Russia's Communist Party Demands Ban of Armando Iannucci's 'Death of Stalin'

The Death of Stalin Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of TIFF

The culture ministry will scrutinize the movie to determine if it should be banned in the country.

Russia's Communist Party, the second largest in Parliament, have called for a ban on Armando Iannucci's The Death of Stalin as the movie "discredits" the late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Alexander Yushchenko, the Communists' spokesman, was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying that the movie is "disgusting" and he hopes the culture ministry, which is in charge of issuing exhibition licenses for all movies, won't allow its release in Russia.

Sergei Obukhov, the secretary of the central committee of the Russian Communist Party, was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that the movie is "another form of psychological warfare" against Russia and "discrediting of the country's leaders."

The government culture ministry said it will scrutinize the movie to determine if it can be released in Russia.

"If this film about Stalin is just as provocative as Matilda," it shouldn't be released, Pavel Pozhigailo, deputy head of the ministry's expert council, was quoted as saying by Govorit Moskva radio station.

He referred to the upcoming movie about the last Russian czar and his affair with ballet dancer Matylda Krzesi?ska, which has caused a huge controversy lately, with protestors setting a movie theater and cars on fire.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he doesn't know much about The Death of Stalin and that he trusted the culture ministry to make a responsible decision regarding an exhibition license for the movie, news agency TASS reported.

Premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, The Death of Stalin is a black comedy focused on partially fictional in-fighting in the Kremlin that followed Stalin’s death in 1953.

The movie features Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev, the successor of Stalin, and Michael Palin as Vyacheslav Molotov, the top Soviet diplomat.

In Russia, the movie was picked up by distributor Volga, but the release date has not yet been determined.