The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, well recognized for its philanthropic efforts in aiding war-affected Ukrainians, recently extended its humanitarian outreach through a collaborative educational initiative with Ukraine’s First International School of Communications. The foundation, which was established in 2005 by Metinvest owner Rinat Akhmetov to support social causes in Ukraine, embarked on a project aimed at documenting and preserving the narratives of war. The project, “How To Collect War Stories,” was conducted under the auspices of the Museum of Civilian Voices, an oral history initiative spearheaded by the foundation.
Spanning three intensive days of collaborative work between Kyiv, Ukraine and Lublin, Poland, the project connected a network of experts from around the globe in diverse fields including history, sociology, psychology, journalism, and war documentation. It was hosted by Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, with a goal of bringing together scholars dedicated to capturing the essence and experiences of war, thereby contributing to the preservation of national memory.
‘History Is Happening Before Our Eyes’
The goal of the project was to take steps in the moment to preserve the truth of what is happening to Ukrainian civilians due to Russia’s invasion, so that future generations can understand the impact of the war.
“History is happening before our eyes, and all of us are the sources of truth, both current and future. The realization that this historical truth is being shaped instantaneously or live, through the testimony of tens of thousands of people, is extremely compelling,” said Natalya Yemchenko, public relations and communications director at Rinat Akhmetov’s System Capital Management holding company and a member of the Akhmetov Foundation’s supervisory board.
She continued: “In order to make the documenting and preserving national memory more efficient, the Museum of Civilian Voices spearheads joining efforts with Ukrainian and foreign educational institutions, so that current and future generations could know and preserve the truth about what happened in Ukraine.”
Among the notable participants in the project were Peter Pomerantsev, a distinguished British journalist, TV producer, and expert in modern Russian media and propaganda; and Serhii Plokhii, a Harvard professor specializing in Ukrainian history.
“We want Ukraine not to repeat the mistakes of other countries and to collect evidence of war crimes professionally right from the start,” said Pomerantsev.
“Our goal is to collect it while the war is still going on, so that justice comes faster. It is important to understand how we communicate the truth to the general public. How to reach out to an audience that does not want to hear the truth? Reject the assumption that a loud statement of evidence is enough. We are in a race with propagandists in terms of who understands their audience better. And if you talk only to a small loyal community, nothing will move forward at the legislative level; there will not be enough public and political demand for justice.”
Holding Russia Accountable
This initiative is part of Rinat Akhmetov’s broader philanthropic efforts, which encompass both immediate humanitarian aid and the preservation and communication of Ukraine’s wartime experiences to future generations.
He has donated over $150 million to civilian and military support, including a $25 million pledge to support the families of soldiers impacted by fighting in Mariupol, as well as 200,000 bulletproof vests and armored shelters for the Ukrainian army.
After Russia’s invasion led to the deaths of nearly 500 employees of Akhmetov’s Metinvest and DTEK steelworks companies and the destruction of millions of dollars worth of facilities and equipment, he decided to take legal action against Russia, filing multiple lawsuits against the Russian government.
In 2022, he sought compensation in a case filed at the European Court of Human Rights, pledging to use any compensation awarded to help rebuild the Ukrainian economy. And in 2023, he alleged that Russia had violated the Agreement Between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Cabinet of Ministers of the Ukraine on the Encouragement and Mutual Protection of Investments, a long-standing treaty between the two countries.
“My position has not changed: We will seek justice using all available legal means with every possible agency and court,” he said in a statement on the cases.
By documenting Russia’s invasion of the country and continuing to pursue legal action related to its impact on civilians, Akhmetov and his foundation are pushing for Russia to be held accountable for the losses the war has caused — and continues to cause.