“I’m ready to fight for my father.” Director Lysovsky’s daughter about ego arrests
On March 12, the director of the Russian “Theatre of Transition” Vsevolod Lysovsky was released from a special detention center after another administrative arrest. In the fall of 2022, he was fined for a post on social networks about the “discrediting” of the Russian army, then he was arrested twice on formal grounds – allegedly “for disobeying” police officers.
Vsevolod Lysovsky is a 55-year-old theater director of the independent Russian Theater.doc, a native of Rostov-on-Don. Two of his plays, “The Magical Country”, staged on the streets of Rostov, and “Akin Opera”, presented in Moscow, received the “Golden Mask” award. In 2016, he created a new popular site “Transformator.doc” for Teatra.doc.
Despite the fact that theater employees and Lysovsky himself were repeatedly persecuted by law enforcement agencies, after the start of the war against Ukraine, the director not only stayed in the country, but also continued to stage plays – for example, about the formation of fascism in Germany in the 20th century.
In February, the director was arrested for 15 days allegedly for disobeying the police officers – on the day of his release, he was again detained on the same charge at the entrance to the detention center. Now he has been re-arrested for 15 days – he considers all the charges to be absurd.
The correspondent of the Kavkaz.Realii project spoke with the director’s daughter Eva Lysovskaya about her father’s case and fears that his persecution will not end with administrative cases.
– Until May 2022, when Vsevolod Lysovsky was detained for the first time, did you have any reason to seriously worry about your father’s safety?
– In 2017, the police twice came to look for a bomb in “Transformator.doc” on the territory of the “Electrozavod” art squat (experimental platform Teatra.doc, created by Lysovsky and his colleagues. Later it had to move due to pressure from the administration of “Electrozavod” and the police. – RS).
As a result, the security forces simply sat on the evidence of the village [служебной] with a dog Prior to that, the father’s computer was seized when Teatre.doc was searched. To be honest, we looked at it with humor. They did not think that it would lead to arrests.
– When the war against Ukraine began, did you not discuss the possibility of leaving Russia?
– At that moment, no. Papa thought it was very important to stay and work now in Russia, where terrible, catastrophic events are taking place, but they are considered a good context for art.
– After February 24, 2022, your father talked about his own tactics of fighting the totalitarian system according to the “one man – one front” scheme. Roughly speaking, he continued to do what he always does – he does not hide, but conducts performances in a guerilla style, so that the security forces only have time for the end of the show. He was detained for the first time on May 9 in a Moscow square, where on that day the play “Chalk Cross” based on Bertold Brecht’s play “Fear and Despair in the Third Empire” about the rise of fascist ideology in Germany was being played. Was this detention a surprise for you?
– Yes, because the pope used a conspiracy. To find out the point where the performance will be held, he asked people to write to him in private messages on social networks. Despite the fact that there was no publicly available information about the meeting place, when they arrived, there were already employees of Center “E” in civilian clothes (Department for countering extremism. – RS) and policemen in uniform.
I must add that two performances of Brecht still passed without the police, there are two successful conspiracy cases.
Stupidity – they pay attention to such trifles as detentions and fines
– How did the events unfold further?
– Twice he was detained without a report, the third time – for 11 hours and charged against him under the article of “discrediting” the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, tried and issued a fine of 50 thousand rubles.
– After that, he didn’t plan to stop?
– No, he planned to continue the old projects and came up with a new one – the cabaret “Trash songs or just don’t talk about it”, for which money is collected through crowdfunding (currently, fundraising has been stopped, the project will not be implemented. – RS).
– Did your father receive any threats?
– There are no direct ones. But the February detentions can be interpreted as warnings. Now everyone around says that it was possible to guess that the authorities do not like what he is doing. But it seems to me that this is stupidity – they pay attention to such trifles as detentions without a protocol, and even more so the “honorable” article about the “discrediting” of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation with a fine of 50,000. These are not some kind of critical situations, and they did not directly tell him: “Stop, or there will be more severe sanctions.” Apparently, he had to figure this out himself.
– On February 10, the day of the first arrest, how did you find out about your father’s arrest and how did the trial go?
All this time, we did not have the opportunity to talk outside the presence of the police
– I was on my way to work when my lawyer friend wrote to me that my father was detained. As it turned out, he was with his girlfriend at the time of his arrest. According to her, the police approached them on the street, arrested the father without talking, without introducing himself, without showing his documents, and dragged him into the car. I know that his phone was taken because I couldn’t call him.
