“In difficult times, the support and help of friends from all over the world is especially felt. We are grateful to you for your support and struggle for Ukrainian heritage on the cultural front.”Sofia Kamenyeva, Director of the State Archives of the Kyiv Region
Teleport Organisation is currently engaged in doing our part to help the Ukrainian government save Ukrainian history from Russian-inflicted destruction during this brutal conflict. During our delegation’s circuit of meetings in Kyiv in mid-July, a representative of the Kyiv Regional Administration highlighted a major funding shortage faced by the Kyiv State Archives, which manages, analyzes, stores, perseveres and protects the historical documents of the Kyiv Oblast. The Kyiv State Archives contains 2.5 million preserved historical primary documents stretching across hundreds of years of the Kyiv region’s rich history. The Kyiv State Archives, the largest archival institution in Ukraine, suffered significant damage as a result of the Russian assault on Kyiv from February until early April, when the Russian Army was driven out of Kyiv Oblast by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Since the time when Kyiv Oblast was fully liberated, the Kyiv State Archives has been unsuccessful in obtaining an adequate budget to rebuild and restore their department’s vital cultural and historical functions. As a result, Ukrainian history itself is under threat of being lost.
Due to this major budget shortfall, the Kyiv Regional Administration proposed that Teleport Organisation partner with the Archives’ director, Sofia Kamenyeva, for us to lobby directly with international entities and organisations in order to fundraise on the Archives’ behalf. We fully realize the significantly multi-dimensional reality of facing this crisis, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine must therefore come in multi-dimensional forms. One of the many tragedies of war is the violent loss of historical structures, artifacts, documents, cultural and national heritage, which tragically all-too-often perishes forever into the chaos and flames of military conflict. We realized that the vital preservation of Ukrainian national heritage and history is under threat, and thus under threat is the historical memory of countless past Kyivians, whose identities, deeds, historical significance and original documents are protected by the Kyiv State Archives for the benefit of current and future generations of Ukrainians. Due to all these factors, we readily accepted the challenge to help fundraise for the Kyiv State Archives, to help do our part to contribute to the rescue of Ukrainian history.
First, we reached out directly to Director Kamenyeva, offering her our organisation’s help in meeting her department’s financial needs. She readily accepted our offer, providing us with the necessary data outlining both the physical damage inflicted on her department by the Russian attack and the subsequent financial needs. Armed with this information and Director Kamenyeva’s support, we began a dedicated outreach campaign focused on pinpointing and reaching out to esteemed individuals, historical organisations and institutions based in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom that we believed would take a particular interest in this fundraising mission. We crafted an extensive message that wholeheartedly outlined the harsh reality of the Kyiv State Archives’ situation and our determination to help, in vital partnership with these potential allies in our mission. The response we have received in this effort thus far has been extremely heartening.
The list of those that we reached out to whom have expressed a desire to collaborate with our Ukrainian partners in order to help them achieve their fundraising goal continues to grow, and includes, but is not limited to, the following, who responded to our appeals with compassion and enthusiasm:
- Timothy Snyder, PhD, renowned American historian, Yale University professor and author specializing in the modern history of Central and Eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine.
- Bruce Thompson, PhD and Edward Kehler, PhD, both professors of history at University of California, Santa Cruz.
- The Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, the leading academic institution in the United States dedicated to the support of scholarship and the dissemination of knowledge about Ukraine.
- The National Council on Public History, which focuses on building a community among historians, expanding professional skills and tools, fostering critical reflection on historical practice, and publicly advocating for history and historians.
- H-Poland, an online platform dedicated to promoting/advancing scholarly contributions to Eastern European studies, primarily Polish studies.
We continue to work closely with our growing list of partners in the academic world and beyond who have expressed a compassionate willingness to work with us in our mission to get the Kyiv State Archives the funding they need to help preserve generations of Ukrainian history and prevent this cultural heritage from being permanently lost during to this conflict. Teleport Organisation’s work to accomplish this significant task is currently ongoing. We will do everything in our power to continue to build international bridges of humanitarian support for Ukraine, through our expanding list of allies, partners and friends who share our diligent dedication to reducing the severe impact of this crisis. We are extremely thankful for the response we have received in this effort thus far and we look forward to providing more updates in the near future.