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Arrests made over arson attack linked to film about tsar's love affair

Four people suspected of an arson attack linked to a movie about the last Russian tsar's affair with a ballerina have been arrested, Russian police said.

Matilda, which is set to be released in October, has sparked harsh criticism from hard-line nationalists and some Orthodox believers in Russia.

Two cars were set on fire earlier this week outside the office of the lawyer for the film's director and signs reading "burn for Matilda" were reportedly found near the scene.

Last month, assailants tried to set fire to the director's film studio.

Police spokeswoman Irina Volk said in a statement on Thursday that three of the detained have been charged with arson.

They include Alexander Kalinin, the leader of an obscure Christian Orthodox group who has publicly condoned the attacks.

Ministers have condemned some of the hostile reaction to the film about Tsar Nicholas II.

AP

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