Russian actor Smolev jailed for drunk policeman comic video

Dmitry Smolev on stage, Feb 2019 pic Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Moscow theatre says Smolev did not realise he was breaking the law

An actor at a leading Moscow theatre has been sentenced to eight days in jail for acting as a drunken traffic policeman in an amateur comedy video.

Dmitry Smolev was found guilty of bringing Russian police into disrepute and illegally wearing a police uniform.

He has been performing a major role in the current production of Dyuma at the Sovremennik Theatre.

In the 12-second clip Smolev wobbles and smokes a cigarette. A blogger posted it on the social network TikTok.

In a Russian TV interview, Smolev said the blogger had asked him to perform in the clip as a favour, and had given him the police uniform for the part. Smolev said he did not know where the clip was to appear.

Sovremennik Theatre has issued a statement, saying it "understands that ignorance of the law (which is indeed the case concerning Dmitry Smolev) does not relieve someone of responsibility".

It went on to say: "The artist and his partner in making this clip - and the partner posted the clip on social media - first of all did not know the law, and second, did not bother to add captions to their work, which would have made it clear that this was a piece of acting."

The clip, the theatre said, was "even talented", and "it is a real pity that it was not Dmitry Smolev's theatrical work... that prompted the media excitement, but rather this incident".

The modern play Dyuma, by Russian playwright Ivan Okhlobystin, will still be performed on Thursday and Friday despite Smolev's arrest, the theatre said.

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