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19 Feb, 2019 18:46

Art of politics: Ukraine seeks to ban Russian WWII film… in US

Art of politics: Ukraine seeks to ban Russian WWII film… in US

Kiev has apparently decided to move its war on everything Russian to the movies screens – this time in the US. Ukraine’s embassy has urged US cinemas to stop showing a Russian WWII film, calling it “propaganda.”

The diplomatic mission “called [on] cinemas to reconsider their intension to show it because the film openly justifies and promotes Moscow’s hostile foreign and security policy (including Russian ongoing aggression against Ukraine),” the embassy said in its appeal posted on Facebook.

The movie, which provoked the surprisingly harsh reaction from Ukrainian diplomats, is called ‘T-34’, after the famous Soviet tank which became a symbol of the Soviet fight against Nazism during WWII. It tells the story of a tank crew escaping from the Nazis. The movie is set during WWII and has nothing to do with modern times or any country’s foreign policy.

The story centers on a group of Soviet soldiers, which consists not only of Russians but people from other Soviet republics like Belarus, fighting for their lives against the Nazis. The film does not contain anything that could be interpreted as remotely anti-Ukrainian. However, the diplomats, who never bothered to watch the movie in the first place, apparently decided they needed to be outraged over its distribution within the borders of Ukraine’s cherished “ally,” just because it’s Russian.

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It seems that the mere reminder of a common past with a nation that Kiev now likes to portray as a “vile aggressor” angers Ukrainian officials. However, some zealous members of the Ukrainian community in the US outdid even the diplomats and took matters into their own hands – attempting to disrupt the film’s distribution in several US cities by issuing threats to the cinemas. Of course, it did not even occur to them to actually watch the movie first.


As a result, T-34 was canceled in San Francisco, while in Boston it was simply moved to another cinema. The film warriors immediately earned the praise of the diplomats, who called on other Ukrainians in the US to join the cause, publishing a list of cinemas planning to show the movie.

People on social media seemed unamused with the tireless efforts of the Ukrainian diplomats, combating what is literally a fictional “Russian threat,” as they mocked the embassy’s appeal.

“Have you even seen the movie? It is about our T-34 [produced] in Kharkov [now, Ukraine’s second largest city]… it has [a] multiethnic crew,” one person wrote.

“It’s a good patriotic film. It teaches [you] to love your country – Ukraine, Russia, the US… and hate Fascism. Kiev apparently cannot allow that,” another said.

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Some simply thanked the diplomats for the free advertising, saying that now they “will definitely go watch the movie.” Others said Ukraine might as well “try and ban [the] supermoon… over Russia.”

Some commenters told the embassy “not to interfere with… freedom of speech.”

“I do not understand what problem they have [with the film]. I can only assume they are protesting because the film is Russian,” a spokesman for the company distributing the movie in North America told Russian media, adding that T-34 received approval from a special commission before appearing in the US.

“Hysteria about ‘T-34’ distribution in the US shows how much the Ukrainian politicians are afraid of [the] possibility of ordinary people in New York, Boston and Washington seeing that the Soviet people were united in their fight against Fascism,” Russian MP Dmitry Belik told RT Russian.

“It would be a heavy blow to the Ukraine and those American politicians supporting it as it would destroy the myth about… Russia’s domination and infringement upon the rights of other peoples that were once part of the Soviet nation,” he said.

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