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Ukrainian Cultural Practitioners Utilize Culture for Defense Against Russian Aggression

On March 16 last year, this theater in Mariupol was bombed and many civilians who took shelter there were killed. But it is not only inside Ukraine that culture becomes part of the war. The country’s artists and performers are involved in an intense defense of its culture.

Despite the war, the Ukrainian cultural practitioners are visible across Europe like never before. Even the male artists. With special permission from the government, they can spread the message about a cultural country in need.

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Galyna Grygorenko is Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy in Ukraine. Her ministry issues the special permits that give men in the cultural sphere the right to travel out of the country. According to her, cultural work outside the country’s borders is still important.

In order to obtain an exit permit, an institution or the cultural practitioner himself needs to submit a certificate to the Ministry of Culture. The application must include, among other things, an official invitation to an international event, date of departure, a work certificate and valid certificates from the Ministry of Defence.

Having a cultural and informative war front is important, says Galyna Grygorenko. With the help of cultural practitioners, Ukraine can influence public opinion in the country’s favor.

Just over a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the minister has seen positive results from the special permits.

What is the role of cultural workers who travel outside of Ukraine compared to, for example, politicians?

Kalush Orchestra’s victory in the Eurovision song contest was also a propaganda victory for the country.

Detaching from Russian culture and asserting Ukrainian independence is an important part of the cultural front, which includes exit permits, says minister Galyna Grygorenko.

The same thought is shared by Mykhailo Sosnovskyi. With Tuesday’s concert “Unbreakable”, he hopes to highlight Ukraine’s message and give comfort with the help of music.

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