Russian Propaganda in Cinema

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In the years following the October Revolution of 1917, the Soviet government sponsored the Russian film industry with the purpose of making propaganda films.

Such filmmakers as Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein saw considerable progress in the use of the motion picture as a propaganda tool, yet it also served to develop the art of moviemaking. Eisenstein's films, in particular the “Battleship Potemkin”, are seen as masterworks of the cinema, even as they glorify communist ideals.

The other films used by the communist soviet regim as propaganda are "October", "Alexander Nevsky",  "The Fall of Berlin", etc.

Actual Russian cinema is continued to be used as propaganda tool. I will reflect several examples.

“Taras Bulba” (2009) – a controversial film that tries to demonstrate that there is no Ukraine as separate state, but only the Great Russia. The director Vladimir Bortko, who is himself of Ukrainian origin, has also stated that the movie aimed to show that "there is no separate Ukraine". He told that the Russians and Ukrainians are the same people and Ukraine is the southern part of the Rusi.

This view is strongly opposed by Ukrainians. In Russia there were fears that the movie would exacerbate historical disagreements with Ukraine.

“August Eighth” (2012) Russian action drama film about the 2008 South Ossetia war. The film tells the story of a young, single mother who is compelled to make her way, at risk of her life, to South Ossetia where her son is. The film was recognized as a socially important project and was filmed at the expense of the Russian Government.

In spite of the fact that this film is a great value in terms of the quality of playing and graphics, it was banned in some countries and raised great disputes.

"The purpose of the film, which is already banned in Moldova and Azerbaijan, is the manipulation of mass consciousness in order to whitewash Russian imperialism in general and the invasion of Georgia and occupation of its territory in particular", an activist of the Ukrainian "Freedom" party Andrew Mohnik said.

At the same time, co-producer of the film "August the Eighth", Russian actor and director Fyodor Bondarchuk, explains the ban on showing this film in cinema theaters with Ukrainian "bureaucratic fuss" and the reluctance of Ukrainian bureaucrats to take responsibility for the relevant decision.



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