Just in: Putin court finds opera director guiltymain
The international director Kirill Serebrennikov has been found guilty by a Moscow court of embezzlement charges, which he completely denies. Serebrennikov has been outspoken in his criticism of the Putin regime. For the past three years he has been under house arrest. The evidence was insubstantial and the motives non-existent.
The Meshchansky District Court is expected to pass sentence later today.
The Prosecutor, Mikhail Reznichenko, who alleged that Serebrennikov and others embezzled 129 million rubles ($1.9m) from their theatre, has asked for a sentence of six years’ jail.
Serebrennikov had a flourishing career in Germany and relations between the two countries may be affected by his imprisonment.
Artists would be well advised to consider very carefully any future dealings with Putin’s Russia.
UPDATE: Ulrich Khuon, president of the German Theater Association, has issued this statement: ‘The German Theater Association values artistic exchanges between the cultural nations of Russia and Germany. An exchange, however, means that art can develop freely and interactively in both countries. Inconvenient and critical art has been unwanted in Russia for a long time. We are dismayed that this trial, which violates many legal principles, is being ruthlessly waged against Kirill Serebrennikov.’