The first shot in this new Culture War was fired by ex-Crimean Prosecutie Natalia Poklonskaya. Recall that Natasha, a regional Prosecutor under the former Ukrainian government, defected to Russia during the Maidan Revolution of 2014, and became a hero of Crimean Reunification. Natasha’s firm stance against Maidan, along with her big blue eyes and her sweet child-like face brought her rave reviews and a rabid internet following. She even has a Japanese anime version of herself. People call her such names as “Cutie-Pie” and “Prosecutie”. Anybody who sees her wants to pat her on the head and tell her it’s gonna be okay.
When Natasha left her Prosecutor gig behind, moved to Moscow and became a Parliamentary Deputy, another side of her personality became apparent: the cuckoo side. In terms of political ideology, Natasha is a Monarchist. That’s not the cuckoo part. Monarchism is a actual thing. The cuckoo part is her personal quasi-sexual obsession over Nicholas II Romanov. Whom she adores, loves, craves, and worships almost like a god.
Now, the ethnic Russians from Crimea tend to be sympathetic to the Russian Imperial legacy. After all, much of that area was developed by Catherine the Great, who is still revered and respected in those parts. There are statues and memorials to the various imperial personages, such as Catherine and Count Potemkin. Still, a respect for the Romanov imperial legacy does not usually translate into such pathological attachment as Natasha feels for Nicholas. It would be like an American adult having orgasms over, say, George Washington. Which isn’t a good comparison, since Washington was not made into a Saint. A better comparison would be the myriads of born-again Christians who feel the Love for Jesus piercing their souls and their loins. That’s how Natasha feels about Nicholas. She’s a regular Saint Teresa in full ecstasy mode.
Differences abound. From all accounts, Jesus was a pretty nice guy, who didn’t harm children or animals. Whereas Nicholas was not a nice guy at all. My colleague Lyttenburgh pointed out in his comment to my previous post, that Nicholas used to brag in his diary about shooting cats and crows with his hunting rifle, just for sport. Cats??? That’s not nice at all, and it is to be wondered at, that a sweet girl like Natasha, who actually has her own kitty-cat at home, would idolize such a feline-slaughtering monster.
Be that as it may… Given her passionate devotion to this dead Tsar, Natasha was appalled when she heard about Alexei Uchitel’s new film “Matilda”. Upset that the storyline will show her beloved dead lover Nicky in a bad light, Natasha demanded that the film be banned before it could ever be shown. Time marched on. Natasha tried one ploy after another in her attempts to ban the film. But still the show goes on. Artistic genius cannot be stifled! After some production delays, it was announced the film would be ready for final release in October, 2017. Meanwhile some trailers for the film — just to whet peoples appetites for this future goodie — were delivered last week to the movie theaters in Simferopol, Crimea.
Prosecutor vs Prosecutor vs Prosecutie
When Natasha got word that Simferpol movie theaters were about to show the trailers, she almost had an aneurism. She filed a complaint with the local Simferopol Prosecutor, declaring that the film was illegal and should be banned, as it violates the feelings of Orthodox believers and sows strife among the citizenry.
Assistant Prosecutor Alexander Shkitov heeded Natasha’s call, and signed a decree banning the showing of the trailer.
Director Uchitel and his attorney Konstantin Dobrynin did not take this lying down. By now they knew the game was on to ban their masterpiece. They appealed to the higher Prosecutor of the Crimean Republic itself (the very job that Natasha used to have!) and were able to obtain a stay on the ban. The system worked, but pitted local Prosecutor against Republic-wide General Prosecutor. Dobrynin asserts that Natasha tried earlier her wiles with the Republic-level Prosecutor, was rebuffed, and then attempted to go “under his head” by appealing directly to the city of Simferopol. This was a sneaky, underhanded move, according to an aggravated Dobrynin.
Natasha is relying on a law passed in 2002 called “Countering Extremist Activity”. According to the law, a prosecutor (presumably at any level) has the power to write a letter to any organization demanding that they cease their extremist activity. If the organization ignores the letter, then they can be subject to a fine or even harsher penalties. Which explains why Natalia Tsygankova, the Manager of the movie theater Kino Shevchenko, got scared and pulled the trailer, after receiving the threatening letter from Shkitov. Now, presumably, Tsygankova can go ahead and show the trailer after all.
Despite her recent setbacks, though, Natasha has not given up her quest to ban the film. She will never give up. In an interview with VZGLIAD, Dobrynin explained that his client, Uchitel still, to this day, has not received a formal approval from the government, to distribute his film. But there is little doubt the film will be shown in Russian movie theaters. The head of the Crimean government, Sergei Akopov, has called upon people to reserve judgement until after they see the movie. Russian President Vladimir Putin (who no doubt got a sneak preview) pointed out that way harsher movies about the royal family have been shown in the past. And Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky accused Natasha’s “social activists” of creating a circus-like atmosphere around the film.
The circus started off as a one-woman show, it was pretty much just Natalia vs the world. And then, unexpectedly, it turned into a two-ring circus, when another performer stepped up to put his head into the lion’s mouth: None other than Ramzan Kadyrov, Chief of Chechnya. Kadyrov entered the fray on Natasha’s side, demanding that the film be banned in his fiefdom, Chechnya. Which, by the way, he can’t do. Chechnya is a Republic of the Russian Federation. Either the film is banned in all of Russia, or it is shown in all of Russia.
What is Kadyrov’s beef with the film? Hint: It has something to do the Caucasian “Wild Divisions” which fought on the side of the Tsar against the Bolsheviks. I’ll try to explain in the next installment. Meanwhile that rumbling sound you hear is Prince Bagration rolling in his grave.
[to be continued]