A Manifesto from Ukraine

Last week in a move that was claimed to help save more money for the fight against COVID-19, the Ukrainian Ministry of Finances has suggested to cut down culture spendings in the state budget-2020 almost by half. In the following days the prominent institutions like State Agency for Cinema, Book Institute, Ukrainian Cultural Foundation and others have vocalised their resentment over this decision. On Monday the independent gallery Асортиментна кімната, managed by Ukrainian partner of Tandem Ukraine Insha Osvita, has published this manifesto in a protest against the plan of the government to cut down the expenditures for culture. We cordially invite you to share, change and use this text for your campaigns and events.


Manifesto 01

You cannot destroy culture. Nobody can. But culture can destroy any political system.
Culture is everything non-material and collective that exists in a country and that legitimises it. Culture is past and how we remember it. Culture is present and the rules by which we agree to live together in the society. Culture is also the future.

Culture will persevere without your support. When we will desire a certain culture from our society — be it culture of solidarity, empathy or consolidation, we will remember this moment. The moment, when the government has decided, that culture is redundant in the times of crisis. Because it’s exactly in crisis that culture is needed the most.

In the situation of a pandemic and self-isolation our cultural and artistic plans have to change — not get cancelled, but get transformed. Everything unnecessary, redundant and archaic has to stay in the past. How we organise our cultural projects has to be adapted to the new reality — and the main focus in this process has to stay on transparency of decisions and expenditures, healthy lack of bureaucracy and flexibility.

In the situation of deficiency of strategic decisions and financial deficiencies as a consequence of the former, the culture of decision-making in our governments has to change. All the “there is no time for strategy” and “we’ll think about it later” stem from deep past and cost too much to afford. All the impulsive decisions like “to close”, “to cut down” and “to downsize” are only feeding the panic and chaos, deepening the crisis, that has only just started. We are in the eye of the storm. Stop. And urge your governments to look for decisions together with the engaged ones, not instead of them.

The extended text of the Manifesto in Ukrainian and all the supporting materials we upload as an open source document here.

We invite you to share, change and use it for your ideas and campaigns. You might also want to use the hashtag #яка_ще_культура or #culture_say_what.