'The Death of Stalin': Why Russia Banned the Controversial Comedy

One official said she had "never seen anything so disgusting."

From the creators of Veep and The Thick of It comes a film so hardcore that Russian officials chose to ban it entirely. This, coming from the same movie industry that distributed an Avengers knock-off that includes a machine gun-toting werebear as the romantic lead. What a strange era we live in.

Russia’s Ministry of Culture has effectively banned Armando Iannucci’s newest black comedy The Death of Stalin, labeling the film “ideological warfare.” Specifically, they’ve withdrawn permission for its release in Russia, which was supposed to happen on Thursday. The decision came after a massive outcry following a screening for parliamentarians on Monday night.

Speaking to RBK news, Yelena Drapeko — the deputy head of the lower house of parliament’s culture committee — reportedly said that she had “never seen anything so disgusting,” citing “elements of extremism” in the film. Independent reports that one high-ranking official described it as “a western plot to destabilize Russia by ‘causing rifts in society.’”


'The Death of Stalin' might never release in Russia now.

Article continues below

The Death of Stalin satirizes the political turmoil in Moscow following the wake of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s death in 1953. Actors like Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, and Jason Isaacs play figures from real-life that instead act like foul-mouthed caricatures.

Under particular scrutiny is Jason Isaacs’s (Star Trek: Discover, Harry Potter) raucous portrayal of Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who was a major figure that led the Russians to victory against the Nazis in World War II. Time reports that Zhukov’s daughter and 21 others petitioned the culture ministry to ban the film even before this recent screening.

If The Death of Stalin film does for Russia politics what it did for America in Veep and Britain in *The Thick of It, then it’s probably a crass albeit brutally honest look at the decrepit nature of the modern political scene. Iannucci usually offers foul-mouthed and totally hilarious satire, the kind that American and British people are pretty chill with. But the Russians aren’t.

To be fair, Peter Capaldi’s character in The Thick of It does wield the term “lubricated horse cock” to insult a subordinate official, so you can only imagine what sort of offensive scenes appear in The Death of Stalin.

The Death of Stalin will be released on March 9, 2018 in the United States, where it will almost definitely never get banned.

For even more exciting Jason Isaacs action watch this:

Media via eOne Films (1, 2)

With the end of Game of Thrones almost upon us (Season 8 premieres on April 14), speculation over the final six episodes is at all time high. Will fans be happy with the ending? Will the wait have been worth it? The cast and crew haven’t revealed much, but a recent interview suggests that not everyone will be happy with the way Game of Thrones Season 8 finishes the series.

It’s been all but confirmed that Avengers: Endgame will feature some sort of time travel, but we still have no idea how exactly that will work. Now, however, a new fan theory may finally explain how the Avengers defeat Thanos and reveal why everyone seems so chill in the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer. In short: It’s all about time loops.

For many Kingdom Hearts fans, the release of Kingdom Hearts III represents the culminating moment for a journey that’s lasted almost two decades, smashing various Disney worlds and Final Fantasy elements together along the way. Plenty of gamers have grown up dreaming about the first main entry since KHII came out in 2005 — perhaps most of all, Haley Joel Osment, who’s voiced series protagonist Sora since the very beginning.

We’re almost halfway through True Detective Season 3, and the identity of this season’s villain is still a mystery. There are plenty of suspects, but one particularly interesting theory argues that the murderer may be one person you probably didn’t expect: Amelia Reardon. Did Wayne Hays’ wife (played by Carmen Ejogo) kidnap Will and Julie Purcell and kill one of them? It might sound ridiculous, but she may have had a pretty good motive.

It’s been over a month since Nintendo unleashed Super Smash Bros. Ultimate onto the world, and as more professional players share their early tiers lists, it’s quickly become clear which characters are best and which kind of stink. Now, with three new Smash Bros. Ultimate tier lists from three of the top players around, it’s becoming clear that one character is far and away the top pick in competitive Smash.