The trial against Yulia Tsvetkova was held behind closed doors mid of July. The 29 years old feminist and LGBT activist was facing a maximum of six years in prison and has been acquitted of controversial “pornography” charges (see ACAR’s previous posts 1, 2, 3). Tsvetkova’s case drew international attention after she was placed under house arrest in 2019 . Amnesty International declared her a prisoner of conscience and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam acquired her works. In June, Tsvetkova was added to the Russian justice ministry’s list of “foreign agents.”
“With regard to the future of the drawings, the court has clearly expressed its findings that the original position and context in which these drawings were included do not allow them to be considered pornographic,” he said. This is important not only for Yulia, but also for the entire artistic, museum, and academic community, which, in the event of a guilty verdict (and given the possibility of an appeal, this risk still remains) may be forced to put underwear on ancient sculptures.” (Aleksandr Pikhovkin, Yulia Tsvetkova’s lawyer)
Alexandra (Shasha) Skochilenko, is a russian artist and musician. She replaced price tags at supermarkets in St Petersburg with news reports about bombings in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. On April 11 she had been detained and accused of carrying out serious actions against public safety and spreading fake news about the Russian military. Her case had been reclassified from a criminal case to a more severe one of the same article, entailing from 5 to 10 years in prison. The investigation has extended Sasha’s pre-trial detention several times, now until July 1st.
The telegram group for support is: https://t.me/skochilenko_sud.
Ahead of schedule, on March 28, the Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow granted the petition of Kirill Serebrennikov to cancel the probation and early removal of the conviction. The petition was sent by Serebrennikov’s lawyers, Dmitry Kharitonov and Elena Oreshnikova, on the grounds that half of the probation period prescribed for their ward expired on December 26, 2021, and the punishment in the form of paying a fine of 800,000 rubles was executed voluntarily and in full , as well as payment of compensation for damage to the Ministry of Culture in the amount of 128,974,690 rubles.
According to the National Union of Theatre Artists of Ukraine, art director Oleksandr Knyha was arrested and taken away with unknown destination during searches of Russian military forces after the occupation of Kherson in the premises of the Kherson Theatre on May 23. Knyha is chairman of the Eurasian Theatre Association, president of the Melpomene Tavria International Theatre Festival and a member of the Kherson Regional Council. Knyha’s wife, Oksana, was also arrested.
Viktor Havrilyuk, artistic director of the Kherson Academic Regional Puppet Theatre was detained on March 22 during street demonstrations in Kherson. Bogdan Strutynskyi, Chairman of the National Union of Theatre Artists of Ukraine writes in his statement: “We call on the whole world’s theatre community to join in our demands to liberate Ukrainian artist Oleksandr Knyha. We need to make known the horrid acts of violence and repression unleashed by the Russian military against the Ukrainian culture figures and do everything possible and impossible to ensure their freedom. The world must be aware of these war crimes!” Sources report that Knyha was released late last night.
Theater directors and organizations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have written a joint letter expressing solidarity with Gluchowski and protesting against his planned removal as artistic and managing director of the Juliusz Slowacki Theatre in Cracow: “We, the undersigned colleagues, strongly support Krzysztof Głuchowski, the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków, and the right to artistic freedom in Poland which has repeatedly been threatened or suspended in similar cases since 2016. We demand from the Board of the Małopolska Region to not remove Krzysztof Głuchowski from his office as Artistic Director, and from the Polish Ministry of Culture to not withdraw its financial contribution previously designated to the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre.”
The letter has been sent to the Marshal of Malopolska Voivodeship last night. ITI Germany as one of the signatories as well as the European Festivals Association (EFA) and the European Theatre Convention (ETC) have distributed the letter in their networks. Several European ITI centres, among them Sweden, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Swiss, have already sent signs of support.
In recent days, #teatrjestnasz (Theater is ours) has dominated the Polish theater world. The now openly stated dismissal of the director of the theater Juliusz Slowacki in Krakow, Krzysztof Głuchowski, has rised a public wave of solidarity. Across Poland, actors read out statements of solidarity with the Slowacki Theater after performances, and the responsible politicians are overwhelmed by petitions. Krzysztof Głuchowski is in the middle of his second term. According to the Polish constitution and legislation, cultural institutions are independent and not bound by the instructions of their employers. Despite this, representatives of both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture in Warsaw, as well as the regional government, publicly criticized his work, accusing it of “anti-Polish tendencies” and calling for the banning and cancellation of several productions. At the same time, economic censorship set in. In December, the planned transformation of the theater into the status of a national theater was stopped. As a result, as of now the theater is short 3000000 zloty (about 662 000 euros). The result is an immediate halt to premieres for 2022, a lack of money to pay electricity and gas bills, and the theater’s inability to act. But it does not give in: money is collected via crowdfunding. The theatre employees have declared in an open letter: “We, the employees of the Teatr im. Juliusz Słowacki in Krakow, we express our full support to Krzysztof Głuchowski, General and Artistic Director, both in terms of the artistic program and the overall management of our Theater.”