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State Dept.: Possible 'Political Motivations' for Putin Critic Arrest

Image: State Dept.: Possible 'Political Motivations' for Putin Critic Arrest
Russia's theater and film Director Kirill Serebrennikov waits for hearings in a court in Moscow, Russia. (AP)

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017 08:18 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The arrest of Russia’s celebrated theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov on Aug. 24, caught many off guard, including, it seems, the White House.

But Newsmax learned on Tuesday the U.S. State Department is watching the drama with growing concern. Long a Vladimir Putin critic, Serebrennikov has been charged with embezzling 68 million rubles ($1.5 million) from the Culture Ministry during his tenure as art director of the Gogol Center in Moscow — charges critics decry as outrageous.

“Absurd and schizophrenic” is how Serebrennikov himself described the case against him, insisting the charges are politically-motivated.

“We are closely monitoring the alleged fraud case and consequent house arrest of Kirill Serebrennikov,” a State Department spokesman told Newsmax, adding that “we have concerns about possible political motivations for the case.”

The spokesman added that the State Department hopes Russian authorities “adhere to the well-established norms of due process” in the case. The director is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 19.

The same spokesman went on to emphasize that “the Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights of expression and assembly without fear of retribution.”

Since Serebrennikov was seized and placed under house arrest, demonstrations demanding his release have broken out throughout Moscow. In addition, the arts community worldwide has begun to speak out on behalf of the embattled director.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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The arrest of Russia’s celebrated theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov on Aug. 24, caught many off guard, including, it seems, the White House.
putin, russia, serebrennikov, kirill
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2017-18-30
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 08:18 AM
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