‘Persecute murderers instead of poets’: over 16,000 people sign letter in support of Russian director Evgenia Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk

No less than 16,000 people have signed an open letter in support of Russian theatre director Evgenia Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk who have been detained and charged with “justifying terrorism”.

Novaya Gazeta published the letter on Friday. Here is its full text:

Persecute murderers instead of poets! Open letter in support of Evgenia Berkovich and Svetlana Petriychuk

We are against arresting directors, playwrights, actors — or anybody else — for a theatre play in the 21st century.

We are against the lies of the prosecution: the work of director Evgenia Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk does not contain even a hint of justifying terrorism; both the play “Finist, the Brave Falcon” and its stage production clearly carry an anti-terrorism message.

We are against imprisoning people for poems against the “special military operation”. Berkovich’s poems have become well known over the past year. We are against the persecution of people on trumped-up charges. Against ideology governing art. Against the destruction of theatre and culture. Against singling out and snatching people in the theatre industry who have decided to stay in their home country.

She did not want to leave her country, her city, did not want to give up the language of her thoughts, writings, and stage productions. So she did not leave, hoping to keep her voice and the right to a sober and compassionate assessment of what is happening in Russia, in Ukraine, in the world.

She has children waiting for her back home in Moscow. Her mother and grandmother, the well-known writer Nina Katerly, are at home in St. Petersburg.

It’s a disgrace for the state to terrorise women!

We are against terrorism and against justifying it out of a misguided sense of government necessity, among other things. Persecute murderers instead of poets!

Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov signed the letter and also published a video in support of Berkovich and Petriychuk.

“[I ask you to] sign this letter because they have done everything for there to be peace. I remind you: that word is not forbidden. And we haven’t done everything we can for it. We don’t know how much time we have left, but let’s try to spend what little time we have behaving as human beings,” Muratov said.

Berkovich and Petriychuk were detained on Thursday and charged with “justifying terrorism”. They did not admit their guilt.

Their award-winning play “Finist, the Brave Falcon”, the contents of which served as the official grounds for opening the criminal case, tells the stories of women who decided to marry radical Islamists and move to Syria and is based on real events.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.