Kirill S. Serebrennikov. Photo: Operstuttgart.

Moscow Judge Extends Russian Director Kirill Serebrennikov’s House Arrest

On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, a Moscow court extended the duration for which Kirill Serebrennikov, the artistic director of the Gogol Center, will remain under house arrest. Serebrennikov has been accused of embezzling government funds. Supporters of the embattled director believe that the charges were brought against him in order to punish him for organizing performances featuring sexually explicit and politically-charged content.

According to the New York Times, investigators are now claiming that Serebrennikov embezzled $2.3 million—twice as much as they originally thought—through his theater company, Seventh Studio. If he is convicted, the judge may award the Ministry of Culture the same amount as compensation.

While cultural figures have spoken up in his defense and repeatedly petitioned for his release, President Vladimir V. Putin declared that Serebrennikov must secure his freedom through the Russian legal system. When testifying in court on Tuesday, the director alleged that he was falsely accused of the crime by the accountant for Seventh Studio, Nina L. Maslyaeva, who also named four others as collaborators. His trial is scheduled to take place in three months.