Power, Politics & Performance in Russia: “Grandchildren. The Second Act” + Panel Discussion

Talk Thursday 14 January 2016, 7:00 PM

The Frontline Club and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Sputnik Theatre present four nights of new Russian drama. Featuring exciting and topical plays by British theatre directors and cast – translated into English by Sputnik’s artistic director Noah Birksted-Breen. Each evening will touch upon various aspects of life in Russia covering an array of issues, from the clampdown on theatre and freedom of speech to growing social tensions and immigration.

Grandchildren. The Second Act by Alexandra Polivanova and Mikhail Kaluzhsky

Running time: 55 mins

How do the grandchildren of prominent Stalinists feel when they find out who their beloved grandparents really were? Interviewed by the playwrights over the last couple of years, the protagonists’ grandparents were from Stalin’s inner circle – or members of the Soviet Communist Party or NKVD – and their testimonies bear witness to the very human desire to forgive those we love, even when we know their worst crimes.

Chaired by Gabriel Gatehouse, BBC foreign correspondent who has extensively covered the Ukrainian – Russian crisis. In June 2015, he conducted an exclusive interview with former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich in Moscow for Newsnight.

The panel:

Alexandrina Markvo is an art advisor and entrepreneur, and a leading figure in the arts sector in Moscow. She was forced to flee to the UK in April 2014 following persecution by the Russian government – her application for political asylum is currently under consideration by the UK authorities.

Vladimir Ashurkov is executive director at the Anti-Corruption Foundation, a non-profit established in 2011 by prominent Russian opposition politician, Alexey Navalny. On 1 December 2015, the Anti-Corruption Foundation released a film titled Seagull, accusing the general prosecutor Yuri Chaika’s sons of large-scale corruption and connections to organised crime. The film has made waves in both public and political circles and has garnered over 3.5 million views on YouTube to date.

Prior to pursuing civil and political activities, Ashurkov had a career in finance and served as a director at one of Russia’s largest investment groups, Alfa Group Consortium. He was granted political asylum in the UK in April 2015.

Oliver Bullough is a prize-winning writer, broadcaster and journalist, who has written in, around and about the former Soviet world for the last decade and a half. His book The Last Man in Russia: And the Struggle to Save a Dying Nation is about the effect of Stalinism on future generations. Bullough is currently investigating fraud, money-laundering and international corruption.

John Freedman is an American writer, translator, critic, and scholar of Russian drama and theatre. He has been a theatre critic for The Moscow Times since 1992.