Open letter in support of director Yevhen Lavrenchuk, addressed to the Governments of the Republic Italy and Ukraine

Open letter in support of director Yevhen Lavrenchuk, addressed to the Governments of the Republic Italy and Ukraine

The Directors Guild of Ukraine is deeply concerned with the detainment of Ukrainian director Yevhen Lavrenchuk in Italy based on the demand of the Russian Federation for his extradition.

As can be seen from the press announcements, the Russian side insists that he allegedly committed “financial violations” on Russian soil eight years ago. The director is detained in custody at the penitentiary facility in Naples since December 17, 2021.

Yavhen Lavrenchuk graduated from the Russian University of Theater Arts (GITIS, the workshop of Roman Viktyuk) and the Higher Courses for Film Directors in Moscow. At the time, he became the youngest production director in the Russian Federation. His graduation work had been staged at different venues from 2003 till 2015. In 2004, he established the “Polish Theater in Moscow”, which actively staged different performances, conducted educational programs and acting workshops. In 2013, the director was honoured by the Government of the Republic of Poland for his contribution into the development of Polish culture. 

The director refutes all accusations of alleged financial violations incriminated by the Russian Federation, for which extradition is demanded. During the period of his work in the Russian Federation, Yevhen Lavrenchuk, as many other artists, was suppressed for promoting the principles of free creativity. In 2011, he was accused of “promoting homosexuality” in his performances “Dragon” and “Anna Karenina” in the Tomsk Youth Theatre. He filed a lawsuit to protect his honour and dignity, but Tomsk court rejected Lavrenchuk’s claim in 2013.

In 2014 Yevhen Lavrenchuk left the territory of the Russian Federation to show his disapproval of the occupation of the Crimea and the hostilities against  Ukraine in Donbas, and the director has publicly stated his disapproval several times.

We invite your attention to the fact that systematic and numerous prosecutions are taking place in the Russian Federation, aimed against journalists, advocates, opposition figures, ecological activists, human rights activists and artists. The world was shocked in 2021 by the decision of the Russian Federation to liquidate the International Historical and Educational Society “Memorial”, founded by the scientist and human rights activist Sakharov to preserve the memory of Stalin’s repressions.

The Russian Federation regularly misuses the international law enforcement cooperation between the countries and uses the Interpol system for its political causes. In spring 2017 the report for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe named the Russian Federation, together with Republic of Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the countries actively using the “red card” system for political persecutions.

In addition to that, torture and abusive treatment of people is an integral part of the law enforcement system in the Russian Federation, which is evidenced by the reports of the international organizations and by the numerous videos submitted to, showing the beating and rape of convicts in penitentiary facilities and hospitals.

The whole European civilization is built upon the principles of justice originating from Rome. And it is the Roman law that is used in most countries of the world as a paragon of justice. European values include, among others, the value of each human life, the respect for personal dignity, integrity and immunity, rights and freedoms of each person. We sincerely hope that Italy will not go astray from the fundamental principles lying in the core of its legal system, and will not allow dirty politics to take advantage over the rule of law.

The Directors Guild of Ukraine hereby addresses the Government of the Republic of Italy and the Government of Ukraine, and to the international human rights organisations, in particular, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU), with the appeal to exert special control and supervision over Yevhen Lavrenchuk’s case in order to protect the Ukrainian theatre director from unsubstantiated prosecution and to prevent his extradition to the Russian Federation, the aggressor state that persecutes and kills Ukrainian citizens..

 Zhanna Maksymenko-Dovhych, Director, Head of the Directors Guild of Ukraine, Member of the  Documentary Association of Europe  

Yuliya Myronenko, Director, Writer, Member of the Directors Guild of Ukraine   

Oksana Artmeneko, Director, Scriptwrite

Serhiy Lysenko, Director, Member of the Ukrainian Directors Guild of Ukraine   

Maryna Artemenko, Director, Scriptwriter

 Ganna Yarovenko, Director

 Halyna Lavrynets, Director

 Anna Buryachkova, Director

 Maksym Rudenko, Director, Member of the Directors Guild of Ukraine

 Zhanna Ozirna, Director, Scriptwriter

 Oleksandra Brovchenko, Director, Scriptwriter

 Olha Zhurba, Director

 Anna Smoliy, Director, Scriptwriter, Producer

Olesya Morgunets-Isaenko, Director

 Ivan Sautkin, Director, founder of “Zhovid the Residence” art residence

 Oksana Voitenko, Director, member of the Directors Guild of Ukraine and Ukrainian Film Academy

 Polina Kelm, Director, member of the Directors Guild of Ukraine, Ukrainian Film Academy and Documentary Association of Europe

 Volodymyr Tykhyi, Director, Producer

 Andriy Kotliar, Director of photography, Producer

 Natalka Vorozhbyt, Scriptwriter, Director

 Oleksandra Matviychuk, human rights activist, Head of the Centre for Civil Liberties

 Gennadiy Kofman, Producer, Member of the European Film Academy, Member of the Board at the Ukrainian Film Academy

 Roman Liubyi, Film Director, Member of the “Babylon 13” Association

Oleg Sentsov, Director

Maxym Butkevych, human rights activist, Coordinator of “Without Borders” Project   

Bohdana Smyrnova, Film Director

Olga Reshetylova, Coordinator of the Media Initiative for Human Rights

Alisa Kovalenko, Director

Oksana Ivantsiv, Producer, Head of the NGO “Arts&Rights”

Olena Maksiom, Director

Volodymyr Kharchenko-Kulykovskyi, Director 

Maryna Stepanska, Director

Volodymyr Voitenko, Film Expert, Head of the Board  at the Association of Film Critics of Ukraine

Anton Baibakov, Composer

Maxym Kurochkin, dramaturge, scriptwriter

Iaroslav Pilunskyi, Director of Photography. Nominee of the Taras Shevchenko National Prize

Arkadii Nepytaliuk, Director

Svitlana Lishchynska, Director, Scriptwriter

Alex Umanskiy, Director

Serhii Stetsenko, Director of Photography. Nominee of the Taras Shevchenko National Prize

Anna Kapustina, producer, member of the Ukrainian Film Academy 

Rob Feldman, actor, member of Ukrainian Film Academy 

Andriy Kokotucha, scriptwriter

​​Ukrainian Film Academy

Andrii Ponomarov, composer

Yuri Shevchuk, film scholar, Director of the Ukrainian Film Club of Columbia University in the City of New York, the United States.

Yuri Kulinich, actor

Manuk Depoyan, animation director, member of the Ukrainian Film Academy

Daria Balabai, film director, member of Ukrainian Film Academy, journalist

Sashko Balabai, audio visual artist, film director, member of Ukrainian Film Academy, journalist

Olga Birzul. Cultural manager, cinema curator

Iren Rozdobudko, writer, scriptwriter

Igor Zhuk, scriptwriter

Olga Samolevska, Director, Scriptwriter

Kateryna Slipchenko, journalist

Alexandr Gusev, film critic

Darya Bassel, producer, head of industry platform of Docudays UA International Documentary Human Rights Film Festival

Andriy Yaremiy, Costume designer

Natali Stepaneeva, Costume designer

Oleksandr Davydenko, film director

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