Ukraine’s minister for culture said Friday he had resigned after a “misunderstanding” about the mobilisation of funds for cultural projects as Kyiv battles a Russian invasion.
“I brought my resignation note to the Prime Minister tonight, due to a wave of misunderstanding about the importance of wartime culture,” Oleksandr Tkachenko wrote in a Facebook post.
“During the war both private and budget funds for culture are no less important than for drones, because culture is the shield of our identity and our borders.”
The announcement came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the country’s prime minister to consider replacing Tkachenko.
“People should feel that budget resources are used fairly and properly,” he said in his nightly address.
“This applies to various areas, including culture. Museums, cultural centres, symbols, TV series — all of this is important, but now there are other priorities.”
On Thursday the Ukrainska Pravda news website published a story claiming the culture ministry had decided to allocate 448 million hryvnias (around $12 million) for the production of a television series.
Tkachenko recently told a radio show that it was appropriate to provide around $13 million to finish building a museum to commerate Ukraine’s 1932-33 famine, which is regarded by Kyiv as a deliberate act of genocide by the regime of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
“Such things, which speak of the suffering inflicted on the Ukrainian people for decades by Moscow, should be reflected in the museum,” he told United States-funded Radio Liberty.
“If someone says that the museum should not be built during the war, let them give arguments other than that it is necessary to spend money on reconstruction. There are funds.”
Moscow rejects Kyiv’s account of the famine, placing the events in the broader context of famines that devastated regions of Central Asia and Russia.