Support The Moscow Times!

Serebrennikov Fraud Case Won't Harm Russia’s Reputation, Says Culture Minister

Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky Kremlin Press Service

Russia’s Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky doesn’t think a high-profile corruption case against prominent director Kirill Serebrennikov, who on Wednesday was placed under house arrest, will harm Russia’s image.

“I wouldn’t exaggerate the international significance of this situation,” Medinsky was cited as saying by BBC Russia. “Such situations are sad, but they happen all around the world.” 

Serebrennikov was detained by law enforcement on Tuesday and charged with embezzling 68 million rubles ($1.1 million) in government funds as part of the “Platforma” project connected to Moscow’s Gogol Center. He faces up to ten years in behind bars.

The director’s arrest met with sharp criticism from many within Russia’s cultural elite who say the case against Serebrennikov is politically motivated, a claim the country’s top cultural official denies. 

“This is regrettable,” Medinsky said. “But there is no [question] of it being politically or economically motivated,” adding he had been told by “sources."

Some ministry employees have been called for questioning by investigators, but not the minister himself, Medinsky said.

“We on our side can only do one thing: increase control of applications for government grants,” he was cited as saying. “But on the other hand, we’re not the Investigative Committee. We can’t investigate every single signature." 

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.