Playwright and director setenced to 6 years by Russian courtroom | EUROtoday

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Russia sentenced a playwright and a theater director to 6 years in jail Monday on costs of “justifying terrorism” over an award-winning play. The choice was the newest verdict that has focused outspoken cultural figures.

Theater director Yevgenia Berkovich, 39, and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk, 44, had been arrested in May 2023 and prosecuted behind closed doorways in Moscow over a play they staged in 2020.

The play, known as “Finist, the Brave Falcon,” advised the tales of the “ISIS brides” — Russian girls who traveled to Syria to marry members of the Islamic State terrorist group they’d met on-line. It was based mostly on actual case supplies from interrogations and courtroom verdicts and didn’t catch destructive consideration from regulation enforcement on the time.

The authors have repeatedly acknowledged that the play represents a cautionary story exploring what pushes Russian girls to covert to radical Islam. But throughout the trial, the state-appointed “expert witnesses” testified that the work comprises “signs of radical feminist ideology” and glorifies terrorists, making them seem “interesting and attractive to girls and women” whereas discriminating in opposition to Russian males.

During a listening to final 12 months, Berkovich mentioned the play envisioned “a very simple and transparent idea that dozens of women in our time become random victims of evil.”

The play obtained funding from the Russian Culture Ministry and was awarded Russia’s high theater prize, known as the Golden Mask.

Since Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Berkovich has additionally written antiwar poems, which her supporters mentioned will be the motive behind the persecution. Shortly after the beginning of the struggle, she staged an antiwar demonstration and was jailed for 11 days.


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The protection plans to enchantment the decision, lawyer Ksenia Karpinskaya advised Russian media after the trial. “We will, of course, appeal this decision, although there is little hope. But I want you to know that these women are absolutely innocent,” Karpinskaya mentioned.

Berkovich is elevating two adopted youngsters and has aged relations whom she fears she’ll by no means see once more, the lawyer added, in response to Russian channel TV Rain.

“She said that she would never see her grandmother again because she would not live another six years at 90. She might not see her adopted children; we don’t know what will happen to them tomorrow,” Karpinskaya mentioned. “And she probably won’t be able to give birth to new children because of her age. And both the judge and the prosecutor knew about all of this.”

The trial of Berkovich and Petriychuk marked the primary high-profile felony case referring to a play for the reason that Soviet period. It can also be a part of a sweeping marketing campaign of repression the Kremlin launched in opposition to any voices important of the struggle or President Vladimir Putin’s insurance policies.

Many artists who spoke out in opposition to the invasion had been fired from state-funded cultural establishments, together with theaters and movie studios, or blacklisted from performing within the nation, with authorities pressuring venue house owners to revoke present permits. Those who’ve publicly supported the struggle have loved profitable advert offers and options on state tv and had been favored by the Culture Ministry, which allocates funding for the nation’s greatest creative tasks.