Armando Iannucci comedy The Death of Stalin facing ban in Russia

High-ranking officials believe the film may be 'causing rifts' in Russian society

Jacob Stolworthy
Thursday 21 September 2017 10:02 BST
The Death of Stalin trailer

New film The Death of Stalin is facing a ban in Russia amid fears it could lead to violent protests.

According to The Guardian, Pavel Pozhigailo - a high-ranking adviser to the culture ministry - believes that the black comedy from Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, Veep) could be part of a western plot to destabilise Russia by “causing rifts in society.”

Describing the satire - which stars Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin and Jason Isaacs - as a “planned provocation” targeting the country's communists, Pozhigailo said the culture ministry would ban the film if officials decided it had the potential to “incite hatred.”

This isn't the first time Russian officials have criticised the new film.

A spokesman for Russia's Communist party said the film was 'revolting“ while pro-Kremlin newspaper Vzglyad backed hte motion to ban the film, describing it as “a nasty send-up by outsiders who know nothing of our history

Buscemi appears in the film, which is based on a graphic novel of the same name, as Nikita Khrushchev who must take over as Russia's leader when Stalin dies from a stroke in 1953.

The film, which was screened at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) earlier this month, has been receiving overwhelming praise with a series of five-star reviews.

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