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11 February 2021, 11:36 | Updated: 11 February 2021, 12:19
A schoolchild who practises his violin in the evening has been accused by neighbours of violating Russia’s law on silence.
A Russian mother has been taken to court, after neighbours complained her nine-year-old boy’s violin playing breaks local noise laws.
Residents in their multistorey building, a court in the city of Chelyabinsk heard, have repeatedly called the police on the schoolchild’s string practice.
The boy’s mother has been accused of letting him violate the local law on silence, which allows residents to ‘make noise’ only between the hours of 6am and 10pm on weekdays, and 8am and 11pm on weekends.
Speaking to news site 74.ru, the woman, who is unnamed, said her son no longer has other time to play because of his studies. But, she adds, they never break the rules.
“I don’t deny that we play a lot, but it’s always within the rules,’ she told the site. “As soon as my son picks up his violin, our neighbours call the police. We’ve been told that other residents have also complained, and that this is evidence we’re breaking the law.
“What if my neighbours told the police I was hiding a body in my apartment? Would they go through my things and say, ‘Well your neighbours said it was there, so you must have eaten it’?”
“They have no evidence,” the woman said, adding: “They just complain, and that’s it.”
Since 2019, Russian law has allowed residents in certain neighbourhoods to call the police if their neighbours shout, sing or playing loud music late at night, with small fines in place for proven offenders.
According to classical music magazine The Strad, Russian violinist Vadim Repin sent the young musician a message in support of his practice.
“Let this be something that toughens you up, not something that stops you,” Repin said. “But people are people – everyone needs quiet, which is what the law is there to protect. I’d suggest using a practice mute or finding somewhere to play that doesn’t disturb others.”
Classical pianist Denis Matsuev has also spoken out in the boy’s defence, according to Russian news site Novye Izvestia.