The 22 photographs by Ukrainian reporters Alina Smutko, Taras Ibragimov and Alyona Savchuk are a unique chronicle of life on the Russian-occupied peninsula and documentary evidence of repression against Ukrainian citizens, including the indigenous Crimean Tatar people.
These photos were shown on April 10 in Lviv, at the Victoria Gardens shopping mall (226-A Kulparkivska St., first floor).
During 2016-2018, one of the authors of the photo exhibition “Stories from the Occupied Crimea” Aliona Savchuk covered the trials of Ukrainian political prisoners in the occupied Crimea until she received a “ban” from the FSB on entering the peninsula and the territory of Russia.
“These pictures are a small part of all the stories from the occupation that we were lucky enough to see, 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 lives of hundreds of families, fictional terrorism, and persecution for nationality, faith, and position. But they are also about love for one’s land and one’s people, solidarity and mutual support, faith in the victory of truth and goodness,” Ms. Savchuk noted.
After the full-scale invasion, the occupied Crimea became a prison for people abducted in the newly occupied territories, said Volodymyr Chekrygin, deputy chairman of the Crimean Human Rights Group: “Most of them are held in SIZO #2, which is fully controlled by the FSB. According to our data, there are at least 110 of our citizens there.”
Maria Tomak, Head of the Crimean Platform’s Support Service, also noted that the situation with political persecution in the occupied Crimea has deteriorated since the start of the full-scale invasion.
“Due to the almost complete isolation of the occupied Crimea from the mainland of Ukraine, it has become more difficult for us to receive information from there, and it has become more dangerous for our citizens in Crimea to communicate with us. In the end, the expressive and tragic story of the deaths of two political prisoners – Konstantin Shiring and Dzhemil Gafarov – clearly shows that Russia is using these people to intimidate our citizens in occupation, as well as to create political pressure on Ukraine, blackmailing the lives of our citizens who are in detention centers under Moscow’s control,” Ms. Tomak said.
The exhibition will be open in Lviv until April 20. In addition, the exhibition will be presented on April 12 in Prague, Czech Republic.