2017-09-14 17:21:00

Russian police ready to curb provocations, ensure security of Matilda film viewers

Moscow, September 14, Interfax - Police stand ready to help film distribution companies and local government bodies to ensure security during the screening of the film 'Matilda' by the moviemaker Alexey Uchitel, and decisions on extra security measures will be made depending on the situation, the Russian Interior Ministry told Interfax on Thursday.

"In light of the public's special attention to the release of the film Matilda, in order to ensure security of the viewers and prevent possible provocations, the Interior Ministry's territorial bodies have been instructed to assist distribution companies, regional executive bodies and local self-government bodies in maintaining public order at sites where the film is to be shown," the ministry said.

"Extra measures to maintain public order and protect the buildings and property of distribution companies will be devised and applied by territorial bodies of the Interior Ministry depending on the situation and information on possible unlawful actions," it said.

The film 'Matilda' by Uchitel has gained a lot of publicity long before its release. In particular, State Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya asked the Prosecutor General's Office to start an inquiry with regard to the film, as, in her opinion, some of its scenes may insult religious people. The film deals with relationships between future Emperor Nicholas II and ballerina Matilda (Matylda) Krzesinska amid some landmark events of Russian history. The film's official release is scheduled for October 26. The Culture Ministry granted it distribution certificate on August 10.

Amid the threats being received by movie theaters and demands that they not show the film, a number of movie networks have decided not to show it. In particular, the unified Cinema Park and Formula Kino network announced on September 12 that they would not show the film amid the incoming threats.

Unidentified people set fire to two cars near the office of Uchitel's lawyer Konstantin Dobrynin several days ago. In August, an attempt was made to set fire to Uchitel's film studio in St. Petersburg where the movie was shot.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said on Twitter on September 13 that he was outraged by "the hysteria being deliberately fomented" around the film and accused activists harassing the film creators of discrediting the state's culture and church policy. Medinsky also forwarded a letter to Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev asking him to ensure security and curb possible unlawful actions during the screening of the film 'Matilda'.

State Duma deputies Irina Rodnina and Oksana Pushkina sent official requests to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Interior Ministry on September 13 that the organizations Christian State and Sorok Sorokov, which supposedly threatened the film distributors, be checked for extremism.