Russia ‘considering ban’ on Armando Iannucci’s ‘revolting’ new film ‘The Death Of Stalin’

Film accused of being a "planned provocation" with potential to "incite hatred"

Russian authorities are reportedly considering a ban on Armando Iannucci’s new black comedy, The Death Of Stalin.

The film made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival this month. Directed by Veep, In The Loop and The Thick Of It creator Iannucci, it chronicles the days immediately following Stalin’s death, and the Soviet Communist Party leaders’ attempts to cope with his absence. The Death Of Stalin is based on a graphic novel series by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin and stars Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Paul Whitehouse, Paddy Considine, Simon Russell Beale and others as part of an ensemble cast.

The movie comes out in the UK on October 20 and despite its largely positive reviews in the west, The Guardian reports that Russia is considering banning the film from being shown in the country.


Pavel Pozhigailo, a senior official and high-ranking adviser to the culture ministry, called the film a “planned provocation” with potential to “incite hatred”, according to the report. He also said screenings of the movie could lead to protests and speculated that the film could be part of a western plot to destabilise Russia.

Russia’s Communist party had previously called the film “revolting”, while pro-Kremlin newspaper Vzglyad described it as “a nasty send-up by outsiders who know nothing of our history”.

In a glowing five-star review, The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw wrote: “The Death Of Stalin is superbly cast, and acted with icy and ruthless force by an A-list lineup. There are no weak links. Each has a plum role; each squeezes every gorgeous horrible drop.”