His name was Yuri Kerpatenko and since 2004 he was the director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine that was occupied at the beginning of the war and whose region has just been annexed by Russia. Refusing to play for the occupants cost him his life, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture denounced this Sunday.
Kerpatenko was assassinated in his own home after refusing to participate in a concert organized by the new Russian authorities on October 1, which was intended to celebrate the supposed “restoration of peace” in the region, according to the official statement.
Yuri Kerpatenko would have been executed at home after refusing to participate in a concert organized by the Russian occupiers
The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture does not specify the date of the alleged execution, but assures that it obtained the information on October 14 from the journalist Olena Vanina.
Kherson was the first major Ukrainian city to fall to the Russians, on March 2. Kerpatenko had refused to leave the city and “openly demonstrated his civic position,” the statement said. In fact, until the end of May, the musician was posting messages on his Facebook account – which can still be read – against the Russian occupiers, whom he called “orcs”, as many Ukrainians do. Precisely his last message on this social network, dated May 29, refers to a theater director who had agreed to direct a play for the Russians.
The statement from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture explains that Kerpatenko was the director of the Gileya chamber orchestra, which was to play at the concert on October 1, as well as the Mikola Kulish Theater of Music and Drama.
The regional prosecutor of Kherson in Ukraine announced this Sunday that it has opened a formal investigation “on the basis of violation of the laws and norms of war, combined with premeditated murder.” The prosecution explained that Kerpatenko’s relatives outside of Kherson had lost contact with him in September.
In addition to the condemnations of several European composers, writers and artists, the German Minister of Culture, Claudia Roth, also expressed her astonishment and accused the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and “his executioners” of trying to “destroy Ukrainian culture and identity ”.
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Russian soldiers kill Ukrainian musician Yuri Kerpatenko after refusing to give a concert