Chulpan Khamatova, a leading Russian actress who has also made several international film appearances, has given an interview saying that she has gone into exile in Latvia, following her country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Khamatova recorded an interview that was broadcast earlier this week on YouTube, explaining that she travelled to Riga on holiday several weeks ago with her daughters, but has decided to stay put rather than return to Russia.
“I thought at the start that I would just wait. Then I signed the petition against the war. And then it was made clear to me it would be undesirable for me to go back,” she said, according to RadioFreeEurope’s translation. “I know I am not a traitor. I love my motherland very much.”
Khamatova added that to make her return to Russia possible, she would either have to deny that a war was taking place or apologize for not supporting what President Vladimir Putin calls a “special military operation.”
“Lie to yourself, lie to the whole world, live not according to the truth,” she said.
Khamatova came to international renown for her role of Lara in the 2003 film Goodbye Lenin! In 2018, she appeared in The White Crow, Ralph Fiennes’ film chronicling the life and professional career of Rudolf Nureyev, and last year’s Cannes Film Festival prize-winning Petrov’s Flu.
She was on the six-person jury headed by Catherine Deneuve at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival in 2006. She also leads the Gift of Life children’s cancer charity in Russia and several years previously appeared in a video praising Putin for his support.
Khamatova is the latest of several Russian cultural stars who have come out against the war being waged by their leader. Olga Smirnova was a principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow until last week, when she left Russia for the Netherlands, and immediately took up a role with the Dutch National Ballet.
Smirnova, who has a Ukrainian grandfather and describes herself as “one-quarter Ukrainian” recently denounced Russia’s invasion of the country.
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