Gogol Center art director Kirill Serebrennikov’s property searched without a court-issued warrant

The art director of Moscow’s Gogol Center Kirill Serebrennikov had his property searched on Tuesday without a court-issued warrant, and has since been taken away for questioning. Meduza is aware of the manner in which the search was conducted, because it has in its possession the document that ordered the search to take place. The decree was issued by investigator Fedutinov.

The searches at Serebrennikov’s property and the Gogol Center were conducted as part of a case on fraud that was initiated in 2015, maintains the document, according to which Moscow’s Department of Culture had allocated 66.5 million rubles to Serebrennikov’s project Platforma. The money was supposed to have gone towards the popularization of culture. The sponsorship contract was then signed by Sofia Apfelbaum, the current director of the Russian Academic Youth Theater, on behalf of the culture department, reads the decree.

Ordinarily, a court must issue a warrant in order for a search to be conducted legally. However, in non-urgent conditions, searches can be carried out with just the approval of an investigator. In the decree, Fedutinov said it “the case [was] not urgent.”

The search of Serebrennikov’s property began on the morning of May 23. Shortly thereafter, the Gogol Center was surrounded by armed men. The center was also searched. Officially, Russia’s investigative committee reported that searches were conducted in connection with a 2014 case on the embezzlement of budget funds.

Platforma is a pilot project launched in October 2011 at Vinzavod. It dealt with four domains of contemporary art, including music, dance, theatre, and media. Kirill Serebrennikov is both the mastermind behind Platforma and the art director of the Gogol Center.