Ukraine has claimed victory in a long-running culinary dispute with Russia after the UN cultural agency listed traditional beetroot soup on Ukraine’s list of protected cultural heritage sites.
The Paris-based UNESCO announced in a statement that it has included borscht, a rich raspberry soup with vegetables, on its list of cultural heritage in need of “urgent protection” due to the risk associated with the soup’s status as an element of Ukraine’s cultural life. legacy of the Moscow invasion.
Minister of Culture of Ukraine Oleksandr Tkachenko : “Victory in the war for borscht is ours!”
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the listing.
“Lithuanians are big fans of Ukrainian borscht,” the ministry wrote on Twitter.
Russia objects to listing
Moscow denounced the new protected Ukrainian status of the dish, which is also popular in Russia, as an example of “modern Kyiv nationalism.”
“Our borscht does not need protection, but is subject to immediate and complete destruction in a bowl,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram.
This opinion was met with hostility by the people of Kiev, including 53-year-old civil servant Tatyana.
“They need to develop their own culture and not just try to claim the culture of others,” she said.
The UNESCO representative in Paris said that the new status means that Ukraine can now apply for special funds to finance projects to promote and protect this dish.
UNESCO stated that the listing “does not imply exclusivity or ownership of the relevant heritage, but” recognizes the social and cultural importance of cooking borscht among Ukrainians.
UNESCO added cuisine to its list, listing the same dishes, such as kimchi and couscous, among the cultural heritage of many countries.
‘This is ours’
Diana Kharanovich-Yavorska, a 35-year-old scientist enjoying a plate of borscht on a sunny day in Kyiv, said that
the solution represented a victory over Moscow, especially significant in the fifth month of the bloody full-scale war.
“For Ukraine, this is a victory, given that Russia has always wanted to steal our history, our culture and our national dishes,” she told Reuters.
“Ukrainian borscht… may be different for every housewife, but it is ours,” she said.
Yevgeny Marshal, head chef of the central Kyiv restaurant, explained that there are several main types of borscht: traditional beetroot, green sorrel and even fish. He is adamant that all Ukrainians.
“Of course, borscht is Ukrainian heritage. To cook a delicious borscht, the main thing is a real Ukrainian (to cook it) and taste,” Marshal said, cutting a pile of carrots.