KYIV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has presented the Shevchenko Prize to five Ukrainian artists, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.
Recipients were actress Larysa Kadyrova, poet Pavlo Hirnyk, artist Viktor Honcharov, folk artist Viktor Nakonechny, and historian Volodymyr Melnychenko.
One of the country's highest cultural awards, it includes a renumeration of 160,000 hryvnia ($19,000).
Established in 1961, it honors achievement in literature, fine art, music, theater, cinematography, architecture, performance, and journalism.
Previously, the Shevchenko Prize was routinely awarded to communists, and friends or spouses of committee members.
This year, the awards committeee decided not to award artists in categories where works did not meet the criteria.
The award is named after Taras Shevchenko, the famous 19th-century Ukrainian poet and artist.