Liya Akhedzhakova: Never before have we been asked to take ‘loyalty tests’, tests of human decency and commitment to Russia’s great culture

3 March 2022

by Viktoriya Kataeva for

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source:]

Liya Akhedzhakova, a People’s Artist of Russia and holder of a Moscow Helsinki Group prize for human rights, has refused to resign from Moscow’s Sovremennik Theatre although she remains opposed to the special military operation in Ukraine. She was speaking to in response to a suggestion from State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin that figures from the world of culture who did not support the special operation should stand down from their posts in state establishments. 

“I don’t know what I think about it (Vyacheslav Volodin’s suggestion – I think what’s happening in Ukraine is madness. But I am not going to write a letter of resignation from the theatre in connection with adopting this position,” Akhedzhakova declared.

She said that at Sovremmenik she acts in some performances with young actors who have also “adopted a specific stance on the Russia-Ukraine issue” so that “the upshot would be to sack everyone and shut the theatre down”.

She went on to say, “Never before have we been asked to take ‘loyalty tests’, tests of human decency and commitment to Russia’s great culture. I cannot recall needing to chose whether I was on the side of the Defence Ministry or of drug addicts, Nazis and Benderites.” 

Earlier, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that cultural figures opposed to President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine and employed by Russian state cultural establishments should quit their posts. Volodin said that those who adopted a collaborationist position and betrayed their people and their state were despised abroad as well as at home. 

On 2 March, 110 cultural figures sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin containing words of support for his actions n Ukraine. Nikolai Burlyayev, Dmitry Pevtsov, Maria Shukshina and Zakhar Pelevin were among those who stressed that “bloodshed is dreadful but delay would be tantamount to the death, the annihilation of our country.”

Translated by Melanie Moore

Leave a Reply