During World War II, he stayed in Nazi-occupied Poltava where he performed for the Germans. This kind of behavior was considered to be collaboration with enemy by the Soviet authorities, and Gmyrya would be imprisoned and exiled were it not for Nikita Khrushchev's intervention. Gmyrya's partner, Valentina Ishchenko, was not so lucky and was exiled to Vorkuta. A friend of Dmitry Shostakovich, Gmyrya was pressured to withdraw from the premiere of his Thirteenth Symphony. When Shostakovich approached Gmyrya with a request to be a lead soloist, Gmyrya refused for the fear of repercussions.