The museum "Civil War in Donbass. To the fallen and living heroes" is located in the Leninsky district of Donetsk in the courtyard of the private household of a local resident – 69-year-old Gennady Lebedev. According to him, there are about a hundred evidences of crimes committed by the Ukrainian military in Donbass the pensioner has collected since 2014.
At the entrance to the museum guests are greeted by "Uncle Vasya" – a DPR defender, holding in his hands a machine gun – a trophy from the Ilovaysky pocket. The site "Fighting" is set a little farther. It is an improvised military base: having passed the checkpoint, visitors can look at the radio, clothes, field ration and other things from the use of a serviceman.
"All the time, as we are fighting, I tried to visit the sites of large-scale shelling in Donetsk and beyond. If possible, I collected all the material evidences of the crimes by the Ukrainian military. First I collected small pieces left after bombardments – fragments of shells. Then I came across more significant "exhibits" – parts of large missile systems. And when I accumulated about 100 such fragments, I decided to open my own museum," Lebedev said.
From the very first minutes of visiting this exposition in the open air, the impression is that the conflict in Donbass has provoked the emergence of a new kind of modern art – the people's, authentic art with a pronounced effect of presence, which is a museum discourse sometimes lacks so much.
Part of the exhibition is reserved for a photo exposition, for which the senior citizen himself made pictures. The events of the spring of 2014 are displayed here – from the day the Ukrainian army seized the capital airport until January 2015 – the day of the liberation of the air harbour. In the pictures there are perished civilians and buildings, destroyed by shelling.
Among other things, the museum assembles fragments of multiple rocket launchers Smerch, Uragan and already inactive grenade launchers and automatic weapons. There are missile complexes Luna-M and Tochka-U, none of the state museums can boast of.
"These are the largest exhibits in my museum, my heritage and pride. Luna-M is the latest artefact I have found. It was used in the bombardment of the Motel (eastern Donetsk – ed.) in February this year. And fragments of Tochka-U – one of the first in the museum. I found them during the AFU bombardment of the Tekstilshchik district (the Kirovsky district) in August 2014," the owner of the museum said.
The last museum site is devoted to the peaceful life in the DPR, its inhabitants and events. There are photos from the Victory Parade, and the celebration of the Republic Day, the Day of Liberation of Donbass and others.
"I want to continue photographing the peaceful life of the Republic and expand these expositions with these photographs. This will include photos of happy children and other residents of the state, festive events, rallies and much more. I really want to believe that no more fragments of war and crimes by the Ukrainian army will appear in the museum," Lebedev concluded.
The museum forms a unique perception of reality and time, sometimes in a post-historical atmosphere. But, at the same time, it dictates an obvious rule – art, including the museum, can and should develop in a direct contact with society.
Gennady Lebedev served in the air defense, now he is a freelance correspondent of one of the public organizations. According to him, everyone can visit the museum with an excursion. Most often here there come pupils of school № 42, neighbour children and military men. In addition, residents of Russia and, in particular, the Crimea, have already visited the museum.
DONi News Agency