European Royals

Russian nationalists threatens with arson attacks against cinemas showing movie about Tsar Nicholas II

Orthodox State – Holy Russia, a nationalistic group in Russia, have been threatening theatres that would dare to show a new movie, Matilda, about Tsar Nicholas II with arson attacks and violent acts. The controversial film is about a love affair between the future Tsar Nicholas II and a young ballerina. More than 40 Russian directors have signed a protest letter to stop the movie from being shown. The late Tsar, who is now an Orthodox saint, is a person many have great feelings towards. The reason why so many conservative and nationalist Russians do not want the movie to be shown is that it may tell stories about the Tsar that will upset the “religious feelings” of the faithful.

Orthodox State – Holy Russia have sent hundreds of letters to cinemas, warning they would “burn” if they dared to screen the movie. A Kremlin representative called these actions from the nationalist group “unacceptable” and has the asked police to investigate it.

Prima ballerina Mathilde Kschessinskaya. Photo: Imperial Mariinsky Theatre via Wikimedia Commons.

The campaign to stop the film is headed by Natalya Poklonskaya. Poklonskaya is a Deputy of the State Duma of Russia and a former Prosecutor General of the Republic of Crimea. She believes that the movie Matilda is blasphemous and spreads lies about the Tsar, and therefore, it should either be heavily censored or be completely stopped.

Matilda is based on the love story between the late Russian Tsar and the ballerina, Matilda Kshesinskaya, before Nicholas married and took over the Russian throne. They met after her graduation performance from the Imperial Ballet School. The dancer wrote that the mutual attraction was instant. Tsar Nicholas II was canonised in 2000 by the Orthodox Church; so, campaigners say the expose of his personal life is an insult. The director of the movie is Alexei Uchitel, and Uchitel told the media that the film received state funding, which involved “expert checks” of the script at his request. Moreover, he denied that Matilda is in any way insulting. “Yes, Nicholas II and his family are saints, but it doesn’t mean we can’t describe their lives before they were tragically killed,” said the director earlier this week to BBC.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.