Russian theatre director and playwright given 6-year prison sentence for ‘justifying terrorism’ — Novaya Gazeta Europe
NewsPolitics

Russian theatre director and playwright given 6-year prison sentence for ‘justifying terrorism’

Berkovich and Petriychuk at trial proceedings in May 2024. Photo: Alexander Nemenov / AFP / Scanpix / Leta

Berkovich and Petriychuk at trial proceedings in May 2024. Photo: Alexander Nemenov / AFP / Scanpix / Leta

Russian theatre director Yevgenia Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk were sentenced to six years in prison by a Moscow court for “justifying terrorism” on Monday, Russian independent media outlet Mediazona reported.

Prosecutors had requested the court hand each of the two women a six-year sentence for their controversial play Finist, The Brave Falcon, which told the stories of Russia’s so-called “ISIS brides” — women who travelled to Syria during its civil war to marry ISIS members they had met online.

The play, which received two of Russia’s most prestigious theatre awards in 2022, has since been condemned by the Russian authorities. In a report written for the Federal Security Service (FSB), state-appointed experts concluded that the play “glorified terrorists”, making them appear “interesting and attractive to girls and women” while portraying Russian men in a negative light.

Moreover, an expert the prosecution called to the stand in May said that the play contained “the ideology of radical feminism,” which he linked to “the conscious preparation and execution of terrorist acts.”

Following apparent threats made against witnesses, in June the judge ordered the trial to be held behind closed doors, barring the public and media from observing the proceedings.

The trial has been heavily criticised by high-profile Russian cultural figures, including former Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief and Nobel laureate, Dmitry Muratov, and several human rights groups have called attention to what they believe is the first time in the post-Soviet period that a piece of art has been put on trial.

pdfshareprint
Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.