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Russian star director: Serebrennikow must be in house arrest

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 | World News

In Stuttgart, star director Kirill Serebrennikov is supposed to be working on his production of the fairy-tale opera "Hansel and Gretel", but now he is in a nightmare: the Russian authorities do not leave the theater maker free.

The Russian judiciary has placed the arresting Prime Minister Kirill Serebrennikov (47) under house arrest for fraud allegations. In the proceedings against the renowned theatermacher criticized in Russia and abroad, a detainee imposed the freedom withdrawal on Wednesday. This is to be valid until 19 October.

Premiere in Stuttgart will take place
Despite the house arrest, the Stuttgart State Opera is holding on to the premiere of the fairy tale opera "Hansel and Gretel". It is scheduled to come on stage as planned on 22 October – with the help of Serebrennikow's team. This is possible because the director has already completed essential parts of the staging concept, the stage design and the costumes, it said.

  The judge refused Serebrennikov's request to release him and keep him working. He had to carry an anklet. The defense announced appeals. The State Investigation Committee accuses Serebrennikov of having accused 68 million rubles (about one million euros) of state funds.

Hundreds demonstrate for Serebrennikov
Supporters of the government-critical artist in the courtroom shouted "shame!" And chanted his name when the saying became known. Several hundred people had also gathered in front of the building to express their solidarity with the head of the Moscow Gogol Theater.

 Many Russian artists were ready to vouch for Serebrennikov. The widow of the literary prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Natalia Solzhenitsyna, the writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, the directors Fyodor Bondartschuk and Yevgeny Mironov and others signed a corresponding letter.

Federal government reacts worried
In an online petition, more than 16,000 people demanded an end of the trial by the evening. The Federal Government's Human Rights Commissioner, Bärbel Kofler, also expressed concern. The Latvian National Theater in Riga, where Serebrennikov also works, demanded a release.

Serebrennikov is waiting in the court in Moscow behind bars for his hearing. (Source: Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP / dpa)

The 47-year-old appeared with a black baseball cap in court and made the Victory sign out of the accused cage in front of cameras. "Of course I would like to be freed, I do not confess," he said. The accusations were absurd. He was arrested on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, where he shot a film about the Soviet cult rock star Viktor Zoi (1962-90).

There is an Internet ban in the house bar
The house arrest means an extensive contact barrier: Serebrennikow is not allowed to use the Internet or post any mail. The investigator decides on exceptions from the house arrest. According to representatives of the criminal prosecution, the accused faces escaping danger, pointing to his involvement in Stuttgart. Serebrennikov could also try to destroy evidence. The Russian vice-minister of culture, Alexander Schurawski, said: "Households are in any case more humane than other forms of freedom deprivation."

The opera Stuttgart criticized the arrest connected with an outlaw of communication as disproportionate. "His entire artistic work is so disturbed." Humperdinck's opera "Hänsel und Gretel" is now being implemented with the support of all the forces in the sense of Serebrennikow in Stuttgart.

For example, a film that represents the central narrative medium in Serebrennikov's concept is ready. The director had shot him already in the spring and cut before the summer break. The musical rehearsals with the singers of the Stuttgart ensemble and the children's choir have already begun at the end of the past season. "The opera Stuttgart hopes that the director can then travel to the premiere in Stuttgart," the announcement said.

Two employees in investigations
The Russian judiciary sees Serebrennikov as a mastermind in a particularly serious case of fraud. It is about the state-sponsored "Platforma" in the years 2011 to 2014, in order to make Russian theater more popular. Serebrennikov and his co-workers in the production company "Seventh Studio" would have incurred too high costs and the remaining money untergeschlagen, informed the investigators with.

Two ex-employees are in custody, including the chief accountant, which Serebrennikov has stressed in her statements. A third colleague is in house arrest.


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