Russian Movie Theaters Fined for Showing 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

Cinemas were accused of propagandizing the use of illegal drugs.

MOSCOW -- Three cinema chains and two movie theaters in the Russian city of Novosibirsk were accused of drug-use propaganda and fined for a total of $112,770 (4 million rubles) for showing Martin Scorsese's most recent feature, The Wolf of Wall Street.

A court in Novosibirsk, the informal capital of Siberia, responded to a complaint from the local office of the Federal Service for Narcotics Control and ruled that the film "reflected a subculture of drug abusers" and idealized the use of illegal drugs, the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported.

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The report quoted Viktor Ivanov, head of the Federal Service for Narcotics Control, as saying that the probe was not ordered by the agency's central office and that no similar cases were brought against movie theaters in the country's other regions.

The ruling was brought against the movie theater chains Kronwerk Cinema, Kino City and Cinema Park, as well as the theaters Pobeda and Rassvet 3D.

The Novosibirsk court based its ruling on a national law, which the country's regions have the freedom to interpret.

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Kinoalliance, an association of Russian theaters and movie chains, condemned the verdict. It issued a statement that the antinarcotics agency should do its job and fight illegal drug use rather than attack movies for alleged "propaganda" of it.

Yelena Drapeko, first deputy head of the culture committee at the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, was quoted by the news agency RIA Novosti as saying that the culture ministry, which issues exhibition licenses to movies, is to blame, rather than movie theaters.

However, she stressed the verdict is not to be questioned.