Year of Graduation


Document Type



International Studies

Directing Professor

Dr. Ashleigh Breske


This project examines the ongoing destruction and theft of Ukrainian cultural heritage by Russian forces since February 2022 in tandem with international cultural property law, and theory, and case studies. By studying relevant cultural property laws and gathering information from associated theories of cultural property nationalism and internationalism, this project examines how these laws and theories apply to modern Ukraine. This thesis utilizes a qualitative approach to analyze theories surrounding cultural property and heritage and explores how these theories influence international law. For a more comprehensive approach, three case studies are used and examined via qualitative historical analysis: Nazi art theft from occupied territories during World War II, the looting of the National Museum of Iraq in 2003, and site destruction by terrorists in Timbuktu in 2012. These case studies demonstrate the changing perceptions and laws surrounding cultural property. By reviewing these case studies in tandem with the Russia-Ukraine war, one can better understand the larger ramifications of cultural property theft and destruction in Ukraine and how applicable laws are shaped by theory.