In the case of the convicted director Kirill Serebrennikov, a Moscow court has rejected the appeal. The motives are likely to be political.
MOSCOW taz | The Moscow City Court does not allow appeals in the case of the Russian director and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov. On Wednesday, the court rejected the defense’s requests for revision.
Two of the well-known director’s co-defendants were found complicit in embezzlement in the summer. The producers Jurij Itin and Alexei Malobrodsky received suspended sentences of three and two years. In addition, the court sentenced her to heavy fines. Sofia Apfelbaum, an employee of the Ministry of Culture, was also held responsible for gross negligence.
At the end of June, the Meshchansky Court sentenced Kirill Serebrennikov to a three-year suspended sentence and to pay 800,000 rubles (the equivalent of 10,500 euros). In addition, the theater director and the two male co-defendants were sentenced to repay 129 million rubles (1.6 million euros) that they had embezzled according to the court.
Serebrennikov, Iltin and Malobrodsky are said to have embezzled state funds that flowed to the “Seventh Studio” between 2011 and 2014 as part of the “Platform” project. The co-defendants went on appeal. Serebrennikov did not appeal, allegedly trying to avoid the stress of legal proceedings. He had previously been under house arrest for several months and was not allowed to leave the country to celebrate the premiere of his own plays abroad.
Who is behind the arrest of Serebrennikov in the summer of 2017 is still unclear. Basically, it was said that it was influential circles that targeted critical representatives from culture. At least they wanted to give the independent spirits a warning. Serebennikov is considered an innovative force. Representatives of traditional Russian theater appreciate him less.
The theater director made no secret of his critical attitude towards the political events in Russia. However, that was more true in the context of freedom of art. Nowhere did he emerge as a political agitator. In a stirring film (The Student), he warned of the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in recent years.
Political motives have been suspected behind the case since the beginning of the proceedings. Many well-known Russian and international artists and intellectuals campaigned for the Russians from Rostov-on-Don. This unrest at least meant that Serebrennikov was spared an even harder fate.
Russia’s law enforcement agencies don’t just give up. The forces of the secret service are also persistent. Regardless of the evidence, anyone who is suspected or is not well-off must expect to be convicted – whether guilty or not.