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Russian film on czarist love story banned in Ukraine

January 18, 3:43 UTC+3 KIEV

The decision was taken because of participation in the film of a musician whom the Ukrainian authorities had put on the blacklist of unwanted foreigners

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© Alexander Demyanchuk/TASS

KIEV, January 18. /TASS/. Ukrainian authorities have banned the release of the Russian film ‘Matilda’ featuring the story of romance between Crown Prince Nicholas [would-be Czar Nicholas II] and the young etoile of the Imperial Ballet, Mathilde Kschessinska.

Dmitry Kapranov, a member of the expert board of the State Agency for Cinematography [Goskino], said on Wednesday the decision was taken because of participation in the film of a musician whom the Ukrainian authorities had put on the blacklist of unwanted foreigners.

"Now we’ve denied permission for a release of the film ‘Matilda’ on the basis of formal criteria," the 1+1 news channel quoted him. "The musician who did all of this there is on the blacklist. Our spectators may say, of course, well he is just a musician and you ban the film but I can ask them in response, would you go to the marketplace and buy the watermelons with nitrates there?"

"Such watermelons do contain some vitamins but they also contain the nitrates," Kapranov said. "And these people on the blacklist are the very same nitrates and their produce is therefore poisoned."

Following a recommendation by the SBU security service, the Ukrainian Culture Ministry drew up a list of individuals allegedly posing a threat to national security and therefore banned from entering Ukraine. It contains the names of more than 140 Russian arts professionals including film directors Karen Shakhnazarov and Pavel Lungin, singer/songwriter Alexander Rosenbaum, actors Vassily Lanovoi and Oleg Tabakov, and the veteran of the Soviet and Russian pop scene, Iosif Kobzon, among others.

‘Matilda’, a film directed by Alexei Uchitel, was released in Russia in October 2017. It aroused a scandal in the wake of heated public debates stirred by the State Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya, who campaigned for banning it.

Poklonskaya claimed that ‘Matilda’ supposedly insulted the memory of Nicholas II, who is canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church as a new holy martyr for faith, and the feelings of believers.

Director Uchitel dismissed Poklonskaya’s attempts to influence the destiny of the film as inadmissible.

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