Moscow sacks dissident opera director

Moscow sacks dissident opera director


norman lebrecht

February 04, 2021

The Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov has been fired by Moscow’s Gogol Centre, which he founded.

The city’s cultural department announced that he would not be renewed as artistic director when his contract expires at the end of this month.

Serebrennikov, 51, has been under house arrest since August 2017, after being falsely accused of embezzling $1 million from his theatre.



  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Now let’s play the devil’s advocate: if you are an “evil”, “almighty” despot, would you accept someone in a potentially influential cultural position work against you at the same time getting paid by you?

    In other words: Mr Serebrennikov, get the hell out of there!

    • Le Křenek du jour says:

      If you are an *intelligent* despot, however almighty and cruel, you might. You should, even. For you have nothing to fear, and a modicum of calculated tolerance reflects well on you.

      Even Stalin, on a paradoxically calculated whim, was capable of comforting the position of Mikhail Bulgakov when his own censorship forbade the staging of “Dni Turbinykh”.
      Later on, it was Stalin’s perceived leniency towards Bulgakov which shielded him from the first and second wave of murderous purges.

      I remember a conversation with Vladimir Voinovich a few years before his death. The Putin régime was already entrenched. Voinovich compared it “not quite yet with 1937, but we’re well back into the Brezhnev 1970s”. What was Putin’s most salient trait? “Greed, obviously. But the most dangerous is pettiness. You’d have to have experienced low-to-middling ranking KGB officials to understand how devastating their pettiness could be. Putin is such a middling KGB type, through and through.”

      Not the type, obviously, who understands the wisdom of the maxim « On n’arrête pas Voltaire. »
      Putin lacks the Brezhnevian nous of tolerating even Lyubimov’s Taganka.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        Yes, of course, but Putin is not Stalin, and the times have changed, I’d say not for the better. Would you give Mr Serebrennikov any recommendation other than mine own?

      • Hayne says:

        Vladimir Voinovich said the Putin regime is “not quite yet with 1937…” That’s right in the middle of Stalin’s Great Terror where over 1 million were murdered. Well, that’s certainly some hyperbole!

  • Timosha says:

    A huge loss for the theatre and cultural Moscow crowd- I hope he can start another theatre in the city ASAP, he is certainly adored by the actors and the audience

  • MWnyc says:

    Norman, Serebrennikov was released from house arrest last April.

    And his trial on those trumped-up embezzlement charges ended with a suspended sentence, probably the best that could have been hoped for.

    • engineers get hurt too says:

      if you recall a “suspended sentence” in Russia means guilt, and the suspension is kept there deliberately just like in the case of Navalny that you can finally stick him in a penal colony at the slightest wim or for fun.

      The entire case like many other show trials was designed to frighten and intimidate others. At least he didn’t leave like Latynina, or get shot like Nemtsov or Politovskaya, or poisoned like Navalny and quite a few others.

      Russian courts are like those in the PRC, they find the accused guilty in 99.5% of cases.
      Only those in the “weak and compromised, liberal” west are stupid enough to try to use some concept of balance in justice such as Habeas corpus or “presomption d’innocence” so that the 0.5% who by some miracle get off, become a torrent of more than 50%, because the case was either invented (think Hillsborough or bloody sunday, or the Guildford 5).

      Fact is, people do serve time in the UK for things they have not done, but at least theyget fully compensated for it, if/when they ever get justice finally done.

      In the case of those who have the moral guts to stand up to the system in all its corruption and perversity in Russia today, they truly are deserving of the eventual rewards of a figure like Havel.

      I fear it could be a long wait for Serebrennikov and others like him (there are very large numbers ofperfectly honest but framed businessmen, who are in penal colonies.never mind the vast fraud perpetuated against Bill Browder because his well managed business was simply “too successful” or like Yevroset, HAD to LEAVE, or face arbitrary arrest or business theft….

      ’nuff said.

      Most of the commentators I see in this thread, don’t live there…love this country, but despise the little short MOOB encrusted KGB in his bunker.

      He can’t take one kopek with him when he dies.