The Latest: Moscow theater cancels screenings of Stalin film

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The Latest: Moscow theater cancels screenings of 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) — The Latest on Russia’s response to the satirical film “The Death of Stalin” (all times local):

11:30 p.m.

A Moscow movie theater that had been showing a satirical film about Soviet leader Josef Stalin in defiance of an official Russian government ban has canceled further screenings.

The announcement came several hours after Moscow police visited the Pioner theater on Friday. Police didn’t declare the purpose of their visit, but it followed the Russian Culture Ministry’s warning that the theater could face sanctions that included fines.

The ministry this week rescinded the permit allowing Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” to be shown in theaters after communists and others criticized the movie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

The Pioner theater said on its Facebook page that pre-purchased tickets would be refunded and “for all further questions, we ask you to turn to the Ministry of Culture.”

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5:10 p.m.

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The ministry this week rescinded the permit allowing Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” to be shown in theaters after communists and others criticized the movie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