A former Kremlin aide has sued renowned music critic and public activist Artemy Troitsky for defamation, Troitsky said, as new evidence emerged that seemingly confirmed his supporters' fears that he has made enemies in high places.
The lawsuit was filed by Vladimir Kiselyov, head of the Federation charity, which drew criticism earlier this year for not providing money to sick children after staging an event where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin played the piano, Troitsky said at a concert held in his support Friday.
Troitsky did not elaborate on Kiselyov's lawsuit, but he speculated in a March interview with Ekho Moskvy radio that Kiselyov might have misappropriated money raised at the December event, which in addition to Putin was attended by Hollywood stars like Sharon Stone and Kevin Costner.
In March, the mother of a sick child accused the charity of not transferring the money from the show to hospitals that it had promised to support. Federation later dismissed the claim, saying the concert was not a fundraiser, although it eventually did hand over some aid.
Troitsky, 55, is already fighting three suits over his public statements, including one by former traffic cop Nikolai Khovansky and two by Kremlin-friendly rock star Vadim Samoilov. Troitsky accused Khovansky of mishandling a probe into a 2010 road incident involving a LUKoil vice president that killed two. Separately, he called Samoilov a "poodle" of Kremlin deputy chief of staff Vladislav Surkov.
Questions lingered up to the last minute over whether Friday's free concert in support of Troitsky would go ahead.
The Central House of Artists backed out of its agreement to host the event, citing an influx of phone complaints. Troitsky said its management had folded to pressure from the authorities.
After that, the club Hleb agreed to host the concert, only to face a sudden fire-safety check — a measure widely used as a pretext to close venues hosting unwanted events. Club owners were also called to the district prosecutor's office on the day of the concert.
The concert went ahead as planned, but Hleb spokesman Konstantin Lisitsyn said it had been a close call.
"There were no grounds to cancel the show, but prosecutors hinted that the outcome would have been different if the media had not intervened," he said Saturday on Radio Liberty.
District prosecutors did not comment.
The club, which has a capacity of 1,000, could not find room for all visitors Friday. Those who squeezed in represented all age groups, and many wore pins reading "No pasaran" — Spanish for "They shall not pass." The slogan was popularized by Spanish Communists in the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.
The lineup was headlined by rock legend Yury Shevchuk of DDT. Environmental activist Yevgenia Chirikova and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov also attended the five-hour event.