The Master and Margarita banned in Ukraine

December 19, 2016

The National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine has published a list of films and television series which have been banned by the State Film Agency from screening in Ukraine.

In 2014-2016 the State Film Agency denied state registration and canceled screening licenses for over 500 Russian-language films and television series, and imposed a quota of Ukrainian-language broadcasting on the radio. About 30 per cent of Ukrainians speak Russian as their mother tongue, but Ukraine‘s relations with neighbouring Russia plummeted to an all-time low two years ago, when Russia annexed Ukraine‘s southern Crimea region and started backing a pro-Russian separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.

On December 10, 2016, the TV-series The Master and Margarita, directed by Vladimir Bortko, has been added to the notorious blacklist. The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture has not yet given an explanation for this rather strange decision. Strange, indeed, because the Stalinist regime has always opposed Mikhail Bulgakov, who has lived most of his life in Kiev. Furthermore, the TV-series is based on a novel which openly mocked the Soviet system and the sense of injustice.

The import of Russian books would also be sharply limited under a new legislation passed in the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday, December 8, 2016. The measure would ban imports, except for books that get individual approvals.



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