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Russia Said To Ban British Comedy 'The Death Of Stalin'

Russia's Culture Ministry has revoked the license for the showing of the British comedy film The Death Of Stalin, state-run news agency TASS quoted a cinema official as saying.

Olga Lyubimova, acting head of the ministry's Cinema Department, said the decision was made on January 23, two days before the film was set to open in Russian theaters.

It came after calls by prominent conservative figures, including film director Nikita Mikhalkov, to bar the movie from being shown in Russia.

The Culture Ministry had warned in September that it might ban Scottish-born director Armando Ianucci's black comedy, which Communist Party lawmakers described as Western "psychological warfare" at the time.

A license was issued, but there were new calls for its revocation after a recent showing for movie industry figures, lawmakers, Culture Ministry officials, and others.

TASS quoted Yury Polyakov, the head of the Culture Ministry's advisory "public council," as saying the movie should not be shown because it contained elements of an "ideological struggle" against Russia.

After the recent showing, "not a single person spoke out in support of this film as a work of art and history," Polyakov said.

Critics of the Kremlin say that Russia will never come to grips with its past, and particularly the crimes committed by the Soviet state under dictator Josef Stalin, if the authorities block efforts to treat it with humor.

Based on reporting by TASS and Meduza