Viktor Shenderovich: Russian Writer and Activist Was Denied Entry to His Own London Concert

On Friday, 19 May, University College London (UCL) just one hour before the event and without explanation abruptly cancelled Viktor Shenderovich’s scheduled performance leaving him as well as the event organisers and guests perplexed and unable to access the venue.


On May 19th, just an hour before Viktor Shenderovich’s concert was supposed to take place in the intended venue, determined security guards appeared and demanded that everyone evacuate the premises. At that time, the most devoted attendees had already arrived in the auditorium, some of them even coming from different cities, eager to secure the best seats.

After negotiations with the security personnel and attempts to understand the reason behind this misunderstanding, the organizers and guests reluctantly had to leave the building. Outside, the remaining guests waited, but they were denied entry into the venue. The cancellation occurred merely an hour before the event was scheduled to begin, leaving everyone doubtful about the reasons behind such an abrupt turn of events.

However, to avoid disappointing the audience and fulfil their tour commitments, Viktor and the organisers swiftly reached an agreement to arrange a spontaneous performance in the nearby Regent’s Park. Despite the looming clouds and drizzle, more than 200 guests followed Viktor from UCL Cruciform Building to the park. The devoted fans of all ages joined in and gathered under the shelter of trees, forming a circle around him. The impromptu gathering on the grass created an unforgettable and deeply emotional experience for everyone involved. A video from the event can be found here.


Read more: Roma Liberov. Russian Emigration a Hundred Years Ago and Now: What Unites the Two Generations?


For nearly two hours, Viktor held the audience’s attention, engaging in dialogue and answering their questions. As dusk approached, the people refused to disperse, displaying their unwavering dedication. Although there was a shortage of warm tea, it did not undermine the experience. This spontaneous gathering in Regent’s Park reminiscent of the renowned Hyde Park Speaker’s Corner has left a lasting impression. The organisers are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the original venue agreement.

It is worth noting that the proceeds from the event and the speakers’ fees were intended to go to the charity Russian for Ukraine. For more information and to support their cause, you can visit their website.



Furthermore, on the same night, the organisers of Roma Liberov’s performance, scheduled to take place at King’s College London on 20 May, also received a refusal to use the venue. This unexpected turn led to a frantic last-minute change of location. The reasons behind this second refusal are still unknown. However, several other organisers are deeply concerned that this peculiar trend may impact their future events as well.

In the near future, there are two other significant events scheduled to be held at different universities in London. The first is the Alexander Nevzorov lecture (famous speaker, activist, and media personality), which is set to take place at Logan Hall (UCL) on 24 May, and the second is a theatre performance centred around poetry I am Here, featuring a renowned Russian actor, Anatolii Bely, also on 24 May, at Bloomsbury Theatre (UCL).

The organisers of these events are now on high alert and are closely monitoring the situation, hoping that the recent incidents will not affect their upcoming gatherings.


Read more: Boris Anrep in London: A Don Juan and the Love of Anna Akhmatova


It is important to note that all the aforementioned public figures – Viktor Shenderovich, Roma Liberov, Alexander Nevzorov and Anatolii Bely – have left Russia, do not support the current regime and are political immigrants, with some of them proclaimed ‘foreign agents’ by the Russia government. Their voices and perspectives often provide critical insights and alternative viewpoints to the situation in Russia. The recent venue cancellations raise concerns about potential attempts to limit their ability to express themselves and share their experiences with audiences.



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