Russian culture ministry blocks plans for 'The Death of Stalin' film release

Officials claimed the satire contained "information whose distribution is legally banned in Russia"

Russian culture ministry blocks plans for 'The Death of Stalin' film release

The Death Of Stalin. Image: Entertainment One via YouTube

The Russian culture ministry has withdrawn permission for the comedy film The Death of Stalin to screen in the country.

Based on a graphic novel, the film satirises the political fallout that followed the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

The film - which is directed by Veep and The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci - was released in the UK & Ireland last year to critical acclaim.

A Russian culture ministry spokesperson told the AFP news agency that the distribution certificate of the film had been withdrawn for containing "information whose distribution is legally banned in Russia".

The decision came after the Russian culture ministry held a screening of the film for politicians and filmmakers.

The screening was organised after a number of local cultural officials and filmmakers published a letter calling for the government to delay the film's planned release.

The signatories claimed the film "contains information that can be regarded as extremist" and "lampoons the history of our country". The trailer is also accused of being "offensive" towards the Russian national anthem.

Mr Iannucci, meanwhile, told The Guardian: "All the Russians we’ve shown the film to so far, including Russian press, have said how much they enjoyed and appreciated the film. They say two things: it’s funny, but it’s true."

On Twitter, he also expressed his hope that they could still screen the film in Russia: