MOSCOW, December 31 (RIA Novosti) – A former painter from Moscow, whose quest to bring culture to provincial villagers resulted in a jail term for bribery, was granted parole on Tuesday.
The Tver Region Court upheld a parole request filed by 36-year-old Ilya Farber, who had already spent two years and nine months behind bars.
Farber left Moscow for the village of Moshenki in central Russia in 2010 to teach arts, music and literature at a local school.
His actions were compared by the media to those of the “narodniki” – activists of the intelligentsia who resettled in Russian villages in the late 19th century to educate the peasants, in a bid to bridge the gap between urban Russians and the rural poor.
Farber was accused of taking a bribe in 2011 from a company that he had contracted to renovate the village’s town hall, but did not do a proper job. That cost the village budget 940,000 rubles ($28,500), the court said in its verdict.
Farber denied the charges and maintained that he had been framed by the dishonest contractor, who was not charged over the incident.
He was sentenced to eight years in a maximum security prison in August 2012, but the sentence was reduced to seven years and one month upon retrial four months later. Both verdicts have been criticized by the media as unexpectedly harsh.
Earlier this month, the same court canceled his seven-year maximum security jail sentence and ruled that he should instead serve three years in prison and pay a fine of 3 million rubles ($90,000).