Russia: Putin tackles freedom of speech at Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed freedom of speech in theatre and media, during a meeting of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights in Moscow, Monday. In reference to the artistic director of the Gogol Centre Kirill Serebrennikov, Putin said «Is he a politician? Is he persecuted for his political views? There is a clear financial basis of this unpleasant case... Еще,» adding «we must all abide by the law regardless our field of work.» Kirill Serebrennikov, was detained back in August and charged with fraud and embezzling 68m roubles (US $1,182,547; €996,108) of state funds allocated for the project 'Platform' between 2011-2014. Putin argued that the «Echo of Moscow» attack isn't related with the freedom of speech, saying, «Well, a sick man came» he said referring to the attacker Boris Grits, «How is freedom of speech related [to this case]?» Addressing the issue of freedom of speech in Russia, Putin stated that everyone should be treated «equally» and that there is «no intention to pressure, pull or persecute someone at whatever cost.»

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