While in the West, Armando Iannucci’s satire on the communist dictator Joseph Stalin, ‘The Death of Stalin,’ has been showered with five-star reviews, in Russia, nobody finds it amusing.
The new satire describes the political infighting following Stalin’s death in 1953 which led to the ascent to power of Nikita Khrushchev and Lavrentiy Beria. In the film, Beria, who headed the Soviet secret police, is called a “sneaky little shit”.
While British experts praised the movie and rated it five stars, the Russians are not amused since the satire questions the leadership of Stalin ahead of the anniversary marking 100 years from the October Revolution, which brought communism to Russia.
Russian Critics Blast the Movie
One Russian lawmaker, Nikolai Starikov, noted that the death of a person is no laughing matter. Starikov, who is the author of a bestselling book about Stalin, called the late dictator “a great leader.” The lawmaker reminded the Brits that Stalin allied with the Great Britain in the war. He added that Russia would never do a movie that mocks a British monarch and deemed the artistic work an “unfriendly act” coming from the U.K.’s intellectual elite,
But Starikov did not end there. He believes that the satire is the result of an “anti-Russian information war” that seeks to discredit Soviet leaders.
Russia’s culture ministry couldn’t tell if the film will be banned in the country since the Brits have not applied for a license yet. The Russian distributor of the movie confirmed that it hasn’t submitted the license application to the ministry, but pledged to do so after the movie’s premiere in the U.K. late this week.
Several newspapers protested the movie’s screening, with one journalist calling is a “nasty sendup” set in place by foreigners who fail to understand Russian history. One official from the country’s culture ministry believe the satire is a “planned provocation”.
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