My friend and I immediately called [правозащитный проект] “OVD-Info”, the lawyer Alan Kachmazov, who defended him already in the “discredit” case, went to see the pope. The trial was on the same day, they didn’t let me go there. We found out under which article he was accused (“Disobedience to a police officer.” – RS)only the lawyer almost before the meeting.
– He was then sentenced to 15 days of arrest. How did they go? Did your father complain about something?
– No, he said that the “Sakharovo” temporary detention center is something between a pioneer camp and a sanatorium. It should be noted that neither the one nor the other type established by the Pope arouses special sympathy.
We talked with him every day, they gave him a phone. We also came with him, you see, once in 15 days it is possible to do this to relatives. The employees treated him well, but all this time we had no opportunity to talk outside of the police environment.
– The next detention took place on February 24 at the threshold of the special reception, where your father left. Did you allow such a development of events?
– Honestly, no. We did not count on this. The arrest happened when my father and I were talking on the phone. I called to ask where he is. He says: “Everything is fine, I’m leaving.” And then loud male voices appeared, from the context it was clear that these are policemen, who else can be around the special reception?
The father was arrested on the porch, but access to the porch was blocked by the police
I didn’t hear what they were saying, only the phrase “Hang up” and the call ended. Unfortunately, I realized what was happening only after 30 minutes. I thought that these were some bureaucratic moments. In my opinion, the police are quite rude people: they shout and shout – they always shout. Only after half an hour I realized that, apparently, the pope was detained. I made a post [в соцсетях]called the lawyers.
Our friend Dasha and two documentarians met the father, but they never saw him. At that moment, there were about five policemen near the porch, a couple of cars. The entrance to the parking lot was blocked by DPS cars, and no one was allowed to the porch either. They said that some kind of police event was being held. Even people who brought gifts to their relatives were escorted almost by the hand, no one was allowed to move in front of the police station. The father was arrested on the porch, but access to the porch was blocked by the police.
– How does the official version of the Ministry of Internal Affairs sound, according to which your father was detained for the second time?
– According to their version, the pope went out on the porch, started swearing at the policemen, waving his hands. The Pope said that he was still accused of pushing. But as I understand it, this is not the case, otherwise it is resistance to the police, the second article, not disobedience. The Pope talked about pushing in his speech in court, but I think it is incorrect from the point of view of legal language.
– How was the trial? What witnesses were presented there?
– I should have been the main witness. But the witnesses were not admitted, the court did not grant the request for this. Video recordings from outdoor surveillance cameras [с крыльца, где произошло задержание] they didn’t give either. At the same time, I was also not allowed in the courtroom.
We practically do not come across a position that would be on the side of the police
– Sometimes, if a person is detained under an administrative article and imprisoned for 15 days, this is the time the police take to find something for a more serious article.
– As the lawyers told me, this practice is widespread. This was done, for example, by [оппозиционными политиками Ильей] Yashin and [Алексеем] In bulk. We are preparing for intensive work with lawyers, including a criminal case, but with the intention of winning.
– When I asked you about the possibility of leaving the country, you said that you did not think about it at the beginning of the year. And now?
– At the trial, the pope said that he understood their hint and would consider options for emigration. I would not like to share our specific plans if it would interfere with their implementation.
– After the second detention, a petition was created in his support, which was signed by more than 1,000 people. How many people around you are not afraid to express support?
– Considering the number of likes, which is unusual for my Facebook page, people are not afraid to express their support. Colleagues and acquaintances of the father consider what happened to him to be unfair and outrageous. Preparing for the trial, we collected about 15 positive characteristics for it, including legal entities.
My father’s wife, Veronika Aktanova, and I receive many messages of support and offers of help. We practically do not come across a position that would be on the side of the police.
I am convinced that the Pope acted honestly, correctly, in accordance with his convictions. He is also moving in the right direction in art. The problem is clearly not with the father, he did everything right. I do not feel powerless, on the contrary, I am completely collected and ready to fight for my father.
- According to the research of Novaya Gazeta. Evropa, the initiation of a criminal case, including on serious charges, is often preceded by an administrative arrest of the accused, sometimes multiple times and several times in a row.
- In December 2019, a performance called “All necessary information about the world, told in the form of 33 okrosheks” directed by Vsevolod Lysovsky took place in the workshops of the Garage Museum at VDNH. A company of young people, among whom artists predominated, helped the author prepare okroshki, consisting of the most unexpected components. He talked about this performance with Radio Svoboda.
- Mikhail Ugarov and Elena Gremina, the founders of Teatr.Doc, died in 2018 with a difference of 45 days, and their student Zarema Zaudinova puts on performances so that the theater, which has endured so much persecution from the authorities, is preserved and given new life. Maksym Pak****v’s film “New Doc” is about it.