Moscow cinema pulls banned Stalin film after police visit

Moscow cinema pulls banned Stalin film after police visit

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A Moscow cinema that had been showing a satirical film about Soviet leader Josef Stalin in defiance of an official Russian government ban cancelled further screenings today.

The Pioner cinema’s announcement came several hours after Moscow police visited it. Police did not declare the purpose of their visit, but it followed the Russian Culture Ministry’s warning that the cinema could face sanctions including fines.

The Culture Ministry on Tuesday rescinded the permit allowing Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin to be shown in cinemas.

The decision came after communists and others criticised the movie as a mockery of Russian history.
The film was scheduled to premiere in Russia on Thursday, and the Pioner cinema screened it as planned. Showing an unlicensed film is punishable by a fine of up to 100,000 rubles (about €1,400) and could lead to a cinema’s closure in case of a second violation.

In announcing it was pulling the movie, the cinema said on its Facebook page that pre-purchased tickets would be refunded and “for all further questions, we ask you to turn to the Ministry of Culture”.

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