"The eternal flame is not a grave, it’s a propaganda memorial for a totalitarian communist regime"
Anna Sin’kova, 20, is a leader of the Ukrainian art group “Brotherhood of Saint Luke”. She sent this written comment from jail through her lawyer after FRANCE 24 sent a request to her group.
I do not regret my performance for a single second, even after being interrogated for four hours without my lawyer, and despite the pressure I have been subjected to while in jail. The accusations against me are absurd and ridiculous.
“The media distorted the original message behind my performance”
They say I desecrated a grave, but it’s quite the opposite. The eternal flame is not a grave, it’s a propaganda memorial for a totalitarian communist regime [the former USSR]. It is the biggest desecration of the memory of the victims of a terrible war, many of whom, including my grand-grandfather, were dedicated orthodox Christians. The cult of “The Great Victory”, invented by the Kremlin [Sin'kova believes that the Russian government uses Soviet-era wartime symbols to project national greatness], has nothing to do with the real veterans and victims of the war. That's why I made this performance. If it was a desecration, it was a desecration of a Soviet propaganda object, not soldiers' graves.
Outrage against the performance originated from the current Ukrainian authorities answering to the Kremlin [Sin'kova is critical of the current Ukrainian government, whom she sees as the Kremlin's puppet], and from state-controlled media. It was the media that distorted the original message behind my performance.
On the other hand, many Ukrainian patriots have praised my idea and are raising their voices in my defence. Meetings in my support are being organized in Kiev and other cities, leaflets are distributed and funds are collected.
“I was arrested as I exited a supermarket by men in black balaclavas”
Like a spy from a Hollywood movie, I was arrested as I exited a supermarket by men in black balaclavas. I was interrogated without my lawyer by three plainclothes policemen, who threatened me and told me I was a traitor. I have been kept in a cell with 20 other people, and was denied medical care when I came down with a very high fever.
My lawyers are preparing an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights. I hope for a favorable decision.
When I am set free I will continue to fight for this just cause. The authorities want to scare us patriots, or put us in jail. But we're not going to stand aside watching as Ukrainian sovereignty is sold to the Kremlin in return for natural gas and favours for local oligarchs.”