Russia orders arrest of movie producer, director who criticized Ukraine war

A portrait of a smiling man with close-cropped dark hair, wearing glasses, a dark acket and white shirt
Russian movie producer Alexander Rodnyansky, whose films have received Oscar nominations, has spoken out against the war in Ukraine.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)

A Moscow court has ordered the arrest of prominent movie producer Alexander Rodnyansky, whose films have received Oscar nominations, and theater director Ivan Vyrypaev for “spreading false information” about the Russian army.

The initial court hearings against Rodnyansky and Vyrypaev were held April 27 but not reported by the court until Wednesday.

According to the court’s press service, Rodnyansky and Vyrypaev, who are outside Russia, will be arrested once Russian authorities manage to detain them or to get them extradited. Russia’s Interior Ministry additionally put Vyrypaev on the federal wanted list.


Rodnyansky, who was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, has been among the most influential figures in Russian cinema in recent decades. He left Russia after the military invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and has repeatedly spoken out against the war. In October, Russia’s Justice Ministry declared Rodnyansky a “foreign agent.”

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His movies “Leviathan” and “Loveless” both received Academy Award nominations. The former won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film in 2015.

Popular playwright, director and actor Vyrypaev has been living and working in Warsaw for several years and has also spoken in opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Also on Wednesday, a Moscow court handed opposition figure and anti-war activist Mikhail Krieger a seven-year prison sentence.

Krieger was arrested in November on charges of justifying terrorism and inciting hatred with the threat of violence, relating to social media posts from 2020 in which he praised the organizers of attacks at Federal Security Service buildings and referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hanging. Prosecutors on Tuesday requested a nine-year sentence.

In court, just before his sentencing, Krieger said that he was being prosecuted for his “anti-war and now openly pro-Ukrainian position.”


Since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine, the government has waged a crackdown on dissent at a level unseen since the Soviet era. The sweeping campaign has criminalized criticism of the war. In addition to fines and jail sentences, those accused have been fired, blacklisted and branded as “foreign agents” or have fled Russia.