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Russian Culture Ministry yanks distribution certificate for The Death of Stalin

January 23, 2018, 18:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Death of Stalin, a British-French political satire film directed by Armando Iannucci, is based on a graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin

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MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. The Russian Cultural Ministry has decided to withdraw the distribution certificate for the British-French political satire film The Death of Stalin, Acting Director of the ministry’s Cinema Department Olga Lyubimova told TASS on Tuesday.

On Monday, a public screening of the picture took place, attended by film industry figures, State Duma (lower house of parliament) MPs, representatives of the Russian Historical Society as well as members of the Culture Ministry’s Public Board. According to the Board’s head Yuri Polyakov, the movie should not be screened in Russia as it seems to be a tool for "ideological struggle." He pointed out that, "nobody spoke out in favor of the film as a work of art." The movie industry people who watched the flick requested the Culture Ministry yank its distribution credentials.

"The distribution certificate for The Death of Stalin has been withdrawn," a spokesperson for the Culture Ministry said.

A group of the Russian Culture Ministry’s lawyers earlier requested Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky yank the distribution certificate for The Death of Stalin, citing the film’s extremist nature.

"The Death of Stalin is aimed at inciting hatred and enmity, violating the dignity of the Russian (Soviet) people, promoting ethnic and social inferiority, which points to the movie’s extremist nature," the attorneys said. "According to the rules of issuance and withdrawal of film distribution credentials, such a certificate must be withdrawn in case a movie contains information the dissemination of which is prohibited by Russian legislation," the address says.

According to the lawyers, the film portrays some historical characters, including Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov, in a distorted way. "Zhukov is portrayed as a militant comedian, while he was actually a prominent commander, a gifted strategist and a marshal of the Soviet Union, who made a great contribution to our army’s victory in the Great Patriotic War, so his name is inextricably linked to the great Victory. However, the movie shows no respect for our history and the memory of previous generations," the address stressed.

"We are confident that the movie was made to distort our country’s past so that the thought of the 1950s Soviet Union makes people feel only terror and disgust," they added.

The Death of Stalin, a British-French political satire film directed by Armando Iannucci, is based on a graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin. The Russian release of the picture, which premiered worldwide in September 2017, is due for release January 25. The movie is centered on the pursuit for power in the USSR following the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953. The film stars Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs and Olga Kurilenko to name a few.

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