Leading Manager Accused Of Fraud

Acclaimed theatre and film director Kirill Serebrennikov was placed under house arrest after being charged with fraud.

The manager had already resisted the charges against him as “absurd” after researchers arrested him in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday and drove him into the Investigative Committee offices at Moscow. He was subsequently held in jail before this hearing.

Hundreds of people assembled to encourage Serebrennikov, 47, who directs the Gogol Centre theatre and has staged works.

Judge Yelena Lenskaya dominated to restrict the manager to arrest October 19, an AFP correspondent reported from the court since people cried “Shame!” And whistled in protest.

“He is accused of a serious crime,” a representative of the Investigative Committee stated in court earlier, asserting Serebrennikov could flee or place stress on case witnesses. “He can conceal from the analysis. He has real estate overseas.”

The Investigative Committee, which probes serious offenses, accuses Serebrennikov of defrauding the state of at least 68 million rubles ($1.15 million, 977,000 euros) from arts funding from 2011 to 2014 to a side project named Platform.

Reputation in a court cage clad in a denim jacket and baseball cap, Serebrennikov stated he was confused by the charges as he had “spent all of the money given by the government on the project”. He asked to be freed to keep on working on his film.

“I am not going to run from the analysis, I am an innocent individual, an honest individual,” he explained.

He could be jailed for up to 10 decades if convicted.

The case has sparked fear and outrage of shrinking liberty in Russia, together with some calling it a demonstration of force against liberal civilization of the next year’s presidential elections. President Vladimir Putin is expected to run for office.

Serebrennikov’s detention “at a largely absurd case… is a sign to the creative part of society from the authorities,” business daily Vedomosti said in an editorial.

The theatre and film director Kirill Serebrennikov of Russia asked the court to spare him pending his trial so he could keep working on his film

Arts figures discussed after theatre in May and the raid in his flat in support of Serebrennikov, when he was declared that a comment in the fraud case. His passport has been confiscated.

The court decision to restrain the independence of Serebrennikov came after the sister of billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, Irina Prokhorova, provided to pay bail of some sum.

Thirty cultural figures also vouched for the manager for example Bolshoi Theatre manager Vladimir Urin, film director Alexei German Jr. and the widow of Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Natalia.

“We believe such treatment of Kirill Serebrennikov is improper,” news website Meduza wrote in an editorialarticle. The case against him was “unconvincing”, it added, because it claimed that a play which received broad acclaim from Russia and overseas hadn’t been staged.

Serebrennikov has been made in 2012 to head an unpopular and ailing theatre, transforming it. As well as staging his innovative productions, he also hosted dance and film festivals.

He’s spoken out against developing censorship in the arts while circles scorning himself. Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has hailed his interpretation of works.

He is largely regarded as a mainstream culture guess, together with his ballet A Hero of Our Time at the Bolshoi Theatre receiving the country theatrical award the Golden Mask at 2016.

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Nevertheless his newest Bolshoi project Nureyev, depending on legend Rudolf Nureyev’s life span who defected to the West, has been pulled before the premiere in an extreme move.

His film The Student which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival is a review of growing fundamentalism in society.