Natalia Pelevine

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Natalia Pelevine (Russian: Наталья Пелевина и Пелевайн) (born on 2 November 1977 in Moscow, Russia) is a British-Russian playwright, political activist and blogger. Pelevine is of Russian and Polish descent. She moved to England as a child. Pelevine went to a private school, Southbank International. She then received BA in Art History from a London University. Pelevine now lives in New York City.

Her great grandfather, a priest, was one of the organizers of an anti-Communist uprising in mid-western Soviet Russia in 1932. 60,000 people participated, but it was ultimately crushed. He was arrested by the NKVD and was killed after spending six months in jail. He was recently canonized.

On her mother's side, the heritage dates back to the Poniatowski aristocratic family.


Pelevine acted in a number of theatre productions and traveled to the Edinburgh Festival where she played Ophelia in Hamlet. Although the production received mixed reviews, her work was singled out and one editorial even said that with her depth the play should be renamed "Ophelia". She also performed in a number of West End productions of Chekhov, Erofeev and Beckett.

She is the author of the controversial play, In Your Hands, based on the events of the Moscow theater hostage crisis. It was first staged in October 2006 in North London at the New End Theatre, which was formerly a mortuary, where Karl Marx's body was stored before burial. He died in the hospital across the street.

The Russian version of In Your Hands, directed by Skanderbek Tulparov, had its premiere at the Russian Dramatic Theatre in Makhachkala, Dagestan, in April 2008 and was banned[1] after its opening night performance by the President of Dagestan, Mukhu Aliyev, who attended the performance.[2] Reuters covered the event that was picked up by many major global media outlets.[3][4]

Pelevine was one of the people behind the independent research into the Moscow theatre siege. A member of NGO Nord Ost, she remains in close contact with Nord Ost and Beslan victims and their families. Pelevine consulted on a number of documentary films about the Moscow theatre siege.[5][6]

Pelevine is a regular political commentator on Al Jazeera, RTVi, PressTV, the BBC and other TV and radio channels.[7] In 2004, she set up a theatre production company, First Act Productions, which is based in London.[8]

Pelevine was involved with Strategy-31 Abroad organization, which rallies for the article 31 of the Russian Constitution and for freedom and democracy in Russia, and opposes the current government. She was the organizer of the New York Strategy 31 pickets, on 31 August and 31 October 2010.[9][10]

Since then she continued to organize protests, such as an Oleg Kashin picket in November 2010 and a demonstration in support of Mikhail Khodorkovsky on 12 December 2010. She has mentioned setting up a new movement.[11] In early 2011, the Democratic Russia Committee was founded by Pelevine and supporters.

According to The Independent, in 2009 she was engaged to a Russian Special Forces officer, Andrei Yakhnev. They have since split up.

Pelevine's play I Plead Guilty had its New York premiere in May 2011 at Gene Frankel theatre.


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