Free Kirill Serebrennikov
Free Kirill Serebrennikov
After a three-year trial period, Kirill Serebrennikov was sentenced on June 26, 2020 to a three-year suspended sentence and a fine of 800,000 rubles for allegedly embezzling public subsidies. Previously, the public prosecutor had applied for six years in a prison camp.
The co-accused members of his former theater group "The Seventh Studio", Yuri Itin and Alexei Malobrodsky, were given two-year suspended sentences and fines of 200,000 and 300,000 rubles. The director of the Moscow youth theater Sofia Apfelbaum was found guilty, but went unpunished due to the statute of limitations for her criminal offense.
The house arrests against him and his team will only be lifted when he repays the alleged misappropriated 129 million rubles to the Ministry of Culture (approx. 1.62 million euros).
After we tried to present the petition to representatives of the Russian embassy in Berlin at the time of the pronouncement of the judgment without being received, we are now planning to hand it over to Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas so that they can work at the diplomatic level to that the three-year house arrest has been lifted.
Thomas Ostermeier, Artistic Director of the Schaubühne and initiator of the petition on the pronouncement of the judgment: »At first I am very relieved that the horror scenario of knowing an artist like my friend Kirill Serebrennikov in a penal colony was not fulfilled. The joy is ambivalent, however, because the court suspended the sentence, but found the accused guilty on all counts. This has been a clever move by the »opposite side« insofar as this judgment cannot be described as »terrorist justice«. This makes any resistance against the threat to art freedom in Russia more difficult. It is a clear signal to liberal artists concerning the freedom of art in Russia: From today onward, every critical artist has to expect to face such punishment.«
We protest against the arrest of Kirill Serebrennikov. The charges against him are untenable and indicative of the fact that the intention is to silence an internationally renowned director.
Serebrennikov stands accused of having embezzled government funds for a production of Shakespeare’s „A Midsummer Night’s Dream“ that allegedly never took place. Video recordings, reviews, Facebook entries by audience members, tours to Riga and Paris, a nomination for the Russian national theatre award „Golden Mask“ and, last but not least, the programme of the Gogol Center in Moscow prove that this charge is absurd. And yet Serebrennikov stands in danger of being convicted and of receiving a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Just as disproportionate is the house arrest he has been placed under until the trial. Serebrennikov has to wear an ankle monitor, isn’t allowed to use the Internet or write emails and is only permitted to see close family members. This is in effect a communication ban, a prejudgement and a prohibition to work for one of the most famous contemporary Russian artists.
We ask the Russian public prosecution office to stop the criminal prosecution of Kirill Serebrennikov and to drop the flimsy accusations against him.
We urgently appeal to our government representatives to ensure that Serebrennikov doesn’t become the victim of a politically motivated defamation of character and doesn’t end up in prison.
1. Maren Ade (film director)
2. Benedict Andrews (theatre and film director)
3. Josef Bierbichler (actor / author)
4. Cate Blanchett (actress)
5. Andrea Breth (theatre director)
6. Sophie Calle (artist)
7. Teodor Currentzis (conductor)
8. Lars Eidinger (actor)
9. Carolin Emcke (author / publicist)
10. Kristín Eysteinsdóttir (artistic director Reykjavik City Theatre)
11. Jürgen Flimm (artistic director Staatsoper Unter den Linden)
12. Herbert Fritsch (theatre director)
13. David Harrower (author)
14. Nina Hoss (actress)
15. Elfriede Jelinek (author)
16. Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)
17. Ulrich Khuon (artistic director Deutsches Theater Berlin / president of german theatre association)
18. Barrie Kosky (artistic director Komische Oper Berlin)
19. David Lan (artistic director Young Vic London)
20. Igor Levit (pianist)
21. Sergei Loznitsa (film director / scriptwriter)
22. Joachim Lux (artistic director Thalia Theater Hamburg / president of International Theatre Institut Germany)
23. Ari Mattthíassin (artisitic director National Theatre of Iceland)
24. Marius von Mayenburg (author / theatre director)
25. Simon McBurney (theatre director / actor)
26. Sergio Moabito (dramaturg)
27. Sergej Newski (composer)
28. Thomas Ostermeier (artistic director Schaubühne Berlin and president of the German-French Coucil of Culture)
29. Milo Rau (theatre director / author)
30. Mark Ravenhill (author)
31. Falk Richter (author / theatre director)
32. Julian Rosefeldt (video artist)
33. Volker Schlöndorff (film director)
34. Danis Tanović (film director)
35. Enda Walsh (author)
36. Jossi Wieler (artistic director Oper Stuttgart)
Further signers among others are:
Stephan Daldry (theatre and film director)
Didier Eribon (author, philosopher, sociologist)
Markus Hinterhäuser ( Artistic Director of the Salzburg Festival)
Tony Kushner (playwright and screenwriter)
Edouard Louis (writer)
Katie Mitchell (theatre and film director)
Lars von Trier (film director and screenwriter)