Ministry of Culture: “Case of Seventh Studio is a matter of human imperfection”

Ministry of Culture: “Case of Seventh Studio is a matter of human imperfection”
Vladimir Medinsky and Aleksandr Zhuravsky Photo: Kommersant

The case of the Seventh Studio is “a matter of human imperfection,” rather than legislation. This is the view articulated by Deputy Minister of Culture Aleksandr Zhuravsky in an interview with RIA Novosti.⁠

The case of the Seventh Studio is “a matter of human imperfection,” rather than legislation. This is the view articulated by Deputy Minister of Culture Aleksandr Zhuravsky in an interview with RIA Novosti.

“Of course, law enforcement practice shows that the improvement of the current legislation is always topical,” the official noted, stressing that the case of the Seventh Studio is not “a matter of legislation imperfection,” but “a matter of human imperfection.” “The expenditure of budget funds will always be carefully monitored,” Zhuravsky stressed. 

According to him, there currently is “a number of mechanisms to support modern theater.” They include annual subsidies in the amount of about 200 million rubles ($3.45 million) for regional theater and music projects. Apart from this, as the deputy minister specified, next year, presidential grants will be indexed by 44%, including those granted to theaters. According to Zhuravsky, such institutions as Sergey Zhenovach’s Theatrical Art Studio, Provincial Theater, as well as the Helikon Opera and the Theater of Nations will receive them in 2018.

In addition, this year, about half a billion rubles ($8.64 million) was allocated for the project Bolshie Gastroli (Big Tour), as part of which viewers from all over Russia could enjoy the best productions of the country's theaters. Zhuravsky specified that this program covers 237 theaters in 83 regions of Russia.

Moreover, from now on, 300 million rubles ($5.18 million) will be allocated to support children's, puppet and youth theaters, and 670 million rubles ($11.57 million) more to support theaters in cities with a population of up to 300 thousand people.

At the moment, the defendants in the case of the Seventh Studio include Stage and Film Director Kirill Serebrennikov, former accountant of the organization Nina Maslyaeva, the studio’s Director General Yury Itin, and former Director of Gogol-Center Aleksey Malobrodsky. All of them are suspected of fraud with state funds. In particular, the investigators accuse Serebrennikov of organizing the embezzlement of 68 million rubles ($1.17 million), allocated by the Ministry of Culture for the theatrical project Platforma on the basis of the Seventh Studio in 2011-2014. 

According to the investigation, the project would provide the state with inflated expenditure reports, while budget money was withdrawn from the organization with the help of fly-by-night companies. Serebrennikov, who is currently under house arrest as part of the case proceedings, denies his guilt.

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