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Beloved Russian Actress Resigns From Moscow Theater Over War Criticism

Actress Liya Akhedzhakova. Sergei Savostyanov / TASS

Celebrated Soviet and Russian actress Liya Akhedzhakova has resigned from the Moscow theater where she has worked for 46 years following her outspoken criticism of the war in Ukraine, Novaya Gazeta reported on Thursday. 

Moscow’s Sovremennik Theater 
effectively ended the actress’s decades-long career at the theater in February when it canceled a production of “The Gin Game” in which she had been set to star. According to Novaya Gazeta, the actress wrote her letter of resignation to the theater management the following day.

Akhedzhakova, who has been a vocal critic of both the Russian annexation of Crimea and its subsequent full-scale invasion of Ukraine, now plans on touring plays that have been banned in Russia internationally, Novaya Gazeta reported, noting that in March Akhedzhakova performed in a production of the banned Lyudmila Ulitskaya play "My Grandson Benjamin" in Cyprus.

Despite having received several proposals to take other plays on tour, Akhedzhakova has no plans to go into exile, Novaya Gazeta reported.

As an actress, Akhedzhakova has appeared in over 50 films, but is perhaps best known to the Russian public for playing Verochka, the secretary in the classic 1977 Soviet comedy "Office Romance."

Her subsequent career at The Sovremennik Theater was equally illustrious and earned her multiple awards and critical acclaim.

A vocal human rights activist when she isn't treading the boards, Akhedzhakova was awarded a prize for her work protecting "human rights through culture and the arts" by the now-disbanded Moscow Helsinki Group in 2013.

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