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Actors at major Moscow theater record plea to Putin asking for their old artistic director back

Source: Meduza

Cast members at the Maxim Gorky Moscow Art Academic Theater recorded a video message to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to “bring back” Tatiana Doronina, who served as the theater’s artistic director from 1987 to December 2018. Doronina then became the theater’s president as Edward Boyakov took over her role.

The actors argued that “in violation of a Culture Ministry order,” Doronina “has been deprived of all her authority, including her influence on [the theater’s] repertoire and its artistic policies.” As a result, they continued, the theater “is undergoing a wholesale transformation into a showroom” where “low-quality” pieces are replacing the theater’s “classical repertoire.”

Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, responded by saying that appointing artistic directors is “not the head of government’s prerogative” and urging theater employees to compromise. Alexander Zamyslov, the press secretary for the theater’s current artistic director, said he was bewildered by the video because Doronina had requested the theater’s leadership change herself and is currently in poor health. Direct appeals to Vladimir Putin are a regular occurence in Russia, especially in cases where local communities are unable to resolve a resource deficit or a conflict.

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