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Mariia Gonchar // On the (mis)use of European Cultural Funds in Ukraine

March 19, 2014
Mariia Gonchar submitted her case in order to start a discussion concerning the (mis)use of European Cultural Funds in Ukraine, as it repeats similar schemes of corruption at the governmental level. Copies of the documents mentioned in her statement are available only in the original language. 
“.Museum. Inside and Outside.” was among the winners of the project proposal grant competition organised by the “New breath of culture: Fill Heritage with Life of Arts” project, that was implemented in partnership with the Kherson City Centre of Youth initiatives “Totem” (leading partner), the Charitable Found “Creative centre TTsK”, the DRONI Association, the Armenian Association of Young Women (AYWA) with the financial support of the European Union. 

The project proposal was prepared and developed by myself, Mariia Gonchar and Olga Lannik, artists and members of the NGO “Experimental Centre of Contemporary Art “Tea Factory” (Odessa, Ukraine) in consultation with the Municipal Museum of the Private Collections of A.V.Bleshunov  (Odessa, Ukraine).

In the process of project work for “.Museum. Inside and Outside.”, the director of the Odessa Municipal Museum of the Private Collections of A.V.Bleshunov, Svetlana Ivanovna Ostapova, pressured the director of the “Experimental Centre of Contemporary Art “Tea Factory” Dmitry Bannikov in regards to the core project team and the process of its implementation.

I, the organiser and artist of “.Museum. Inside and Outside.” was persistently “offered” to give notice and leave the project and the “Experimental Centre of Contemporary Art “Tea Factory” where I worked for 3 years. After my refusal to give a leave notice, I was expelled from being a member of the NGO ECCA “Tea factory” during a closed meeting that occurred while I was away on a Copenhagen study trip, organised by the Alakhar Centre of Humanitarian Technologies.

The decision to expel me was unanimous, and this demonstratively shows that the meeting was fictitious and that other members of ECCA “Tea factory” were pressured into it.

The reasons for expelling me from the NGO ECCA “Tea factory” (Odessa, Ukraine) were presented in the following documents:

  • An official letter No. 67 by the director of the Odessa Municipal Museum of the Private Collections of A.V.Bleshunov, Svetlana Ivanovna Ostapova dated 20.05.2013
  • An official letter No. 42 “The result of the monitoring visit” by the representatives of Kherson city Centre of Youth Initiatives “Totem” Lyudmila Afanasyeva and Sergei Dyasechenko dated 5.05.2013

The arguments presented in the letter No. 42 dated May 5th, “The result of the monitoring visit”, by the representatives of Kherson city Centre of Youth Initiatives “Totem” contradict point 4.2.7 of the contractual agreement No. 018 “On the joint activity of the implementation of the socio-cultural project “.Museum. Inside and Outside.” Providing a copy of this contract was one of the conditions of the project proposal. The contract No. 018 “On the joint activity at the implementation of the socio-cultural project “.Museum. Inside and Outside.” was sent to the “Creative center CCC” Foundation  with the full documentation pack in December 2012, and must be stored at the  “Creative center CCC” Foundation, signed by the directors of the Odessa Municipal Museum of the Private Collections of A.V.Bleshunov and NGO ECCA “Tea factory”.

The grants manager of the project “New breath of culture: Fill Heritage with Life of Arts” Vladimir Kupriy refused to reply to my request to clarify the situation.

In the current situation, I, Mariia Gonchar, state that I suspect that the afore-mentioned Ukrainian institutions, which handle the funding from the European Union may be involved in corrupt activities.

These suspicions can be confirmed by the following factors:

  • Manipulation of the project documentation
  • Bias in the assessment of the artist and the project manager of the “.Museum. Inside and Outside.”
  • Use of not-stated/or inadmissible criteria for the selection and in relation to the participants of the project “.Museum. Inside and Outside.”
  • Unfounded and discriminatory explanations in regards to the activity of the artist and the manager of the project “.Museum. Inside and Outside.”
  • Providing incomplete information/wrong information and refusal to share further information in regards to the project “.Museum. Inside and Outside.” to its authors.

Mariia Gonchar

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Translation support: Tatiana Baskakova

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