Moscow detains theatre director22/08/17Culture
Outspoken theatre and film director Kirill Serebrennikov has been detained by Russia’s investigative committee on suspicion of fraud.
He is being investigated over the alleged embezzlement of 68m roubles (~€1m) of state funding awarded for a theatre project.
There may also have been concerns about him staging a production linked to a figure known to be under investigation and facing criminal charges.
The director, a known outspoken critic of censorship in the arts, was expected to be charged by the investigative committee (SK) today (22 August) before appearing in court.
Serebrennikov is the director of the state-funded Gogol Centre and was taken in for questioning after his flat was raided in May.
The Gogol Centre was also searched, and two other theatre directors and an accountant were arrested.
If found guilty of embezzlement, Serebrennikov could face up to a ten years in prison, Russian media report. He has described the situation he faces as “absurd and schizophrenic”.
In a Facebook post in June, he appealed to supporters to prove that the funding had been spent on productions.
“It is particularly important to remember the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which we performed at Platform more than 15 times … It was nominated for all sorts of theatrical awards … Now the SK investigators tell us that it does not exist and it never did.”
Some Russians fear the arrest is a ploy to silence Serebrennikov. This has been denied by President Vladimir Putin.