The Russian Association of Theater Critics (ATK) addressed the Union of Theater Workers of Russia and personally Alexander Kalyagin with a letter in support of the TEATR. magazine, whose activities were suspended for an indefinit period. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, TEATR. had kept (up to and including March 3, 2022) an online chronicle listing effects and reactions to the war in culture. Editor in Chief Marina Davydova already left Russia almost five weeks ago after publishing via Facebook an TEATR. online a statement against the Russian invasion of the Ukraine: “We consider Ukraine an independent and autonomous country, …We do not want Russia to become a rogue state. We want the bloodshed to stop immediately.” ATK reminds that “Magazine TEATR. is one of the very few specialized journals left in the country where there is still room for professional criticism and academic theater studies…The journal invites, in addition to theater critics, prominent scientists, thinkers and publicists to cooperate, and thus enters the theater into a wider circle of humanitarian thought, and articles not only about Russian, but also about foreign events and personalities create an important field of international context.”
Ahead of schedule, on March 28, the Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow granted the petition of Kirill Serebrennikov to cancel the probation and early removal of the conviction. The petition was sent by Serebrennikov’s lawyers, Dmitry Kharitonov and Elena Oreshnikova, on the grounds that half of the probation period prescribed for their ward expired on December 26, 2021, and the punishment in the form of paying a fine of 800,000 rubles was executed voluntarily and in full , as well as payment of compensation for damage to the Ministry of Culture in the amount of 128,974,690 rubles.
For many countries in Europe, World Theater Day 2022, which celebrates the theater arts and their unifying power, is marked by the war in Ukraine. There, theatres are becoming shelters for the inhabitants of their cities, being shelled and reduced to rubble. Millions of civilians are fleeing Russia’s military, which has also unleashed terror against dissidents in its own country. As a social media campaign (#WorldTheatreDay2022) of ITI Germany and Deutscher Bühnenverein, association of German theatres and orchestras, the Ukrainian author Natalia Vorozhbyt gives her message to the World Theatre Day 2022 in front of the picture of the destroyed theatre of Mariupol, Ukraine. The Video will be played in all German theatres on March 27.
“Today, the 60th World Theatre Day, is marked by destruction and terror. With Russia’s war against Ukraine, we are experiencing an escalating spiral of violence with unforeseeable consequences for us all. Our solidarity is with the victims of the war and it is with all those who rebel against it” (Yvonne Büdenhölzer, President ITI Germany).
In their Statement for Peace and a Constructive Dialogue the President and the Secretary General of the ITI refer to the Preamble of the UNESCO Constitution of 1945: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed” and affirm that “Our purpose is to overcome divisions, and to keep the lines of communication wide open between all peoples of the world.”
According to the National Union of Theatre Artists of Ukraine, art director Oleksandr Knyha was arrested and taken away with unknown destination during searches of Russian military forces after the occupation of Kherson in the premises of the Kherson Theatre on May 23. Knyha is chairman of the Eurasian Theatre Association, president of the Melpomene Tavria International Theatre Festival and a member of the Kherson Regional Council. Knyha’s wife, Oksana, was also arrested.
Viktor Havrilyuk, artistic director of the Kherson Academic Regional Puppet Theatre was detained on March 22 during street demonstrations in Kherson. Bogdan Strutynskyi, Chairman of the National Union of Theatre Artists of Ukraine writes in his statement: “We call on the whole world’s theatre community to join in our demands to liberate Ukrainian artist Oleksandr Knyha. We need to make known the horrid acts of violence and repression unleashed by the Russian military against the Ukrainian culture figures and do everything possible and impossible to ensure their freedom. The world must be aware of these war crimes!” Sources report that Knyha was released late last night.
Over 18.000 artists and cultural workers across Russia have signed an open letter for peace in Ukraine, published on February 25th. The war “…will take away our last opportunities to fully work, speak out, create projects, popularize and develop culture, and take away the future. Everything that has been done culturally over the past 30 years is now at risk.” “We, artists, curators, architects, critics, art critics, art managers, representatives of the culture and art of the Russian Federation, express our absolute solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We demand immediate peace talks.”
Because of an amendment to the law passed today (March 4th) by the Russian parliament that makes spreading false information about the Russian army subject to heavy fines and imprisonment of up to 15 years, the initiators decided to remove the original terms “war” and “invasion” from the text. Update: The open letter and the list of subscribers has since been depublished.
European artists and cultural organisations are urging world leaders to support civil society to continue active collaboration with Ukraine. Initiated by the European Theatre Convention, 27 signatories from performing arts and cultural networks are ready to receive and host artists, to stage performances, to organise events, to inform and facilitate access to resources, to advocate for a peaceful solution. “We stress that the European cultural sector is united and that you can count on us.”