Moscow’s Pioner Cinema Fined for Screening ‘Death of Stalin’ in Defiance of Ban

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A court in Moscow has fined the only movie theater in the country that screened a satirical film about Stalin whose license was revoked by the government.

Police raided the historic Pioner Cinema last month before the second screening of “The Death of Stalin” after Russia’s Culture Ministry revoked its license on ideological grounds. The ministry withdrew a request on Feb. 14 to punish Pioner for screening the film, before filing another complaint days later against the cinema for having defied the ministry’s screening ban.

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A magistrate court on Thursday imposed a fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,700) on Pioner Cinema for screening “The Death of Stalin” without a license, Interfax reported on Thursday.

The movie theater said it had only received the ministry’s notification of license withdrawal after having already screened the film for two days, the state-run TASS news agency cited Pioner’s lawyer as saying.

“It’s impossible to violate a screening ban by the Culture Ministry that the cinema hadn’t been notified about,” he added.

Representatives of the Culture Ministry were not present at the court hearing, TASS reported.

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