Russian Court Sentences Award-Winning Director and Playwright to Six Years in Prison

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jul.08 - 2024 9:54 AM CET

Photo: AFP News Agency on YouTube
Photo: AFP News Agency on YouTube
Prosecutors in Moscow have requested a six-year prison sentence for the director and playwright due to their controversial play.

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Prosecutors have asked a Moscow court to sentence director Yevgenia Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk to six years in prison for their play "Finist, The Brave Falcon," according to a report by Russian independent outlet Mediazona on Friday.

The Controversial Play

Berkovich and Petriychuk were arrested in May last year for Berkovich’s production of Petriychuk’s play.

The play tells the stories of Russian women who traveled to Syria during its civil war to marry ISIS members they had met online.

Despite receiving two prestigious Golden Mask awards in 2022, the play has been heavily criticized by the authorities.

An expert for the prosecution claimed that the play contained “the ideology of radical feminism” and linked this to “the conscious preparation and execution of terrorist acts.”

A report for the Federal Security Service (FSB) concluded that the play “glorified terrorists,” making them appear “interesting and attractive to girls and women” while depicting Russian men negatively.

Trial and Sentencing

In addition to the six-year prison sentence, prosecutors have requested that Berkovich and Petriychuk be banned from managing websites for four years.

Their defense lawyers have declined to comment on the requested sentencing and have made no statement to the press.

The trial was closed to the public on June 13 due to concerns about online threats against one of the witnesses.

The sentencing is scheduled for next week.