Noisy public dispute about motion picture depicting Tsar Nicholas II


Rosbalt, 21 July 2017


The capital prosecutor's office sent to the Chief Investigative Directorate of the MVD materials pertaining to the actions of members of the public organization "Christian State—Sacred Rus." The charges are connected with actions by opponents of a new motion picture by Aleksei Uchitel.


The agency is supposed to decide the question about their criminal prosecution for "incidents of unearthed violations of criminal legislation," RNS reports with reference to a response of the prosecutor's office to the director that the new agency has in its possession.


In late January, Orthodox public figures sent letters to movie theaters with demands not to allow the showing of "Matilda," threatening to set fire to them if they did not meet their demands. The director himself in February complained to the prosecutor's office against members of the organization.


After this, personnel of the oversight agency conducted an inspection. On the basis of its results, as stated in an open letter by representatives of the prosecutor's office to Uchitel, it was established that the actions of the leadership of "Christian State—Sacred Rus" "contain signs of the crime provided for in part 1 of article 179 of the Criminal Code of the RF (coercion to refuse to perform an action under threat of use of force or destruction or damage to someone else's property)," RNS reports.


The RBK agency sent an inquiry to the press service of the Moscow Chief Directorate of MVD and also to the prosecutor's office.


Meanwhile State Duma Deputy Natalia Poklonskaia declared that she is sending to the prosecutor general's office, the Ministry of Culture, and the MVD of the country more than 100,000 signatures against "Matilda." She said the documents with signatures "fit into 13 boxes with difficulty."


Thirty-seven State Duma deputies "signed a deputies' inquiry about taking measures within the competence of the Russian Ministry of Culture, prosecutor general of the RF, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs regarding the impermissibility of offending the religious feelings of believers and desecration of Orthodox sacred items by the plot line of the film "Matilda," the former prosecutor of Crimea reported on Facebook.


Poklonskaia also sent to the ministries information from the Chamber of Accounts of the RF about the allocation to creators of the film of government financing totaling 280 million rubles with a deadline for final settling of account of 30 September, Poklonskaia added.


This week, the deputy reported to journalists in Ekaterinburg that "as of the present, 40 thousand citizens of the Russian federation and representatives of foreign states had sent [to her] statements to the effect that this film desecrates Orthodox sacred things, offends religious feelings, and incites strife on religious grounds," Interfax writes.


Today Aleksei Uchitel himself declared that no changes will the introduced into the film: "The picture is practically finished. It will be in this form and there will be no changes. I will include no edits in either the trailer or the film."


Earlier the chairman of the public council of the Ministry of Culture of Russia, Pavel Pozhigailo, reported that he recommended to Uchitel that he remake the trailer and cut the film. "I say, if you will cut it then you can cut out some scenes of an erotic nature. That's my wish. He said that 'I will not guarantee now but I will think about it.' It is not a fact that he will do this," the public figure was quoted by the radio station Govorit Moskva.


"The picture is practically ready. It will be in this form and there will be no changes, much less in accordance with Mr. Pozhigailo's comments," Uchitel said to this.


He said that he showed the picture to both Pozhigailo himself, State Duma Speaker Viacheslav Volodin, and the head of the Duma Committee on Culture, Stanislav Govorukhin.


The film describes the fate of ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaia and her relations with Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich, the future Russian emperor. The picture's premier will be held on 26 October. (tr. by PDS, posted 22 July 2017)

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