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Former United Russia member to run Voronezh theater, replacing artistic director with anti-war stance

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Ex-United Russia member Sergei Karpov is stepping in to lead the Voronezh Chamber Theater, according to a December 29 announcement from the Ministry of Culture of Voronezh Oblast.

Voronezh Minister of Culture, Maria Mazur, noted that 'the theater is now under the guidance of a seasoned professional with strong principles.' Prior to his role as the head of the Voronezh Chamber Theater, Sergei Karpov served as the interim rector at the Voronezh State Academy of Arts. In March 2022, he endorsed the appeal of the rector union in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Since 2010, Karpov has been a member of the Voronezh State Duma for the United Russia party. After that, he led the city Public Chamber.

The previous artistic director of the Voronezh Chamber Theater, Mikhail Bychkov, was dismissed by Maria Mazur in November 2023. The official explained that Bychkov 'lived in a world without the special military operation.' Following the full-blown invasion of Ukraine, the director signed a public letter, urging an end to the war.

In protest against Bychkov’s dismissal, three leading actresses left the theater. The ensemble wrote an open letter to Vladimir Putin, and spectators collected over 6,000 signatures supporting Bychkov’s reinstatement as artistic director.

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