalion opened in Moscow on September 28:


The Centre of Moscow Became a Venue for Terrorist Propaganda


An exhibition that celebrates Ukrainian Nazis has opened at the Sakharov Centre.

Photos by Belarusian photographer Alexander Vasyukovich are exhibited in the heart of Moscow. The author presents the Ukrainian soldiers as real heroes—as “fighters against Russian aggression”. Yes, this is more disturbing than an old paedophile exhibiting child pornography. The exhibition has already caused a public outcry despite the fact that it has only just opened.

The author of the project is Alexander Vasyukovich, the winner of the Direct View 2016 contest. He first travelled to the Ukraine with the intention of glorifying the Maidan protests, and later decided to photograph soldiers of the punitive battalions. In the photographs on display at the Sakharov Centre, Ukrainian Nazis smile broadly at the camera and are portrayed as friendly lads; not at all who they are—they are murderers and rapists of women and children in the Donbass. This Belarusian photographer does not hide his sympathetic views towards the villains.


The very gunmen who appear in Vasyukovich’s photographs shell Donetsk, Gorlovka, Yasinovataya and other cities every day. Neither peace agreements nor comparable truces has ever stopped them. They are the very people whose demand is to destroy the DPR and the LPR. For them Bandera is a hero, while all that is Russian is subject to extermination. Nonetheless, this does not prevent the photographer from honouring them as his heroes.

“Many of those who were on Maidan volunteered to go to war. I decided to make my project about these particular people. I asked these heroes different questions: Who are they, where are they from, what do they do for a living, were they on Maidan and why did they decide to go to war?”

According to political analyst, Fyodor Biryukov, the exhibition violates the laws of the Russian Federation, and can in fact be considered as propaganda used for terrorism. Biryukov stresses that those Ukrainian combat troops who fight in the Donbass against civilians are no different from Daesh, which is proscribed in Russia. If Ukrainian murderers are currently glorified at the Sakharov Centre, then it is also possible that in the future someone could decide to exhibit photographs of Islamic militants there.

Meanwhile, the photographer writes on his facebook page:

An exhibition of the winners of Direct Look 2016 photo-contest opens in Moscow. There have already been calls to deal with the exhibition in the same manner as the infamous ‘paedophile’ one at the Lumière Brothers Centre of Photography, so that will be fun.

It is difficult to understand Vasyukovich’s “fun.” We wish he had tried, for example, to organise a photo exhibition in Kiev, displaying pictures by Donetsk based reporters of people living under shelling and attacks by the Ukrainian fascists.

The exhibition (which in itself is pure trash) has not been running for a long time. Its “exhibits” have already, as is traditional, been vandalised with paint.

A not-indifferent individual (Anton Belikov, PhD) came and defaced it with spray-paint as an expression of his opinion of it. The exhibition is currently sealed.

Here is the link to the video about a concerned citizen visiting the exhibition.

Once again, it can be said that the state is not fulfilling its basic responsibilities. The Investigative Committee of Russia opened a criminal case against the leadership of the Donbas Battalion, with intent to charge them with war crimes in the Donbass. The opening of such an exhibition is just as absurd as opening an exhibition in Moscow to celebrate the associates of Doku Umarov or Khattab [commanders of Islamist groups in Chechnya ed.]. As a result, ordinary citizens are forced to take matters into their hands. The memorial plaque to Mannerheim, the paedophile exhibition, promoting the accomplices of Semyon Semenchenko; the search for an all-time low continues.

Read Interview with Activist Anton Belikov here


3 thoughts on ““Heroes of the ATO” in Moscow

  1. If Vasyukovich documented Maidan, and came away promoting the standard US/EU line on it, then he is not deceived, he is just a liar. It reminds me of what has gone on in the west, where all kinds of subversive filth is allowed to be deployed against the public. In this case the lies are particularly disturbing though, in that those being eliminated in what is now East Ukraine (much of it once part of Russia) are largely ethnically Russian. If Russia won’t take a firm line on this type of deceptive propaganda, the sort of propaganda that eats at the soul, then who will?

    At least that man who came in there and painted over some of the propaganda loved his people enough to defend them. I notice that the propagandists wanted to “sit down” and “dialogue”. There is no point in dialoguing with people committed to deceiving, people very obviously on a state payroll. People who are trained experts in lies, deception and manipulation. It became apparent that even the “sit down and dialogue” was a deception, with guys beginning to surround the guy as he sat down. So much for their ridiculous “dialogue”.

    The fact that this exhibition is allowed to continue makes one wonder if those running Russia approve of it. Certainly, Russia’s efforts to expose the truth about Maidan, the Maidan massacre, and MH17 and who was behind those events started out reasonably, but have been in my considered view, deliberately weak, and let the US off the hook to a great degree. I’ve no doubt there have been diplomatic compromises in the background. My concern is that propaganda like this may be used to help set up the people of the Donbass to be abandoned. This war will run for many years yet. The system of propaganda deployed by US Military Intelligence in West Ukraine is extremely effective. West Ukraine lives in a propaganda fantasy world. With so much blood spilled, and so much effort in the East to preserver their culture, language, heritage and land. With so much effort to simply be re-united with their fellow Russians, to then allow exhibitions like this to go ahead in Russia, does appear to be an act of betrayal.

    My view is that the photographer is at war with the people of the Donbass and by proxy, at war with Russians. Russia should treat him and his fellow Marxists (practicing a kind of “dialogue to consensus” propaganda) as POW’s. They should go through the standard program of work for POWs, cleaning up the bombed streets of Donetsk, and go through the same program of seeing what has been done to the Donbass, gain an education on what happened at Maidan, on the provocations, the disappearances, the western torture and murder of POWs. These liars should be shown what their lies have achieved. And then when they have no excuse not to know, they can be released with the other POWs. What they are doing is a far more damaging act of war, than a typical brain washed western soldier could do fighting in the “ATO”. These men know exactly what they are doing.


    Posted by nzgov (@nzgov) | Oct 13, 2016, 20:14


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