Jan 26, 2018

By Michael Kramer

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A Moscow movie theatre that had been showing a satirical film about Soviet leader Josef Stalin – cancelled further screenings Friday.

The Pioner theatre’s announcement came several hours after Moscow police visited the theatre.

The officers didn’t declare the purpose of their visit – but it followed the Russian Culture Ministry’s warning that the theatre could face sanctions – including fines.

On Tuesday the Culture Ministry rescinded the permit allowing Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin to be shown in theatres. The decision came after communists and others criticized the movie – as a mockery of Russian history.

The film was scheduled to premiere in Russia on Thursday, and the Pioner theatre screened it as planned. Showing an unlicensed film is punishable by a fine of up to 100,000 rubles (about $1,800) and could lead to a theatre’s closure in case of a second violation.

In announcing it was pulling the movie, the theatre said on its Facebook page that pre-purchased tickets would be refunded and “for all further questions, we ask you to turn to the Ministry of Culture.”

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