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Russian government arrests avant-garde filmmaker and Pussy Riot supporter

(Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, in the Kremlin: Deadline reports that the Russian government has arrested avant-garde filmmaker and actor Kirill Serebrennikov on charges of embezzlement. The Investigative Committee of Russia has accused Serebrennikov, who won a special prize at Cannes last year for The Student, of “scheming to embezzle the equivalent of more than $1 million in government funds meant for theatrical productions,” presumably in his post as the director of Moscow’s Gogol Center.

But Serebrennikov and his supporters, who gathered outside a Moscow courthouse to protest the proceedings, are calling the whole thing “a thinly disguised effort by the Kremlin to intimidate and silence one of the country’s leading anti-authoritarian artistic voices.” The actor-director apparently butted heads with Russian authorities back in 2013 for vocally supporting the HBO documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, which doesn’t really present the Kremlin in a positive light. Pussy Riot immediately came out in support of Serebrennikov, who it says is being held by “Putin’s butchers.”


Pussy Riot also tweeted out a link to a 2013 letter from Sergei Kapkov, the head of Department for the Minister of the Government of Moscow, in which he demands the cancellation of a screening of the documentary, as well as clutches his pearls over a Russian state cultural attaché piping up in support of punk collective and dissenters. Serebrennikov did cancel the screening, but posted on Facebook that the government’s censure was “Cynical, pointless, and stupid,” and that “there’s no censorship at the theatre, there’s no censorship at the theatre!”


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