Exhibits on NATO ‘cruelty’ open across Russia during war in Ukraine


In one of Moscow’s newest museum exhibits, visitors are greeted by posters describing how ‘NATO is beset by war’ and images of people injured in US bombings as the sound of planes approaching warfare blared from the loudspeakers.

“NATO: A Chronicle of Cruelty” open opened at the Museum of Contemporary Russian History in Moscow last month, weeks after Russia attacked Ukraine.

The exhibition, and a growing number of others like it across the country, are among the many ways Russia is justifying its invasion of Ukraine – which it is increasingly portraying as an existential battle against the West – to Russian audiences.

“It only shows one side of the story,” said Alexandra, a young Muscovite who was looking at the displays during a recent visit to The Moscow Times.

Ukrainian military uniform.
Anastasia Tenisheva

“A lot of things deliberately cause you to have a certain emotional reaction. You can’t find the full picture here. It’s just a facade,” said Alexandra, who requested anonymity to speak freely.

Similar exhibits – though lacking the exhibits shown in Moscow – have popped up across Russia in recent weeks: Siberia and the far eastern island of Sakhalin to the western cities of Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk near the border with Ukraine.

“This exact exhibition will soon be open in all regions of the Russian Federation”, mentioned an official at an opening ceremony earlier this month in the town of Veliky Novgorod, 190 kilometers south of St Petersburg.

In Moscow, exhibits include “trophies” that Russian soldiers have brought back from Ukraine since the Kremlin launched its invasion in late February.

At the center of the exhibit is an exhibit containing a Ukrainian body armor, a Ukrainian military uniform and a Ukrainian insignia, which are described as “unique exhibits” provided by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Helmet with SS badge.  Anastasia Tenisheva

Helmet with SS badge.
Anastasia Tenisheva

“NATO: A Chronicle of Cruelty” open opened at the Museum of Contemporary Russian History in Moscow last month, weeks after Russia attacked Ukraine.

The exhibition, and a growing number of others like it across the country, are among the many ways Russia is justifying its invasion of Ukraine – which it is increasingly portraying as an existential battle against the West – to Russian audiences.

“It only shows one side of the story,” said Alexandra, a young Muscovite who was looking at the displays during a recent visit to The Moscow Times.

The Kremlin views NATO as an existential threat to Russia and cites the US-led alliance’s presence in Ukraine as one of the reasons for its invasion.

Poster showing an anti-NATO demonstration in Sevastopol, Crimea.  Anastasia Tenisheva

Poster showing an anti-NATO demonstration in Sevastopol, Crimea.
Anastasia Tenisheva

While the exhibition focuses primarily on NATO military activities, including the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, and the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, it also devotes significant space to recent events in Ukraine. and to what describe on the museum’s website under the name “kyiv cooperation with NATO”.

Russian officials have repeatedly mentioned that they are waging a proxy war against NATO in Ukraine, which in recent months has received significant supplies of equipment and ammunition from members of the Western military alliance.

“We must realize that NATO and a chronicle of cruelty are exactly the same thing,” said Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev. mentioned at an opening ceremony of the Moscow exhibition.

One of the topics discussed throughout the exhibit was NATO’s apparent long-term plans to use Ukraine as a staging ground for an attack on Russia.

Mural called "Women with child".  Anastasia Tenisheva

Wall painting entitled “Women with child”.
Anastasia Tenisheva

“After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States and NATO began their shameless development of the territory of Ukraine as a theater of potential military operations,” reads a billboard. .

The exhibit also draws historical parallels between Nazi Germany and modern-day Ukraine in an apparent attempt to bolster Moscow’s widely ridiculed and debunked narrative that Ukraine needs “denazification.”

“After the Second World War, one of the objectives of the Nuremberg trials was to ban such ideologies, such organizations and such symbols. But look at this – Ukrainian soldiers shamelessly decorate their helmets with Nazi symbols,” tour guide Yaroslav Polestrov told a group of visitors.

Posters of injured children and crying women line the walls along with photographs of anti-NATO protests. A stall shows photos of a clinic for premature babies in Belgrade, Serbia, which was overcrowded following NATO bombing, according to the accompanying description.

Wall.  Anastasia Tenisheva

Wall.
Anastasia Tenisheva

Another section features weapons and uniforms made in the United States.

Visitors can even see the wreckage of an American F-117 Nighthawk stealth plane that was shot down over Serbia in 1999.

For some visitors, the exhibit reinforced official rhetoric about the ills of the West that they had been hearing since before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“I really liked the exhibition. We are an old generation, we lived through these events, and here we can see the truth,” Natalya, a pensioner, told the Moscow Times. “We need more exposures like this so people can see what really happened.”

Others, however, weren’t convinced.

Nikita, 23, said the display resembled disinformation broadcast on public TV channels and ignored what was really happening in Russia.

“The guide gave us a lecture on Nazi criminals and WWII and then showed us that [Ukrainian regiment] Azov helmet with Nazi signs on it. And I wanted to tell him to look around Moscow. Didn’t he notice the “Z” and “V” symbols everywhere? Nikita said, referring to Latin letters daubed on Russian military equipment in Ukraine that have been promoted by those who support the war.

“NATO.  A Chronicle of Cruelty” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Russian History in Moscow.  Anastasia Tenisheva

“NATO. A Chronicle of Cruelty” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Russian History in Moscow.
Anastasia Tenisheva

“It’s a matter of interpreting and presenting these facts. Some things can be taken out of context,” he added.

In order to increase attendance, access to all “NATO: A Chronicle of Cruelty” exhibitions in Russia is free.

“Usually we have groups organized by government organizations, social centers and students from different military universities,” the guide Polestrov said when asked about the most common visitors.

The Moscow exhibition drew nearly 20,000 visitors in less than two months of opening, according to the museum.

At the end of their visit, visitors are invited to give their opinion in the commentary book. Both positive and negative reactions can be observed, echoing the deep divisions that persist in Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

“Thank you for the truth about NATO,” one comment read.

“This is stupid propaganda,” read another.


Russia news

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button