Cars set alight at lawyer’s office over contentious upcoming drama Matilda

11 September 2017

This morning two cars were torched close to the central Moscow office of a lawyer working for Alexei Uchitel, the director of controversial upcoming historical drama film Matilda, in a seeming act of intimidation ahead of the film’s release on 6 October.

Earlier today, lawyer Konstantin Dobrynin published photos on his Facebook page showing two severely burnt cars along with small pieces of paper littered around the scene declaring the message “Burn for Matilda”.

“While Poklonskaya tells everyone about some claims made by relatives of the holy Tsar and tries to ban the film, her supporters continue to throw Molotov cocktails and burn everything,” reads the Facebook post, referring to hardline Russian State Duma deputy Natalia Poklonskaya, who has been tirelessly working to see Matilda banned for release in Russia.

Last week, Ms Poklonskaya accused the filmmakers of financial fraud, while in July this year she collected 100,000 messages and signatures from citizens and officials against Matilda. On Monday last week, an activist set fire to a Yekaterinburg cinema in an act of protest against the film. Following the incident, Yekaterinburg mayor Yevgeny Roizman took to Twitter to lay blame on Ms Poklonskaya, accusing her of inciting hatred.

Matilda, which centres on ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska and her relationship with Nicholas II, has been the subject of considerable controversy and criticism both from representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and government officials. Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov), often referred to as the personal confessor of Russian President Vladimir Putin, dubbed the movie “slander” in its portrayal of Nicholas II.

In spite of calls to ban the film, Russia’s Ministry of Culture cleared Matilda for release last month, although individual regional authorities will be able to ban it on their territory. The film’s premiere is scheduled for 23 October 2017 at St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre.

Source: The Moscow Times