Ukrainian conductor Yuriy Kerpatenko made his stand against Russians occupying his city. His defiance cost him his life.
Kerpatenko, the chief conductor of the Gileya Chamber Orchestra and the principal conductor of Kherson’s Mykola Kulish Music and Drama Theatre, was killed this month, according to the Guardian.
Ukraine’s culture ministry announced his death in a Facebook post on Friday.
“After Yuriy Kerpatenko refused to cooperate with the occupiers, the Russian military shot him in his own home. This was reported by journalist Olena Vanina,” the post said when translated.
Leaders of the Russian occupation of the Ukrainian city had wanted to hold a concert “to demonstrate the so-called ‘restoration of peaceful life’ in Kherson. However, the conductor of the orchestra Yuriy Kerpatenko categorically refused to cooperate with the occupiers,” the Ukrainian government post said.
The date of his death was not given.
Russian troops murder Ukrainian conductor Yurky #Kerpatenko for refusing to perform at a concert in occupied #Kherson.
This echoes Stalin’s massacres of Ukrainian artists & intellectuals in the 1930s.
FOLLOW @maksymeristavi @femeninna https://t.co/skVkm3oo0u
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) October 16, 2022
The Kherson province’s regional prosecutor said in a statement that Kerpatenko’s friends and family had stopped hearing from him in September, according to the New York Post.
“Currently, law enforcement officers are taking measures aimed at a quick, complete and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the criminal offense,” the office said.
Musicians and writers condemned Russia.
“The history of Russia imposing a ‘comply or die’ policy against artists is nothing new. It has a history which spans for hundreds of years,” Finnish-Ukrainian conductor Dalia Stasevska said, according to the Guardian.
“I have seen too much silence from Russian colleagues,” she said. “Would this be the time for Russian musicians, especially those living and working abroad, to finally step up and take a stand against the Russian regime’s actions in Ukraine?”
Conductor Semyon Bychkov, music director of the Czech Philharmonic, called the killing “pure genocide.”
“The tragic irony of this is that talk about the superiority of Russian culture, its humanism,” he said. “And here they murdered someone who is actually bringing beauty to people’s lives. It is sickening. The bullets don’t distinguish between people. It didn’t make me feel worse that this man was a conductor, it just confirmed the pure evil that’s been going on even before the first bombs fell on Ukraine.”
Russians shot a conductor for refusing to perform at a concert in Kherson.I know I wouldnt be that brave and that’s why Ukraine will win.I put his name on my keyboard, with the help of my friend @dariahlazatova we will do something for his family, Yuriy Kerpatenko 📷 @aronlaw pic.twitter.com/Z8qNKvaTI9
— Roger O’Donnell (@RogerODonnellX) October 17, 2022
Ukrainian author Oleksandr Mykhed said, “Russia is trying to reconstruct the Soviet Union in the occupied territories.”
“One of the key components of Soviet policy was the destruction of culture of the enslaved countries. Murder of cultural figures, purging of libraries, banning of national languages. The modern occupiers are fully following this strategy. Destroying culture, sports, education. And when our territories are deoccupied, we will learn about dozens and hundreds of such terrible stories. Stories of destruction and heroic resistance,” he said.
Anatoliy Solovianenko, chief stage director of Kyiv’s National Opera of Ukraine, said the issue was very simple.
“Whether he was a doctor, or a worker, or an artist, it makes no difference. He was a human, and he refused to comply,” he said.
Kherson has been occupied by Russia since early March, with the Ukrainian army now moving to re-take the city, according to The New York Times.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.