People of Culture Taken Away by the War (updating)
Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, our heavenly defenders have been replenished with people of art: actors, artists, sculptors, and linguists. In this article, the Ukrainian PEN monitors losses among cultural figures.
On May 14, it became known that a Korean language teacher and translator, Denis Antipov, was killed in a battle with the occupiers near Izyum in the Kharkiv region. An ATO veteran, he returned to the frontline as the Armed Forces of Ukraine serviceman. Denis Antipov worked at the Department of Languages and Literatures of the Far East and Southeast Asia at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. He taught Korean language and repeatedly did internships in South Korea.
On May 8, a writer, doctor of sociology and professor of Mariupol State University Bohdan Slyushchynsky was killed in Mariupol. There, he founded the literary and artistic almanac Mariupol, headed the student literary association Pearls of the Word. Author of the books Tired Hope, Echo, In the Embrace of Time, Autumn Windmill, Sources, Dawn Dew, Breath of the Wind.
On May 7, Ilya Chernilevskyi, a poet, screenwriter, musician and translator was killed in Avdiivka area as a result of mortar shelling of the enemy. He went to the front as a volunteer. On May 7, the connection with him was lost. The information about his death was released on May 13. Ilya Chernilevskyi is the son of the famous poet, film director and member of PEN Ukraine Stanislav Chernilevskyi.
On May 3, it became known that Natalia Kharakoz, a journalist, writer, member of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine and the National Union of Writers of Ukraine, and head of the Azovia Literary Club, passed away in blockaded Mariupol. Her house was destroyed. The woman was forced to live and hide in the basement. Natalia Kharakoz died in early April, but due to the lack of mobile connection, it was difficult to obtain any information about the circumstances of her death.
On April 30, Lyubov Panchenko, a Sixtier artist, died at the age of 84. For a month, she was starving in occupied Bucha. Exhausted, she was taken to one of Kyiv’s hospitals on April 2. Lyubov Mykhailivna Panchenko was a professional Ukrainian designer, an honorary citizen of Bucha, a laureate of the Vasyl Stus Award, and a member of the Ukrainian Women’s Union. Lyubov Panchenko belongs to a group of artists of the sixties who revived Ukrainian culture during the Khrushchev thaw. Before the war, she managed to save her creative heritage by passing it to the Museum of the Sixtiers Movement.
On April 23, two young actresses of the local Concept Theater, Elizaveta Ochkur and Sonya Amelchikova, were killed during the shelling of Mariupol’s residential areas by the Russian occupiers. They both played Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe play, based on the book from The Chronicles of Narnia series.
On April 22, it became known that Serhiy Skald, a poet, a serviceman and a public activist, was killed in Mariupol. He took part in the Revolution of Dignity and the ATO. Serhiy Skald is the author of poetry collections Navylit. Rhymes of Caliber 5.45 (Orientir publishing house, 2018) and Other (2021), and a co-author of the nationalist poetry collection Voice of Blood.
On April 21, historian and writer Serhiy Burov died in besieged Mariupol. He devoted his life to researching the history of the city, and was its honorary citizen. Burov’s first book Mariupol. The Past was published in 2003. In 2011 his second book Mariupol and Its People was released. The circumstances of Serhiy Burov’s death are currently unknown.
On April 3, Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravičius was killed in blockaded Mariupol. In 2016, he directed the film Mariupolis about the war in Donbas. The film was regarded as "human history against the background of historical upheavals." The premiere took place in 2016 at the Berlin International Film Festival.
In the evening of the same day it became known that Ukrainian poet and the member of National Union of Writers Nadiia Agafonova was among those killed during the Russian missile strike on the Mykolayiv Regional State Administration.
On April 2, journalist Yevhen Bal died in Melekine near Mariupol. On March 18, he was illegally arrested by the Russian soldiers. Yevhen’s house was searched, and he was tortured. Severely beaten, he was released three days later. The death of Yevhen Bal is a consequence of the injuries inflicted by the occupiers. Yevhen did not live to his 79th birthday for only six days. Bal was the author of numerous reports about the war in Ukraine, a member of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, a writer, and a volunteer.
