It has become known where the security guard of the Kherson theater, who was appointed director by the occupiers, fled with the People's Artist of Ukraine
Valeriy Sheludko, a Ukrainian who was appointed director of the Mykola Kulish Kherson Regional Music and Drama Theater during the occupation, escaped with the invaders after the city was liberated. The collaborator is now organizing his "recitals" in the occupied territories.
Olena Khokhlatkina, People's Artist of Ukraine, leading actress of the Ivan Franko National Theater, told OBOZ.UA in an interview. She once worked with Sheludko in the Kherson theater.
"This character is very funny in his desire to be great. A short man who dreamed of becoming very visible," says Olena Khokhlatkina, "For this purpose, he once gave himself a kind of Hollywood smile, and this made him even funnier. When I was working in the theater, he was a stagehand. And I must say that we had a good relationship. We all had a good relationship - the theater was small, and we treated each other like family."
Sheludko has the title of Honored Worker of Culture of Ukraine. He has worked at the theater since 1989. At first he was a stage assembler, later he was transferred to the position of assistant director, and acted as head of the editing department. For some time, he was the head of the theater's artistic and production department, where he worked until he left the theater in July 2021. In August 2021, he was rehired as a security guard.
When the occupiers entered Kherson, the current director of the theater, Oleksandr Knyga, was arrested. However, thanks to the instantaneous powerful publicity, he was released. Later, Knyga and his family managed to leave the region. Sheludko went on to cooperate with the occupiers. In interviews with Russian propagandists, the traitor said that art should be outside politics, and called the war in Ukraine a "military operation." When the occupiers left Kherson, Sheludko fled Kherson with the theater staff, who also colluded with the aggressors.
"Nowadays, one of my colleagues often sends me videos of what he and a group of several actors who fled with him are doing now," says Olena Khokhlatkina, "They went to the left bank with the occupiers. How else could they have done? He would have been in prison by now. What would he say: that he was forced to betray? It will be very difficult to justify this. A part of the cast and workers of the shops are with him. Now they are based either in Henichesk or Skadovsk. They call themselves the Kherson Drama Theater. They work in some club, travel to the occupied villages, give concerts."
"There are three and a half cripples in the troupe and the main actor is this Sheludko. Among them is the People's Artist of Ukraine and another actor who was a leading actor in our theater, I must say - a strong professional, a characteristic actor, but a person, as we can see, not so much. Now it's a comedy group. And a director with a Hollywood smile. Both laughter and sin. I can imagine how they feel: they lived well, had everything-housing, salary, roles, fans. They were loved in Kherson, and now they are like freaks."
Meanwhile, the Kherson Kulish Music and Drama Theater, headed by director Oleksandr Knyga, is now working only in a shelter. According to Olena Khokhlatkina, there is no way to go on stage: "There are arrivals every hour." "There are projects, one-man shows, and the actors travel around Ukraine with them," Khokhlatkina adds. "One of the plays, 'You will be as the witch says,' is about what Kherson residents experienced during the occupation. The plot is based on the story of a woman who lost all her property after the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station was blown up, but did not break down. The main role is played by People's Artist of Ukraine Olena Gall-Savalska."
Read the full interview with actress Olena Khokhlatkina later.
As OBOZ.UA previously reported, the star of the Mykola Kulish Theater, People's Artist of Ukraine Ruzhena Rubleva faces up to 12 years in prison for collaborating with the occupiers in Kherson.