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Actress Liya Akhedzhakova Accused of Treason

Igor Ivanko / Moskva News Agency

On Tuesday the State Prosecutor’s Office in Russia received a petition to declare actress Liya Akhezhakova a foreign agent and charge her with several crimes, including treason, Current Time and other media announced.

Vitaly Borodin, the head of a non-governmental organization called The Federal Security and Anti-Corruption Foundation sent a missive to Igor Krasnov, denouncing the popular actress. Borodin stated that his organization had been “following for a long time the comments and actions" of Liya Akhedzhakova, who “regularly criticized the decisions taken by state bodies and the president.” He quoted one of her comments to Ukrainian television, which began “May God protect you! I wish you victory!”

“Considering the content and public nature” of her statements, Borodin called for her to be stripped of her many state awards, declared a foreign agent, and charged with three articles of the criminal code: treason, discrediting the armed forces, and fomenting hatred.

In February the Sovremenik Theater that Akhedzhakova joined in 1977 canceled the plays she performed in, effectively depriving her of work. At the end of March, Akhedzhakova formally resigned from the theater.

Liya Akhedzhakova is one of the country’s most celebrated and beloved actresses, whose more than 50-year career in film and theater brought accolades and awards, including Theater Star, People’s Artist of the Russia, Order “For Merit to the Homeland,” and two Nika Awards. A stalwart supporter of human rights and democracy since the late Soviet period, she she has spoken out in the media and before the public many times.

On April 8 the 84-year-old actress said that she knew there was “slander” against her. “They found that I’d committed a felony,” she said. “I’ve been accused of the most heinous and serious crime that anyone can be accused of these days — supporting the Ukrainian army. That’s treason, up to 20 years in prison.”

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