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Yuriy Kerpatenko

Yuriy Kerpatenko was a renowned Ukrainian musician and principal conductor of the Kherson Regional Philharmonic. In October 2022, Russian troops killed Kerpatenko in his home at point-blank range after refusing to conduct a concert under the rule of Russian invading forces in Kherson, Ukraine. The concert was meant to portray an “improvement of peaceful life” in the occupied city, but Kerpatenko “categorically refused to cooperate with the occupants,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy later confirmed. Kerpatenko led his hometown’s orchestra for over 20 years before he was murdered. The Havel Prize will be presented posthumously to Kerpatenko for his courageous stance against the Russian forces’ repeated attempts at artwashing their illegal occupation of Ukraine.

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