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Emir Kusturica, the Serbian director who is a two-time Cannes Palme d’Or winner, will get the Russian “Friendship” award under a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin.
Kusturica will be honored “for significant input in strengthening friendship and cooperation between peoples and preservation and popularizing of the Russian language and culture,” reads the decree, published on a Russian governmental website.
Among other recent recipients of the “Friendship” award are Armenian foreign minister Edward Nalbandyan, Chin Peng, the head of China’s state theater, and U.S. entrepreneur Susan Elizabeth Lehrman.
When the Maidan revolution toppled Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian regime in February 2014, Kusturica condemned the pro-European side in the conflict, comparing the events in Ukraine with those in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
He subsequently supported Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsular region from Ukraine in March 2014. His statements led to a ban on entering Ukraine, issued in 2015.
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