Film About the Deportation of Chechen People Banned by Russia
A historical film depicting the mass deportation of the Chechen and Ingush people in 1944 by the Soviet Russia has been banned by the Russian Ministry of Culture.
In another indication of Kremlin’s uneasiness over its Soviet past, Russia has banned the release of a film titled “Ordered to Forget” which depicts the deportation of Chechens and Ingushs on Stalin’s orders in 1944. Russian authorities have called it “historically false” and have claimed that it will “promote ethnic hatred”.
The film’s Chechen screenwriter and producer, Kazakhstan-born Ruslan Kokanayev, has spoken out against the ministry’s decision, writing on his Facebook page: “The decision has already been taken, with only an official announcement left to be made. The decision was sent to my address. The official reason for the ban is that ‘the movie incites ethnic hatred’. Well, there we are then.”
“Ordered to Forget” follows the lives of Chechens from Khaibakh, a village in Chechnya and symbol of the deportation in 1944, providing a stark depiction of the violent treatment of the Caucasus’ native inhabitants by Russian soldiers during Stalin’s purges.
The film’s maker has argued that the movie is a historical drama. Kokanayev said: “I think that this film, in contrast to the popular view, will actually help to rehabilitate Russians, as it shows them what actually happened back then. The main idea that runs throughout the entire film is that man is the greatest creation on the earth, and he was born free. During those years human rights and freedom were violated.”
Between 1943 and 1944, enraged at alleged collaboration with invading German forces, Stalin ordered mass deportations of the native peoples of Chechen-Ingush Republic. Over 500,000 people were deported en masse in cattle cars from Chechnya to Central Asia and Siberia — a crude and vicious punishment which is accepted as a genocide by the European parlimanet. It is reported that more than a quarter of the deportees died on the journey into exile. The ban of “Ordered to Forget” comes in the wake of a number of bills put forward in recent weeks to ensure that Russian history is “properly” remembered. In March, a member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party put forward a bill criminalising the distortion of Russian history in books, films and video games, while Fair Russia’s Oleg Mikheyev gave backing to legislation that fosters patriotism in schools.
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