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Moscow Official Shuts Down Screening Of Pussy Riot Documentary

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Just days after two members of Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot were released from prison as part of an attempt to clean up Russia's public image ahead of the 2014 Sochi Games, comes news that a screening of a documentary about the group's trial and subsequent imprisonment has been shut down by officials in Moscow, BuzzFeed reports. The U.S. made documentary titled, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The theater where the documentary was to be screened received a letter from Sergei Kapkov, the head of Moscow’s cultural department, forcing a cancellation of the screening on the basis that theaters that accept public funding are not to screen films that "provoke" society:

LetterKirill Serebrennikov, the director of the Gogol Center theater, announced the move on his Facebook page on Saturday and posted a copy of the letter. “Until recently, in all interviews, I would declare like a mantra: ‘There’s no censorship at the theater, there’s no censorship at the theater.’ That’s it, fuck, there’s censorship at the theater! Cynical, pointless and stupid,” he wrote.

The official letter, signed by Sergei Kapkov, the head of Moscow’s cultural department, demanded Serebrennikov cancel the showing of the film, which was set for Sunday afternoon, to be accompanied by a discussion with Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, two members of the opposition punk group released from prison last week.

Kapkov, seen as a relatively liberal official, wrote that he was “shocked” to learn of the film showing and discussion via social media. “I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the theater run by you is a government cultural institution…and financed from the city budget,” Kapkov wrote. “You, as the director of the institution, should show responsibility before the founders and, most importantly, before the audience.”

“I deeply believe that a government cultural institution should not associate with those people who provoke such an ambiguous reaction and whose activity is based on the provocation of society,” Kapkov wrote.

He continued: “I have no right to get mixed up in your repertoire politics, and I’ve never done that, but considering this showing is not part of the official schedule, I demand you cancel the showing of the documentary film ‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer’ and the discussion with the main heroes of the film.” Kapkov’s spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

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Comments

  1. Who needs all that inconvenient freedom, anyway?

    Posted by: Gregory in Seattle | Dec 28, 2013 7:46:19 PM


  2. Totalitarianism is in the Russian soul.

    Posted by: Randal Oulton | Dec 28, 2013 8:04:52 PM


  3. email the fascist:
    priemnaja@depcul.mos.ru

    Posted by: Sean | Dec 28, 2013 8:21:18 PM


  4. The Gogol Theatre is highly regarded among the cultured ... the cancellation will backfire socially...

    Posted by: JoelD | Dec 28, 2013 11:41:50 PM


  5. Censorship and oppression of minorities: where have we seen all this before ?

    The Putin Junta is Fascist -classic fascist

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Dec 29, 2013 10:18:02 AM


  6. I can understand why they would be concerned about it. I've seen this on HBO. Great documentary.

    But it's the truth and that's what makes it powerful. Everyone there is literally backwards in that country and I just find that tragic and sad. I actually thought maybe they have finally moved on up to our level of thinking. Obviously, I was very wrong.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Dec 29, 2013 10:19:20 AM


  7. @mickyflip, it's far from true that "everyone" is backward in Russia, as this story shows. Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina, Serebrennikov are all appalled, as are most of the cultural elite. Much of Moscow is anti-Putin.

    I'd also like to remind towleroad readers (before a certain troll chimes in) that Pussy Riot's punk prayer included support for gay people in Russia. They were aware and on our side long before LGBT Russians became a cause célèbre in the West.

    Posted by: KevinVt | Dec 29, 2013 11:18:28 AM


  8. All that's left for Russia to do is to resurrect Tsarist rule and declare Vlady Putin the new emperor. Russia never strays far from its authoritarian roots, does it?

    Posted by: jamal49 | Dec 29, 2013 2:39:59 PM


  9. @ KEVINVT You bring up a valid point. Thank you for proving me otherwise. My heart still goes out to everyone in Russia who are forced to deal with the 'backwards' ideals of the current administration. I do hope the ideals change there soon.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Dec 29, 2013 7:15:02 PM


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