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Russian cinema defies ban to show film with a Communist plot

Josef Stalin remains a popular figure in Russia despite purges which cost millions of lives during his rule.

A Moscow cinema has shown a satirical film about Soviet leader Josef Stalin despite an official ban.

The Culture Ministry has rescinded the permit for screening Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci’s The Death Of Stalin just two days before its scheduled premiere. The decision followed criticism from communists and others that the British-French production made a mockery of Russian history.

Pioner cinema showed the film on Thursday as planned, defying the ministry’s move.

The ministry warned the cinema will face sanctions in line with the law. Screening the film without a licence is punishable by a fine of up to 100,000 rubles (about 1,800 US dollars) and could lead to the cinema’s closure in case of a second violation.

Stalin remains widely admired in Russia despite his brutal purges that killed millions.

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