Karelian flag spotted in exhibition of “NATO trophies” from Ukraine in Karelia

By Andrew Blackman - May 3, 2024 The Independent Barents Observer

An exhibition about the history of the war in Ukraine recently opened at the Center of Military Glory in Petrozavodsk, the capital Karelia in Northwestern Russia. On display are various exhibits from the battlefields, as well as trophies, which, according to Karelian governor Artur Parfenchikov, prove the alliance’s participation in hostilities in Ukraine.

Parfenchikov has published photos from the exhibition on his official social media page. One of the photographs shows items with inscriptions in foreign languages – for example, a box for cartridges with inscriptions in German or a box of dry rations with inscriptions in English – weapons and military insignia. Telegram-channel From Karelia with freedom notes that next to the military insignia, presumably of the British troops, there is sleeve patch with the image of the national Karelian flag.

“The head of Karelia has not explained how this sleeve patch got to the exhibition, but the appearance of a patch with the Karelian flag has already caused bewilderment on social media. All this looks like a provocation designed to discredit the national flag of the Karelian people, which is traditionally used in the republic at congresses and cultural events,” From Karelia with freedom says.

Photo from the page of Karelia governor Artur Parfenchikov


The exhibition also features a helmet with the inscription “Akhmat sila” (“Akhmat is force”). It was the Akhmat battalion that the former mayor of Petrozavodsk, Vladimir Lyubarsky, joined after leaving his post to participate in the war. Soldiers of this unit have been accused of numerous war crimes: kidnappings, torture, murder. In 2022, a video appeared on the Internet of Russian servicemen torturing, castrating and killing a Ukrainian prisoner of war. A journalistic investigation found that Akhmat fighters were involved in this. In August 2022, the Ukraine’s Security Service reported that the commander of the Akhmat special unit was suspected of massacres. And on June 17, a video of an interrogation of a Russian prisoner of war appeared online, where he talks about how “Kadyrovites” raped women and children.


Photo from the page of Karelia governor Artur Parfenchikov


The national flag of the Karelians is a black cross with a red border on a green field. It was designed by the famous Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela; in the spring of 1920, it was approved as one of the symbols of the independent North Karelian state, better known as the Ukhta Republic. Four years ago, member of the Karelian parliament Andrei Rogalevich proposed making this flag the second state flag of the Republic of Karelia, but his initiative was never voted on.

Karelia is the only national republic in Russia where the language of the indigenous population does not have state status.