Accessibility links

Breaking News

The Daily Vertical: The Kremlin Does Kafka (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

So it's come to this.

Vladimir Putin's regime is no longer content to simply prosecute opponents for things that are patently absurd.

It's no longer content to just fabricate criminal cases, plant evidence, and manufacture crime scenarios.

It's no longer content to simply make stuff up.

Now the Kremlin is in the business of denying reality altogether.

WATCH Today's Daily Vertical

The bizarre case against two former artistic directors and an accountant at Moscow's Gogol Center Theater truly crosses a frightening and disturbing line.

The three have been charged with embezzling 200 million rubles in state funds the theater received to produce an adaption of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Remarkably, the prosecutors are claiming that the play was never staged.

They are claiming this despite the fact that the play was clearly staged 15 times in Moscow, as well as in Paris.

They are claiming this despite the fact that playbills, posters, and media reviews of the play have been presented as evidence.

And they are claiming this despite the fact that witnesses are coming forward to say they attended the performances and are posting photographs of it online.

Nope. The regime says it never happened so it never happened.

You can insert your favorite reference to Franz Kafka, George Orwell, or North Korea right here.

The ultimate target in this weird case appears to be the prominent stage and theater director Kirill Serebrennikov, a vocal Kremlin critic who is the theater's current artistic director.

The Putin regime is sending a message that it can come after someone that prominent by outright denying reality, it can come after anybody.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.