Russia

Yevloyev murder documentary pulled

A programme investigating the murder of Ingushetiya.ru founder Magomed Yevloyev was withdrawn from Russian TV station NTV’s schedule last Sunday. According to the website, the station claimed the programme was not broadcast for ‘technical reasons’.

Mr Hankey the Subversive Poo

Prosecutors in Moscow have started legal proceedings to try to ban South Park (via) claiming that the cartoon bore signs of extremist activity.

Prosecutors took action against the 22 television channel for broadcasting an episode of the animated comedy show that featured Christmas songs including a medley duet performed by Santa Claus and Jesus Christ.

The episode in question called Mr Hankey’s Christmas Classics was aired in Moscow in January. It shows a number of regular and guest characters including Satan, Adolf Hitler and an anthropomorphised human faeces called Mr Hankey performing in a Christmas variety show. An accompanying CD is available to buy.

The case was initiated by the Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith, and South Park is not going to be then end of it if they get their way. According to Konstantin Bendas, a spokesman for the group South Park is just one of many cartoons that need to be banned from open broadcast as it insults the feelings of religious believers and incites religious and national hatred.”

Diddums.

Russia passed a law in 2006 widening the definition of extremism to include the abasement of national dignity and inciting religious and national hatred, which - its supporters claim - was needed to stem a wave of violence aimed at ethnic minorities.

The prosecutors office has sent the case to court and has also issued a warning to the 22 TV Channel that airs the show.

And heres a clip from the offending episode. Enjoy.

Indiana Jones and the Angry Communists

Members of the Russian Communist Party have demanded that the new Indiana Jones film to be banned in the country because they say it distorts history.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, set during the Cold War, sees Harrison Fords character battle Cate Blanchetts evil KGB agent.

Sergei Malinkovich, the rather paranoid chief of the St Petersburg Communist Party told Reuters that the films plot was “rubbish” and then went on, bizarrely, to claim that if the film is allowed Russian cinema goers might end up believing that the communists were running around with crystal skulls back in 1957.

Moscow Communist official Andrei Andreyev was being equally paranoid, claiming: It is very disturbing if talented directors want to provoke a new Cold War.

Christians attempt to censor cartoons

Protestant groups in Russia are urging (via) the Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to shut down the cartoon channel 22 for broadcasting shows they claim promote homosexuality and religious intolerance.

The Consultative Council of the Heads of Protestant Churches in Russia sent a letter to Chaika on Wednesday, accusing 22 of promoting cruelty, violence, homosexual propaganda, religious hatred and intolerance by airing cartoons such as South Park, said Vitaly Vlasenko, a spokesman for the group, which unites several Protestant denominations

The channel, which broadcasts Western cartoons aimed at adults has already pulled two of its shows - Happy Tree Friends and The Adventures of Big Jeff - after a receiving a warning from the government media watchdog. A second warning letter could result in the loss of the channels broadcasting license.

Blasphemous advertising

The Moscow Times (via) reports that Coca-Cola has called off a promotion after offended Orthodox believers lodged a complaint with prosecutors.

Hoping to tap into a growing tide of patriotism, the U.S. beverage giant had placed pictures of religious sites together with its logo on fridges in kiosks and shops in Nizhny Novgorod, the countrys third-biggest city.

In mid-December, a group of Orthodox believers sent an angry letter to the Nizhny Novgorod prosecutors office, the local bishop and the regional governor complaining about the promotion, which it claimed was blasphemous.

The protesters had wanted Coca-Cola to face charges of inciting religious hatred, claiming that large corporations have to take into account the local context, particularly the Christian context. They changed their mind about pushing for a prosecution after Coca-Cola pulled the ads.

Irina Monakhova, a spokeswoman for the Nizhny Novgorod prosecutors office, said investigators were conducting an inquiry into the claims at the request of the residents and would make their findings known by the end of January.

Banned from Cinemas

Destricted, a compilation of films that attempts to lluminate the points where art meets sexuality, is now playing in Moscow. But, as the Moscow Times (via) reports, it almost didnt.

The film was shown at this years Moscow International Film Festival in late June, but its planned cinema release later that month was repeatedly postponed, amid rumors of a ban from the Federal Culture and Cinematography Agency.

Sem Klebanov, president of the movies Russian distributor, Cinema Without Frontiers, said Wednesday that he submitted the film to the cinema agency a few weeks before the Moscow International Film Festival to obtain approval for general release. However, they said it couldnt be shown because it was an amoral film, it was pornography, he said. He declined to name the officials he had spoken with.

In July and August, newspapers speculated on the reasons why the release of the film, whose Russian title is Banned from Cinemas, was pushed back. Employees of the Federal Culture and Cinematography Agency perceived the name of the film as telling them how to act, Izvestia suggested on Aug. 20.

According to the agency, the reasons for the delay were merely procedural, but Klebanov maintains that his company filed all the usual documents and pointed out that in previous cases certification had only taken two weeks.

The war on porn goes east

Strictly News (via) reports that both Russia and South Korea have given up trying to deal with the various social and economic issues they are facing and are cracking down on porn instead.

Russian politicians and public figures at all levels have been releasing regular, but ineffective, statements demanding an end to pornography for several years. But now the Russian culture ministry is drafting a bill to limit the distribution of erotic and pornographic products which they expect to be submitting in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, the South Korean government has declared war on obscene material and has announced plans to block access to foreign pornography on the internet.

Ministry of Information and Communication information safety department head Lee Tae Hee also said measures would be taken to step up surveillance of the internet.

Thats handy.

Borat banned in Russia

It had to happen somewhere. Russia has Banned Sacha Baron Cohens comedy, Borat which has been accused of poking fun at Moscows neighbour and close ally Kazakhstan.

The film, which has proved to be a big hit in both the US and Europe, follows Kazakh reporter Borat (played by Cohen) as he encounters a series of unsuspecting Americans and makes increasingly outrageous, sexist, racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic comments.

A Russian culture ministry official told the BBC that it had refused to issue a distribution licence because the film could potentially humiliate different ethnic groups and religions, but refused tio give any further details.

Russian Death Threats for Madonna

The controversy following Madonnas Confessions tour has taken a turn for the seriously nasty with the news that the Russian mafia have threatened to kill the singer and her two young children.

She is unbelievably nervous and is worried about performing in Moscow. Because of that she wants to get home as soon as possible and doesnt want to be away a minute more than is necessary, a source told the [Czech daily Blesk].

(via Freemuse)

Orthodox radicals demand Madonna ban

Madonnas Confessions tour reaches Russia on September 12th, and - predictably enough - the Orthodox Church has described the concert as blasphemy and is urging believers to stay away.

Members of a radical Russian Orthodox group however, have gone further, demanding that the show be banned.

We will never allow her to desecrate our greatest icons. We demand to drive Madonna out of Russian territory, Leonid Simanovich-Nikshich, head of a group calling itself the Union of Orthodox Religious Banner Bearers, told about 100 supporters at a central Moscow square.

Simanovich-Nikshich and a couple of supporters then speared a portrait poster of Madonna with a wooden pike, ripped it up, tossed the pieces on the ground and stamped on them.

I wonder if all that jumping up and down has made them feel any better.

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