Moscow Court Prolongs House Arrest For Famed Theater Director Serebrennikov

A Moscow court has extended the house arrest for renowned theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, whose detention on fraud charges stunned the Russian artistic world and elicited support internationally.

The Basmanny district court said in its October 17 order that Serebrennikov should remain in detention until January 19.

The 47-year-old director of Moscow’s famed Gogol Theater was arrested in August, accused of embezzling around $1 million in state funds. He has called the charges absurd.

Prosecutors asked the court to prolong his house arrest, saying he was at risk of fleeing the country.

"This is a kind of complete trickery, [saying] that we could flee," Serebrennikov was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying."What's more I have an interest in the truth prevailing, in the truth being uncovered.”

"You only run away when you are guilty," he was quoted as saying.

Scores of people gathered outside the Moscow courthouse, holding photographs of the director and criticizing the prosecution.

In addition to his theatrical work, Serebrennikov is a respected filmmaker.

Before his arrest, he clashed with Russia’s Culture Ministry over the staging of a ballet about legendary Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to the West in 1961. Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky suggested that production might violate a 2013 "gay propaganda" law.