MOSCOW, June 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Political sanctions against Russia have influenced the international representation at the Moscow annual International Film Festival (MIFF) which is held in Moscow for the 36th time, MIFF President Nikita Mikhalkov said at a briefing held at Pushkinsky cinema where an opening ceremony will be held on Thursday night.
Opening the briefing, Mikhalkov asked to observe a minute of silence in memory of the Russian journalists killed in Ukraine. "This is a tragedy not only for journalists," Mikhalkov stressed.
"The festival is not dying. Problems linked with sanctions have come. Some people are merely cautious, some are just afraid. I can’t help saying that it has affected the festival. It would have been strange if it had not, the sanctions have an impact on all Russia," Mikhalkov said.
"This is unpleasant, of course, but there is a positive thing — a dire necessity to address ourselves. I have experienced a growing wish to be independent and speak up my protest against the phrase 'to punish Russia'," he said.
Mikhalkov hopes that the festival will be quiet. "A total of 61 countries have presented their films, numbering 397 feature films all in all. That is not bad at all. I hope that anyone interested to learn what the modern cinema is like might do that, if he is lucky to get tickets to the festival," he added.