Police visit Moscow movie theater showing banned Stalin film

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Police visit Moscow movie theater showing banned Stalin film
Russian police visit the Pioner movie theater in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. Pioner movie theater has been showing Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci's "The Death of Stalin" since Thursday despite the Russian Culture Ministry's decision to rescind the permit for screening it. Police didn't declare the purpose of their visit to the theater Friday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW (AP) — Police officers have shown up at a Moscow movie theater that screened a satirical film about Soviet leader Josef Stalin in defiance of an official Russian government ban.

Moscow police didn’t immediately declare the purpose of their visit to Pioner theater on Friday, but it followed the Russian Culture Ministry’s warning that the theater could face sanctions in line with the law.

The ministry this week rescinded the permit allowing Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” to be shown in theaters after communists and others criticized the movie as a mockery of Russian history.

Pioner ignored the decision and has been screening the film since Thursday. Showing an unlicensed movie is punishable by a fine.

Stalin remains widely admired in Russia, despite his brutal purges that killed millions.