Michael Berg, publicist, USA
The punishment requested by the prosecutor is a warning. Against the backdrop of a fall in popularity, the government once again recalls how ruthless it has in its arsenals. And it’s more convenient for her to show this not to outspoken oppositionists who are already cut off chunks, strangers and foreigners, but to those who agreed to play by the rules, but did not understand at what point the rules had changed.
But conditional punishment is that offensive reality in which power is located, forced to portray more power than it really is.
Obviously, Serebrennikov and the other defendants did not do anything that other directors and leaders of creative associations do not: they all cash out money, rightly believing that they themselves are able to decide what exactly to spend what they get from the state. But this is precisely what is important for the authorities. To tell everyone else, including trusted representatives and without flattery, loyal courtiers in theatrical or office costumes: do you think you bought indulgence by swearing once or a couple of times, and otherwise considering yourself free? You are on a short leash, my hand feels when you choose it, testing our bond for strength, and if I don’t immediately pull the leash, letting you know that the collar has become strict and prickly from decorative for a long time, then I can do it at any time .
Through the mouth of the prosecutor, the authorities showed their goals and prospects in the case of the Seventh Studio: the matter is not in personalities, but in principle. And through the lips of the judge, they turned the whole process into a joke, of course, involuntarily. The very nature of the Russian government does not allow much to be said, it will inevitably need to fit its actions into the framework of a democracy alien to it, tailored to another's pattern. She cannot say that she is becoming more and more autocratic. But she speaks with examples, pictures, allegories, and the sentence to Serebrennikov is important for the authorities, since this is something that is clear without words.
We show our humanity and involuntary weakness, replacing the real term with a conditional one, but at the same time we show (perhaps a hundred and twenty-second, the last time) that we are ready to punish anyone. Including the one who does like almost everyone else, but this is no longer a protective diploma; as the productivity of creativity and its recognition is not a protective letter, both with us and with them . On the contrary, it is precisely this recognition and a necessary detail of the entire silent scene: political circumstances require a degree of loyalty that was not required yesterday, and even more so the day before yesterday. No one is safe from lightning strikes, no one can hide from it under the very leafy crown of creative distinctiveness, you must learn to read the rules without words and even against them: we have not been joking for a long time, and you should not joke too, time has passed.
And here, the more merciless, the more obvious, the government without a doubt considers itself humane and tolerant, therefore it replaces the bunk with conditional shame. But she is struggling to explain her motivation, resorting to the most obvious examples. She clearly says that she does not want mass repressions, she will evade them for as long as possible, and that is why she punishes those who are chosen as the scapegoat with excessive severity. See what may be and think about yourself. Unless, of course, able to read and understand our language.
The second conclusion is even poorer in content than the first. Why was the punishing sword of justice ready to fall upon Serebryannikov’s head, who in many respects understood and accepted the rules of the game and just didn’t hear their heavenly change? That is precisely why he came too close, ate from his hand, took what was given, what beckoned, what he used to increase his fame and popularity, like a sail blown by the wind.
With a high degree of probability, do not take Serebrennikov’s theater, money and Surkov’s protection, he would not be sitting in the dock, should not be responsible for what others are doing, sometimes in large volumes, but then who would know about him? No matter how the handout from the gentleman's shoulder, who would director Serebrennikov be (or director Bogomolov, or almost any of those whose name shines like a rainbow in the sky)? Few people know, a capable director from the province, and here once and for several years he went from dirt to riches, using the resources obtained to realize his potentials, but also putting himself in jeopardy.
This situation is so poor for interpretation that everything seems clear: the closer to the fire, the more likely it is to burn yourself, and this is intuitive (and rationally) understood by anyone who still decides to carry chestnuts from imperious fire, confident that it is protected its exclusivity. But this exclusivity is not visible to the authorities, or rather visible, but as a consequence of the resources received, the wind that blew into the sails and allowed to break into the operational space.
Any court painter, and even an artist, only once invited to the residence and ate from the edge of the festive table, is sure that its uniqueness is a shell that cannot be pierced by arrows emitted by ill-wishers. He focuses on his potencies, which he calls talents, and the government, having a different vision system, sees in potencies only a condition for giving him an advance. What the artist receives from the authorities is always an advance, and the authorities can extend the fee sheet by adding new amounts to it, or they may demand that everything be returned to the penny.
In the case of Serebrennikov, at the last moment, showing royal mercy, he demands that the advance be returned, since it was used for other purposes. Not to advance the interests of the authorities, but to advance their interests. But the area of privacy, as the electoral support of the authorities decreases, will shrink like shagreen skin, and there is no way to change the conceptual order. On the forehead of Serebrennikov and other defendants they put a stigma: despite the grace of the last hour, the skin still sizzles from a burn, but as they cool down, everyone should see what can happen if the advance is used with errors. Serebrennikov thought that he had long paid off the power with staging Surkov’s trinket “About Zero” and other bows, which cost him too much, and he just and directly in the forehead: a slave. Yes, this word was not a tattoo, like some Soviet prisoners who wrote on their forehead themselves: a slave of the CPSU.