By Harry Mottram: A theatre director and playwright have been arrested in Russia and accused of “justifying terrorism” for their play about Russian women being recruited online to marry Islamic State fighters in Syria.
Yevgenia Berkovich was arrested on earlier this year alongside the play’s author, Svetlana Petriychuk, after investigators alleged that their award-winning play “Finist, the Bright Falcon” was in violation of the law.
Prosecutors argue the work “romanticizes, justifies and glorifies terrorists” as well as promoting the “ideology of radical feminism”, Russian state media TASS reported. It was staged in 2021 by Berkovich’s own company, with the support of the Union of Theatre Workers of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, according to independent news website Meduza.
The 38-year-old Berkovich was remanded in custody despite her lawyers asking if she could be granted house arrest to take care of her two adopted, disabled daughters. The charges against her carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. A trial is set for November.
In a separate development, authorities in St Petersburg temporarily closed the Maly Drama Theater with one of its actors Danila Kozlovsky facing investigation for anti-war posts.
There is a letter writing campaign to free the duo through Amnesty International. To complete a pre-prepared letter to the Russain authorities at