Sat, 15 Dec 2018
-3
Saint Petersburg

A date has been set for a preliminary hearing in a high-profile case against Russian theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov.

A court in Moscow ruled on October 10 that the preliminary hearing will take place on October 17.

Serebrennikov's August 2017 arrest drew international attention and prompted accusations that Russian authorities were targeting cultural figures who are at odds with President Vladimir Putin's government.

Initially treated as a witness in an investigation targeting Moscow's Gogol Center theater, Serebrennikov was charged in August 2017 with organizing the embezzlement of state funds from 2011-14 at the Seventh Studio, a nonprofit organization established by the director.

Several other people involved with the theater and Seventh Studio have also been accused or charged.

Serebrennikov has denounced the charges as 'nonsense,' saying among other things that he was an artistic director and had nothing to do with any financial documents.

Supporters have said the case was part of a politically motivated crackdown on Russia's arts community ahead of the March 2018 election in which Putin won a fourth Kremlin term.

Serebrennikov in the past took part in antigovernment protests and voiced concern about the increasing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has close ties to the state.

The director was unable to attend the Cannes Film Festival premiere of his much-praised film Leto (Summer) in May.

Based on reporting by Rapsinews and Interfax

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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