Grandson sues film-makers over 'mocking' Brezhnev film

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The grandson of the late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev is to sue the makers of a new film about his famous relative's life and times on the grounds that it makes his grandfather look like an idiot.

The grandson of the late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev is to sue the makers of a new film about his famous relative's life and times on the grounds that it makes his grandfather look like an idiot.

Andrei Brezhnev also says the film - Brezhnev: Decline of an Empire - is full of glaring inaccuracies and is furious that the makers did not consult him and other relatives "to get the real story" about Leonid Brezhnev. "The film is disgusting," he told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. "After watching it I got the impression the only thing that Leonid Ilyich did was sleep."

Brezhnev Jnr, 43, a Moscow businessman and Communist sympathiser, said the film's screenwriter could easily have interviewed plenty of people who personally knew his grandfather to build up an accurate picture of his personality.

"Apart from the name of the film there's no truth in it. Some say that Sergei Snezhkin [the director] wanted to make a positive film but for me, his grandson, it has turned out mocking. Snezhkin can expect some unpleasantness. I'm going to court and I'm being supported by people who worked with Brezhnev."

The film, shown on prime time state-controlled Russian television in four parts, focuses on the last years of Brezhnev's rule and has proved popular with viewers, many of whom are still nostalgic about the Brezhnev era's stability and low prices. Brezhnev presided over the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death in 1982, a period that came to be known as "the stagnation" because of the dearth of changes and the lifeless state of affairs in the country.

The average age of politburo members was 69 and Brezhnev was hardly seen in public in the last three years of his life. The film portrays him as his powers are beginning to fade. He is seen walking out of politburo meetings in the middle of a report, falling asleep at negotiations and is pictured having a romantic relationship with his nurse.

His faithful retainers have defended their old boss, arguing strongly that there was no romance with his nurse and that, although senile in his final years, he did not fall asleep at meetings but left the room in a dignified way to have a nap next door.

According to Komsomolskaya Pravda, the film has been well received, albeit for different reasons. "Some liked it because they could see that all this nonsense is now in the distant past while others experienced feelings of nostalgia."

The film comes at a time when the current occupants of the Kremlin are striving to preserve a measure of Brezhnevian stability as "velvet" revolutions unseat Soviet-era governments across the former Soviet Union.

Inspired by such revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia and most recently Kyrgyzstan, some Russian regions are showing signs of becoming restless, prompting President Vladimir Putin's chief of staff to raise the spectre of Russia falling apart. Earlier this week, opposition demonstrators from the Russian republic of Bashkorstan flew to Moscow to demand the resignation of the local Soviet-era leader Murtaza Rakhimov.

Some of the protesters talked of the desirability of a "people's liberation revolution". Opposition activists in the republic of Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya, have also called for their local leader to be removed.

Comments