Russia orders arrest of prominent producer and director who criticized Ukraine war


TALLINN, Estonia—A Moscow court has ordered the arrest of prominent film producer Aleksandr Rodnyansky and theater director Ivan Viripayev for “spreading false information” about the Russian military.

The first court hearing against Rodnyansky and Vilipayev took place on April 27, but the court did not report until Wednesday.

Rodnyansky and Vilipayev, who are outside Russia, will be detained if Russian authorities successfully detain or extradite them, the court’s press service said. The Russian Interior Ministry also added Vilipaev to the federal wanted list.

Kiev-born Rodnyansky has been one of the most influential figures in Russian cinema in recent decades. He left Russia after the country launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and has repeatedly publicly spoken out against the war. In October 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice declared Rodnyansky a “foreign spy.”

A popular playwright, director and actor, Viripayev has lived and worked in Warsaw for several years and has spoken out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Also on Wednesday, a Moscow court sentenced opposition figure and anti-war activist Mikhail Krieger to seven years in prison.

In November, Krieger praised the organizers of the FSB building raid and linked a 2020 social media post that referred to the hanging of Russian President Vladimir Putin, justifying terrorism and threatening hatred with violence. He was arrested on suspicion of incitement. Prosecutors on Tuesday sought nine years in prison.

In court just before the sentencing, Krieger said he was being charged with “anti-war and now openly pro-Ukrainian stances.”