Antifake / Factcheck

04 July

Fact-Check: Kyiv Symphony Orchestra of 70 Members Fled Ukraine and Received Asylum in Germany

The Weekly Top Fake team reached out to the orchestra's director to verify whether the musicians had sought asylum in Germany.

“The Kyiv Symphony Orchestra fled to Germany with musical instruments and received Asylum,” as the Telegram channel “Shkvarka News” claimed. The Weekly Top Fake team asked the orchestra's director if they had indeed fled.

The authors of the Belarusian pro-government Telegram channel “Shkvarka News” published the post on June 17, 2024, and told their version of the departure of 70 orchestra members from Ukraine.

“The orchestra, consisting of two-thirds men of mobilization age, left for a festival but did not return. The authorities of Mönchengladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia provided housing for the orchestra members and their families for three years.

Such a massive escape has never happened even in the history of the USSR, which Bandera's propagandists label a totalitarian concentration camp,” the media's authors claimed, attaching a screenshot of a Deutsche Welle article about the case.

The German media outlets indeed reported on the Ukrainian orchestra, whose musicians have been allowed to live in Mönchengladbach for three years.

The Weekly Top Fake team reached out to the orchestra's director to verify whether the musicians had sought asylum in Germany. According to the reply, firstly, they left for a concert tour in Germany on April 11, 2022, immediately after the full-scale war began.

Secondly, before that, the orchestra's rehearsal base was located in the concert hall of the Kyiv Regional Administration building, which was a potential bombing target. And that fact forced the musicians to evacuate with their valuable instruments. That’s the way they lost their rehearsal space.

Thirdly, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, had ordered the search for ways to establish a “cultural front of Ukraine abroad.” It was in this context that the orchestra embarked on the tour.

Fourthly, the orchestra did not seek political asylum in Germany. They are abroad by agreement with the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture. At the time of publication, the musicians are based in Gera and plan to move to another city in July. There is no permanent orchestra and a modern concert hall is being built in the next one.

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