The photo exhibition “Stories from Occupied Crimea” created by “ZMINA. Human Rights Centre” was opened in Dnipro in cooperation with the Mission of the President in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
22 photos of Ukrainian reporters Alina Smutko, Taras Ibragimov and Alyona Savchuk are a unique chronicle of life on the peninsula illegally occupied by Russia and documentary evidence of repressions against Ukrainians and representatives of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people.
On the occasion of the opening of the photo exhibition, a press conference was held, the participants of which were: head of the Information provided Department of the Mission of the President in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Yevhen Bondarenko, spokeswoman of the “ZMINA. Human Rights Centre” Iryna Ivanchenko, one of the authors of the photos, reporter Alyona Savchuk, wife of political prisoner Vladyslav Yesypenko, analyst of the Crimean Human Rights Group Kateryna Yesypenko, head of the Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Cremlin Ihor Kotelyanets and father of political prisoner Valentin Vyhivskyi Petro Vyhivskyi.
Speakers talked about Russia’s repression of Ukrainians and representatives of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people, illegal sentences and falsified cases against Ukrainian citizens, as well as political prisoners, there are already 181 of them, 116 of whom – Crimean Tatars.
During the opening of the exhibition, the spokeswoman of the “ZMINA. Human Rights Centre”, Iryna Ivanchenko, told the audience that almost everyone among the political prisoners was illegally convicted for journalistic activities.
“Most of them are Crimean Tatar citizen journalists, who cooperated with the “Crimean Solidarity” initiative, which unites families of political prisoners, lawyers, and activists. These are Seyran Saliev, Marlen Asanov, Timur Ibrahimov, Server Mustafayev, Osman Arifmemetov, Remzi Bekirov, Ruslan Suleymanov, Rustem Sheikhaliyev. Over the past year, the occupying authorities imprisoned three more citizen journalists — Iryna Danylovych, Vilen Temeryanov and Ernes Ametov. Therefore, we can say that every tenth Crimean political prisoner is imprisoned because of his journalistic activitie”.
One of the photo exhibition authors, Alyona Savchuk, that during 2016-2018 reported on the trials of Ukrainian political prisoners in the occupied Crimea, until she was banned by the FSS from entering the peninsula and the territory of Russia, told more about its creation.
“These pictures are a small percentage of all the stories from the occupation that we were lucky enough to observe, hear and broadcast. About people who stayed at home, despite intimidation and threats, arrests and trials, torture and humiliation by (pro) Russian security forces. These are stories about the destroyed destinies of hundreds of families, made-up terrorism, persecution for nationality, faith and position. But they are also about love for one’s land and people, solidarity and mutual support, faith in the victory of truth and goodness”.
Yevhen Bondarenko spoke at a press conference about the involvement of the Mission of the President Office after the start of the full-scale invasion.
“Since February 24, 2022, it was important to keep the issue of occupied Crimea in the national and international media spaces, and later to convey important and truthful information about the situation on the peninsula to our citizens living under occupation. As a team of the Mission, we regularly monitor the situation on the Ukrainian peninsula, prepare operative weekly summaries, which we distribute on our own resources and in the media. Via them, we reveal the issues of persecution of our citizens, militarization of the peninsula, criminal mobilization, propaganda and incitement of enmity by the occupying administrations, transformation of key narratives, public attitudes and movements of resistance to the occupation”.
On March 17, the photo exhibition “Stories from the Occupied Crimea” opened in Dnipro, on the premises of the “MOST-City” Shopping Center. The exposition was located on the first floor, where during the week it can be seen by residents and guests of the city. The press conference on the occasion of the opening took place in one of the halls of the “MOST-Kino” cinema.
Dnipro became the fourth city where the photo exhibition “Stories from Occupied Crimea” was presented. Previously, it was held in Khmelnytskyi, Kropyvnytskyi, Chernivtsi, and it will also be shown in Lutsk and Lviv.