- Title: Protesters disrupt a Moscow exhibit of war photography from Ukraine
- Date: 29th September 2016
- Summary: LAPTOP SCREEN SHOWING PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY SERGEY LOIKO SHOWN AT EXHIBITION
- Embargoed: 14th October 2016 17:27
- Keywords: Russia Ukraine exhibition eastern Ukraine pro-Russian rebels photographer Sakharov center
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00251MESZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: An exhibition of photography in Moscow came under attack for a second day on Thursday (September 29) because of its inclusion of photographs from Ukraine's embattled east.
A group of men invaded the Sakharov center in the Russian capital and disrupted an exhibition of the works of winning contenders in an international contest entitled 'Direct Look'.
The conflict category of the contest drew winning entries from Alexander Vasyukovich from Belarus and Sergey Loiko from Ukraine. The two photographers have taken stills of Ukrainian army soldiers in Donetsk and Luhansk regions who have been fighting against pro-Russian rebels since spring 2014.
The top photographs were placed on display at the Sakharov center alongside the works of other winners.
But it appeared to have caused anger almost immediately. At the opening of the exhibit on Wednesday (September 28) a man strode through the exhibition and vandalised the works with bright red spray paint. He was captured on video defacing the photographs and shouting that they were the works of fascists.
The center on Thursday chose to remove the damaged photographs instead of restoring them, saying they were concerned for the safety of visitors and staff.
Labels with a description of the works and the vandalism incident were erected in place of the original photographs.
But the center was further plagued on Thursday when a group of men, some claiming to be Cossacks, another wearing camouflage who said he was a pro-Russian rebel from eastern Ukraine, confronted the director of the Sakharov center, Sergey Lukashevsky. The group demanded Lukashevsky vow to never display similar exhibits and continued to argue with the director as a group of police officers looked on.
The group was led by a member of the council of deputies for the Moscow city district Yakimanka, Dmitry Zakharov. He brought a glass jar full of red liquid which he claimed was a symbol of children's blood spilled at the hands of Ukrainian soldiers.
"I want to give it to the director of this organisation - a jar with the blood of Donbass children so that the situation is shown objectively. Those people who are displayed there (on photographs) kill children, too. So that there cannot be a moment where people says 'they were simply doing their jobs.' They were killing," said Zakharov, displaying the jar to reporters.
Lukashevsky defended the exhibition and said protesters failed to see beyond the uniform of the soldiers pictured.
"Of course, because of the soldier in the Ukraine army (pictured) these people (the vandals) see the war photographs taken in combat zones as praise of war heroes and moreover a praise of Nazis. In our opinion the photographs are about the horrifying face of war. We don't see here a praise of war heroism," said Lukashevsky.
Photographer Sergey Loiko, who watched a clip of the spray paint attack on his computer, said he was not surprised by the incidents. He added he was glad that the protests would mean even more people would learn about his works and the war.
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