New inspection results in Seventh Studio theater case give Kirill Serebrennikov and other high-profile defendants a glimmer of hope
On August 16, the results of a new inspection in the Seventh Studio case were revealed in court. Judge Irina Akkuratova had ordered the inspection in April. Its results indicated that the Platforma project carried a market value of 260 million rubles ($3.9 million) and that “with taxes included, its total costs significantly exceeded 300 million rubles [$4.5 million].” The defendants in the case, including several prominent theater directors and producers, stand accused of using the 216 million rubles ($3.3 million) allocated to the project by the Russian government for personal gain.
Dmitry Kharitonov, who represents the celebrated theater and film director Kirill Serebrennikov in the case, argued that “here, the experts have come to the conclusion that Seventh Studio saved about 80 million rubles [$1.2 million],” according to the wire agency TASS.
“That means the money that was allocated to the project was spent in a maximally rational way, that it was used to produce even more projects than was possible, and that nobody stole anything,” the attorney told Interfax. Irina Poverinova, who represents Sofya Apfelbaum, added that she and her colleagues were “very satisfied” with the results of the report.
The independent legal news site Mediazona reported that the inspection did not answer a number of questions related to Seventh Studio’s finances because that information was only available in documents that were destroyed in 2014. Prosecutors have accused Serebrennikov of ordering their destruction, an accusation the director has denied in what his supporters have called a politically motivated line of argumentation.
The inspection also noted that the Platforma project was “an important sociocultural phenomenon” for the Russian arts and that the project met the objectives Russia’s Culture Ministry sets for the programs it finances.