On April 1, Ukrainian writer, poet, and public activist Yuriy Ruf was killed in battle in the Luhansk region. He joined the Armed Forces on the first day of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Among Yuriy Ruf’s publications are "Crimson Lyric" (2012), "Time of the Revolution" (2014), "At the turn of the ages" (2015). Yuri’s poetry was included in the contemporary poetry collections "Voice of Blood" (2013) and "Echoes of Lead Thunder" (2015).
On March 27, Sviatoslav Pashinsky, a teacher at the Poltava Children’s Art School, a sculptor and ceramist from Poltava, was killed by an enemy bullet. Pashinsky was a member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine and a laureate of the Yaroshenko Sculpture Prize.
On March 24, Ukrainian historian, translator, and publicist Serhiy Zaikovsky was killed during an assault on the Lukyanivka village in the Kyiv region. He was a graduate of Kharkiv National University named after Karazin and specialised in the history of the ancient world and the Middle Ages.
Ballet soloist of the National Opera of Ukraine, 43-year-old Artem Datsyshyn died on March 17 in hospital. On February 26, he came under enemy fire in the capital of Ukraine and has since fought for his life in hospital. Artem Datsyshyn was a laureate of the 1996 International Serhiy Lifar Ballet Competition and 1998 Rudolf Nuriev International Ballet Competition. He performed leading roles in the ballets "Swan Lake", "Nutcracker", "Sleeping Beauty", "Giselle", "Don Quixote", "Bayaderka", and "Romeo and Juliet" and others.
On March 16, 67-year-old Oksana Shvets, a Kyiv National Academic Molodyy Theater actress, was killed in the shelling of a residential building in Kyiv. She was awarded the title of Merited Artist of Ukraine in 1996. She graduated from the Theater Studio at the Ivan Franko Theater (1975) and Faculty of Theater Studies, Kyiv State Institute of Theater Arts.named after I. Karpenko-Kary (1986). She worked at the Ternopil Music and Drama Theater, Kyiv Satire Theater and the Molodyy Theater (1980-2022).
On March 12, 24-year-old social theatre actor and sound director Pavlo Yeremenko died. Together with his father, he joined the Territorial defence forces on the first day of the war. His girlfriend Oksana followed him to defend the country. On March 11, Pavlo and his father guarded the Yuri Gagarin Stadium in Chernihiv and came under morning shelling. Pavlo was crushed down with a slab and died within a day in the hospital. His father survived.
On March 7, artist and volunteer Artem Azarov was killed in the battle for Kharkiv. He came under mortar fire, helping the Armed Forces to carry out combat missions. He had the callsign "Artist".
On March 6, 33-year-old Ukrainian actor Pavlo (Pasha) Lee died defending Irpin. He joined the defence forces on March 1. He died rescuing children during the evacuation. Pavlo put his bulletproof vest on the child he was carrying and was mortally wounded. The hero was buried in Vorokhta in the Ivano-Frankivsk region on March 18. Actor Pavlo Lee was known for his roles in the films "Gallery", "Shadows of Unforgotten Ancestors", "Meeting of Classmates" and others. He also worked as a voice actor.
On March 5, in Bucha near Kyiv, Russian occupiers shot dead Church Slavonic and Greek language teacher, historian, and translator Oleksandr Kisliuk. He worked as a teacher of ancient languages, translated classical texts to modern language, and had publications on the history of the Cossacks based on Latin sources.
On March 3, Ukrainian artist Oleksandr Tarasenko died at the Poltava Military Hospital. Serving in the territorial forces of defence, he suffered severe shrapnel wounds in the battle of Okhtyrka. Oleksandr Tarasenko was an associate professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Poltava University of Civil Engineering and a member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine. He is the author of the iconostasis of the Church of Simeon in the Mykhailyka village of Shyshak district, and the iconostasis of the Trinity Church in the Velyki Budyshcha village of Dykansky district.
On the night of March 2, Sergiy Pushchenko, a graphic artist, painter and volunteer, was killed in a battle against Russian troops near Vasilkov. Honoured Artist of Ukraine, author of over 900 paintings. The main theme of Pushchenko’s work was the Ukrainian Cossacks: he created a series of paintings between 2015 and 2018, and he painted portraits of volunteer soldiers from nature. The series includes 113 works.
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