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)
Updated 24 January 2018
0

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

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.”


Bible Museum admits some of its Dead Sea Scrolls are fake

Updated 21 min 35 sec ago
0

Bible Museum admits some of its Dead Sea Scrolls are fake

  • Technical analysis by a team of German scholars has revealed that at least five of the museum’s 16 scroll fragments are apparent forgeries
  • The announcement has serious implications not only for the Bible Museum but for other evangelical Christian individuals and institutions

WASHINGTON: When Washington’s $500 million Museum of the Bible held its grand opening in November 2017, attended by Vice President Mike Pence, there were questions even then about the authenticity of its centerpiece collection of Dead Sea Scrolls.
Now the museum has been forced to admit a painful truth: Technical analysis by a team of German scholars has revealed that at least five of the museum’s 16 scroll fragments are apparent forgeries.
The announcement has serious implications not only for the Bible Museum but for other evangelical Christian individuals and institutions who paid top dollar for what now seems to be a massive case of archaeological fraud.
Jeffrey Kloha, chief curator for the Museum of the Bible, said in a statement that the revelation is “an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of verifying the authenticity of rare biblical artifacts, the elaborate testing process undertaken and our commitment to transparency.”
The scrolls are a collection of ancient Jewish religious texts first discovered in the mid-1940s in caves on the western shore of the Dead Sea in what is now Israel. The massive cache of Hebrew documents is believed to date back to the days of Jesus. With more than 9,000 documents and 50,000 fragments, the entire collection took decades to fully excavate.
Most of the scrolls and fragments are tightly controlled by the Israeli Antiquities Authority. But around 2002, a wave of new fragments began mysteriously appearing on the market, despite skepticism from Biblical scholars.
These fragments, they warned, were specifically designed to target American evangelical Christians, who prize the scrolls. That appears to be exactly what happened; a Baptist seminary in Texas and an evangelical college in California reportedly paid millions to purchase alleged pieces of the scrolls.
Also, eagerly buying up fragments was the Green family — evangelical Oklahoma billionaires who run the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores and who famously sued the Obama administration on religious grounds, saying they didn’t want to pay to provide their employees access to the morning-after pill or intrauterine devices.
The Greens are the primary backers of the Museum of the Bible and went on an archaeological acquisition spree in the years leading up to the museum’s opening. In addition to the alleged Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, the Greens ran afoul of the Justice Department, which said they had acquired thousands of smuggled artifacts looted from Iraq and elsewhere. The family agreed last year to return those artifacts and pay a $3 million fine.