Friday, December 22, 2017

PROTEST: IATC Statement on Serebrennikov Detention

Kirill Serebrennikov in court December 4, 2017.
Photo: Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
According to the website of Radio Free Europe, which based its reporting on TASS and Interfax, a Moscow City Court upheld on December 4 an extension of house arrest for Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov. He has been detained on fraud charges, accused of embezzling approximately $1 million in State funds. Serebrennikov was arrested in August. In October, the district court extended his house arrest to January 19. The 48-year-old director has repeatedly stated that the charges are "absurd."

Prior to his arrest, Serebrennikov

clashed with Russia’s Culture Ministry over the staging of a ballet about legendary Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to the West in 1961. Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky suggested that production might violate a 2013 'gay propaganda' law. (RFE)

As a result of his detention, Serebrennikov was not allowed to attend the Europe Prize for Theatre festivities in Rome, December 12–17, where he was to receive one of the top prizes bestowed in the category of "Theatrical Realities." The International Association of Theatre Critics (AICT-IATC) issued an official protest against the detention of the artist at its meeting in Rome on December 17. The critics' organization noted that despite Serebrennikov's isolation, his Nureyev ballet opened recently at the Bolshoi Theatre. The IATC also noted that the organization "shares the deep worries of the Russian critics, who already launched a protest in August, against the arrest of Serebrennikov. The accusations . . . alleging misuse of funds in his theatre, do not justify his prolonged detainment."

The IATC statement concluded, "the world of the arts and free expression will never accept the maneuvers of any state trying to stop an artist from speaking with a clear voice for freedom."

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