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.
The Slovenian Ministry of Culture slashed co-funding to NGOs by nearly 50 percent from € 6.4 to € 3.6 million. The move comes as the ministry records its largest budget since 1991. 8 organisations remained in the funding programme. Among the structures who were cut from funding for the next four years are groups with excellent international reputation which had been funded through the ministry for decades: Glej Theatre, Maska Institute, Delak Centre, City of Women, Carmina Slovenica, Nomad Dance Academy Slovenia, Ars Ramovš. The policy of cutting funds for those independent art institutions has been implemented in Slovenia during the last years but has been rejected successfully until now. The removal of national funding also destroys the ability of these NGOs to receive funding from EU co-financing programs. Maska writes in an open letter: “We therefore consider the withdrawal of funding as part of a long-term strategy to shrink the space for the development of professional non-governmental organisations. This act is a continuation of the Ministry’s degradation and destabilisation of the sector, which has always been one of the most vibrant and progressive fields of contemporary art.”
In June 2021 Slovenia was placed on the Civicus Monitor Watchlist, which issues warnings regarding countries where civic freedoms are rapidly vanishing. the right-wing administration withheld also the Slovenian Press Agency as well as other media covering or expressing views in conflict with those of the ruling party. No funds were also allocated for environmental projects for 2022 or 2023. The climate fund for which environmental CSOs are eligible has been slashed by 70 percent.
Monday, January 10, Kirill Serebrennikov arrived Hamburg (Germany) and is directing now rehearsals of Chekhov’s “The Black Monk” at the Thalia Theater. The director was surprisingly allowed to leave after he was convicted of fraud in Summer 2020 and sentenced with a three-year travel ban. Since then he conducted rehearsals throughout Europe only by video conference.
The Taliban has admitted to the killing of the famous comic Nazar Mohammad, known as Khasha Zwan, in the country’s southern region. Khasha, who earlier served in the Kandahar police, was picked up by from his home in southern Kandahar and shot dead. A a video, widely shared on social media, showed Khasha getting slapped and abused while he was held by two men in a car. Nazar Mohammad’s body, shot multiple times, was found in Kandahar end of July.
The Moscow city department of culture will not renew Kirill Serebrennikov’s contract as the director of the Gogol Center. The contract ends on February 28. Serebrennikov was appointed as director of the Gogol Theater in 2012 and reopened the venue 2014 as the Gogol Center. The Serebrennikov case started in May 2017, when the Center was raided by the Russian Investigative Committee, followed by a “theatre trial” over 3 years (see also our several posts).
The Central Khartoum Primary Court issued a verdict against five young artists to two months imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 SDG (equivalent of 90,9 USD). On August 10th, neighbors of Civic Lab network, an organization in Khartoum where rehearsal of a play was taking place, complained about too much noise. The complaint increased to physical attacks to the artists and the staff of the Civic Lab. When the police arrived they arrested the artists and did not stop the neighbors to beat them with sticks and to throw stones at them. The artists are: Duaa Tarig Mohamed Ahmed (Program and Office Manage), Abdel Rahman Mohamed Hamdan, Ayman Khalaf Allah Mohamed Ahmed, Ahmed Elsadig Ahmed Hammad, Hajooj Mohamed Haj Omar (aka Hajooj Kuka, awarded filmmaker). These artists have spent the last two years creating art to support Sudan’s quest for freedom and democracy. They have created hundreds of murals and films in the public service, supported the Prime Minister’s office and Sudan National Television, and conducted hundreds of civic engagement workshops across Sudan through their work at the Civic Lab network. Duaa, along with 4 of her colleagues were charged separately while another 6 artists are awaiting a verdict on Sunday 20th September. The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africe (SIHA) is extremliy concerned that “The legal framework, legal procedures and the articles of the law itself are designed to criminalise and prosecute civilians, particularly women and minorities. Women and activists are still an active target of the law enforcement in Sudan, and the criminalisation of women is legally enabled.”
ACAR states that artists are at the vanguard of positive change in Sudan. They have to be protected from violent mobs. The civilian led government has to to investigate the judges and police involved in this case.