MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow movie theater that had been showing a satirical film about Soviet leader Josef Stalin in defiance of an official Russian government ban canceled further screenings Friday.
The Pioner theater’s announcement came several hours after Moscow police visited the theater. Police didn’t declare the purpose of their visit, but it followed the Russian Culture Ministry’s warning that the theater could face sanctions including fines.
The Culture Ministry on Tuesday rescinded the permit allowing Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” to be shown in theaters. The decision came after communists and others criticized the movie as a mockery of Russian history.
The film was scheduled to premiere in Russia on Thursday, and the Pioner theater screened it as planned. Showing an unlicensed film is punishable by a fine of up to 100,000 rubles (about $1,800) and could lead to a theater’s closure in case of a second violation.
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In announcing it was pulling the movie, the theater said on its Facebook page that pre-purchased tickets would be refunded and “for all further questions, we ask you to turn to the Ministry of Culture.”