Rebel Moscow Theater closes with provocative last show | DayDayNews News of the Russian-Ukrainian War

A Russian film director who fled Russia after criticising the war in Ukraine has condemned the “murder” of his former theatre.

The Gogol Center Theater, one of the last bastions of artistic freedom in Russia, has shut down a provocative final performance called “I’m Not in the War.”

Thursday night’s rousing protest against the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine marked the dramatic end of an era in the Russian capital’s shrinking opposition and intellectual community.

formerly run by a rebel director Kirill SerebrennikovThe Gogol Center, which left Russia after criticizing Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, has staged a decade of bold drama, often testing increasingly stringent laws and Moscow’s sharply conservative shift under Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The final performance on Thursday night brought some in the audience to tears, with the cast reciting poems by Soviet poet and soldier Yuri Levitansky, who was born in what is now Ukraine.

The last play takes its name from Levitansky’s iconic verse: “I don’t take part in the war, it takes part in me”.

At the end of the show, the theater’s outgoing artistic director Alexei Agranovich announced: “The Gogol Center is closed. Forever.”

On Wednesday night, Moscow authorities announced changes to the management of several of Moscow’s top theatres, including the Sovremennik and the Gogol Centre. Authorities said the Gogol Center would return to its old name, the Nikolai Gogol Drama Theater.

Serebrennikov, who was the artistic director of the Gogol Center from 2012 to 2021, accused the authorities of “murdering” the former theater he built into the country’s cultural beacon.

“Yes. The Gogol Center is closed. That’s it,” Serebrennikov wrote on the messaging app Telegram.

“From an artistic point of view, it’s not just destruction – it’s murder.”

He said the change in leadership was a punishment for the venue’s “honesty” and “attempt to freedom,” including protests against Moscow’s efforts to wage war on Ukraine.

The 52-year-old director was caught up in a High-profile fraud case His supporters say it’s the Kremlin’s punishment for challenging Russian authorities.

Another well-known Moscow theatre, Sovremennik, will also undergo management changes, authorities said.

The changes are seen as part of a growing crackdown on any dissent since President Putin sent troops into Ukraine.

Serebrennikov spoke to an audience via video link on Thursday in Avignon, southeastern France.

“The Gogol Center is an idea, an idea of ​​freedom. Freedom is not dead. As long as we live, freedom will exist,” he said.

In his speech, Serebrennikov promised that the theater’s mission would continue despite Moscow’s closure.

“There is this building. There will be another,” he said.

“I hope that one day the war will end and the beautiful Russia of the future will emerge.”

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