State Duma (Russian Parliament – translator’s note) Committee on Culture will be closely following the criminal investigation into the case of Gogol-Center artistic director Kirill Serebrennikov, who was earlier detained under the suspicion of embezzlement, the First Deputy Chair of the Committee, Russian Communist Party member and film director Vladimir Bortko stated on August 22, RIA Novosti reports.
Serebrennikov’s detention was reported on August 22. He is being accused of organizing the embezzlement of at least 68 million rubles ($1.1 million) initially earmarked in 2011-2014 for the Platform project.
The First Deputy Chair of the Committee on Culture said to the journalists, “In terms of overseeing, helping, yes, certainly. But this must consist of two parts. If he is being accused of some sort of ideological violations or, God forbid, political crimes, then I will fight to the bitter end so that the wonderful director Serebrennikov would be left alone. Regarding the financial violations, had I been an accountant, I would have commented these. But since I am not an accountant and not a criminal investigator I cannot comment.”
“In terms of financial violations, let us see what will come out of it. If he (Serebrennikov) is not guilty, I will be the first to support his release,” Bortko added.
The investigation in question started in May 2017. Gogol-Center was searched for evidence by the Russian Investigative Committee as a part of the inquiry into the embezzlement case. Interrogations and other investigative actions took place, but no detentions were made. The investigation concerns state funds that were granted to Serebrennikov’s Seventh Studio in 2011-2014. In July 2017 the perpetrators testified in the court that the employees of Serebrennikov’s organization engaged in money laundering and that were was a slush fund for illegal operations. According to the Investigative Committee, the executives of the organization embezzled approximately 200 million rubles ($3,4 million) that were allocated to the studio by the state in accordance with the government’s plan to develop culture and make it popular.
Approximately 200 artists signed a letter in support of Kirill
. The letter was submitted to the President of Russian Federation. They see the case as political, but do not comment the disappearance of 200 million rubles allocated to Serebrennikov’s organization. A number of other artists expressed opposing views, urging for an adequate investigation.
Kirill Serebrennikov is famous for his stageplays, in which he actively promoted the removal of taboos.
Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency