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Russia bans ‘insulting’ satirical movie about Stalin’s death

In this file photo, An artist holds a portrait of former Soviet leader Josef Stalin as communist party supporters marking the anniversary of Stalin's birth outside the GUM, State Department store decorated with New Year and Christmas illumination in Moscow's Red Square, Russia. Russia's Culture Ministry on Jan. 23, 2018 has banned the satirical film about Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's death two days before its scheduled release. (AP)
MOSCOW: Russia has banned “Death of Stalin,” a dark, satirical movie from British director Armando Iannucci, saying many Russians would find it an insulting mockery of the country’s Soviet past.
The film, which focuses on back-stabbing and in-fighting among the Soviet leader’s closest allies as they vie for power immediately after his 1953 death, had been privately viewed by culture ministry officials and advisers.
Vladimir Medinsky, the culture minister, said on Tuesday his ministry had received a number of complaints after the showing which had prompted him to withdraw its general release license.
“Many people of the older generation, and not only, will regard it as an insulting mockery of all the Soviet past, of the country that defeated fascism and of ordinary people, and what’s even worse, even of the victims of Stalinism,” Medinsky said in a statement.
Iannucci, the film’s director, said he had not lost hope the Russian authorities would perform a U-turn.
“All the Russians we’ve shown the film to so far, including Russian journalists, have said how much they enjoyed and appreciated the film,” he said. “They say two things: it’s funny, but it’s true. I’m still confident we can get it in cinemas.”