Church and state warn dissenters against film about sainted tsar


RIA Novosti, 8 February 2017


The deputy head of the synod's Department for Relations of Church with Society and News Media, Vakhtang Kipshidze, declared that the organization "Christian state—Sacred Rus," which according to news media reports is demanding to prevent distribution of the film "Matilda," does not have the right to speak in the name of the church and the Orthodox public.


On Wednesday, Uchitel's lawyer, Konstantin Dobrynin, a senior partner in the law firm Pen&Paper and former senator, told RIA Novosti that Director Aleksei Uchitel has sent a statement to the Russian prosecutor general's office requesting protection of the personnel of the film "Matilda" from "threats and illegal actions by persons of extremist tendencies," and also from slander on the part of State Duma Deputy Natalia Poklonskaia. The Russian president's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, declared that Uchitel is being threatened by anonymous extremists and this is impermissible; the state will respond to this severely.


In late January the NTV television channel broadcast a letter that the organization "Christian state—Sacred Rus" has distributed to directors of movie theatres with demands to refuse to distribute "Matilda." The letter says in particular that any promotion or advertisement of the film will be viewed as "the desire to humiliate saints of the Orthodox Church."


"Of course, people have the right to expression of their position in connection with the anticipated release of the film 'Matilda.' It is fully to be expected that a challenge by the creators of the film to the family morality of Emperor Nicholas, who was brutally murdered along with his minor children in dungeons, cannot leave anyone indifferent. But such a reaction should not transgress the bounds of the law, accompanied by any threats and extremist appeals," Kipshidze declared.


"The organization 'Christian state—Sacred Rus,' which supposedly distributed the appeals, does not have the right to speak in the name of the Russian Orthodox Church and does not represent the Orthodox public," the news agency's interlocutor emphasized.


"We also do not challenge the right of the creators of the film to appeal to the law in connection with the threats sounded against them. But what is most proper in this situation is the ability to listen to one another and to display tact and respect both to the feelings of believing people and to the creative freedom of the artist," the RPTs representative concluded.


As reported earlier, Poklonskaia declared that she does not agree with the results of the examination of the trailer of the film "Matilda," and she has asked for an additional examination of the script and financing of the film. Poklonskaia explained that she sent a new inquiry to the prosecutor general's office. It is planned that the film will be released for distribution in October 2017. (tr. by PDS, posted 8 February 2017)

Background article:
Orthodox activists threaten violence against movie theatres
February 7, 2017

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