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Russian theater director Evgeniya Berkovich prosecuted for “justifying terrorism”

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Criminal proceedings have been initiated against the Russian theater director Evgeniya Berkovich under the charges of “justifying terrorism”. As her mother, human rights defender Elena Efros, writes on Facebook, the case was opened because of her production Finist Yasny Sokol [Finist the Brave Falcon].

“Our home is being searched,” Efros wrote. In her next post, she asks her subscribers to reach out to Berkovich, who “isn't answering her phone”, which means that security services are searching her relatives’ apartment, while the director is elsewhere.

Fontanka also reports a search at the apartment of Nina Katerli, 88-year-old writer and Berkovich's grandmother who lives in Saint Petersburg. “I don't know how the search in my apartment correlates with a theater production in Moscow. My granddaughter lives there and doesn't visit often. The last time I saw her was two weeks ago,” Katerli told the journalists.

The press service of Russia's Investigative Committee in Saint Petersburg denied having any information about the search and suggested the case was being handled by the Moscow department.

Finist Yasny Sokol is a production Berkovich staged in Moscow for the independent drama project Daughters of Soso. Based on a play by Svetlana Petriychuk, the production narrates the stories of women who decided to marry ISIS fighters and go live with them in Syria. Premiering in December 2020, the performance won two Golden Mask awards in 2022.

Svetlana Petriychuk
Svetlana Petriychuk

According to the latest reports, Svetlana Petriychuk has been detained at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow. Her husband writes on Facebook that she has been taken to the Central Administrative District for questioning, presumably in connection to the criminal case of Berkovich and her production Finist Yasny Sokol.

A screenshot from Svetlana Petriychuk's husband's Facebook profile
A screenshot from Svetlana Petriychuk's husband's Facebook profile

As Rotonda writes citing Katerli, Evgeniya Berkovich has been arrested too.

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