With a history peppered with conflict and mistreatment, the Russian government is a little sensitive about how they, and former Soviet states, are represented on the big screen. They also appear to be guardians of Russia’s moral compass. From clever satire to absurd comedy to war stories, these seven films will never be seen on the silver screen in Russia.
‘Death of Stalin’ (2017)
It’s no surprise that the darkly comedic Death of Stalin has been banned from Russian distribution. The English film pokes fun at the backstabbing and chaos that followed Stalin’s death and portrays the events and characters with a sense of buffoonery. Russia doesn’t see the funny side of director Armando Iannucci’s comedic interpretation of what was quite a tumultuous and uncertain time, with one government official labelling it ‘despicable’. Despite this, a Moscow arthouse cinema screened it, until authorities enforced the ban.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Russia banned Sasha Barren Cohen’s hit spoof arguing it mocks the post-Soviet state of Kazakhstan. The mockumentary follows Borat as he travels through America making sexist, racist and homophobic comments, and playing out ridiculous situations on unsuspecting Americans. The Russian Ministry of Culture failed to see the humour in it, arguing it offended ethnic and religious minorities.
The Russian Ministry of Culture accused the Serbian film Clip of being child pornography, and therefore, illegal. The film is about a teenager who is dealing with her family falling apart. Despite winning awards at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and the Vilnius International Film Festival, the scenes depicting realistic sex between minors were deemed too risqué for Russian audiences.
‘Child 44’ (2015)
A Hollywood thriller set in Stalin’s Soviet Union, the Russian government cited historical inaccuracies as the reason for its ban. Produced by Ridley Scott, it is loosely based on the true story of serial killer Andrei Chikatilo who was convicted of killing over 50 women and children in the Soviet Union between1978 and 1990. The film was pulled just a day before it was set to be released. The Russian government claimed it would be inappropriate to screen it so close to the 70th anniversary of WWII, and the film was never scheduled for future screenings.
‘Ordered to Forget’ (2014)
The only Russian film on the list, Ordered to Forget portrays the mass deportation of the Chechen and Ingush people who were native to the North Caucasus in 1944. The Ministry of Culture officially claims that the film dredges up old ethnic tensions and incites hatred. The story follows the lives of the locals as they endure one of Stalin’s purges, that collectively saw the deportation and expulsion of over 700,000 minority groups, which perhaps is a time in history the government is not keen to dredge up.
‘The Interview’ (2014)
Another satire, The Interview tells the story of two journalists on a mission to assassinate Kim Jong-Un. Starring Seth Rogan (who also directed it) and James Franco, the film saw problems in many parts of the globe. Thanks to a savage sense of humour ruffling political feathers, America postponed the film’s initial screening, and then gave the movie a limited release. Russia also initially postponed the premiere, however, decided The Interview wouldn’t see the big screen after pressure from North Korea.
Another film that portrays Stalin’s extreme treatment of minority groups, Haytarma is a Ukrainian film about the 1944 deportation of the Crimean-Tatars. In another attempt to brush over past atrocities, the Ministry of Culture placed a general ban on the film, despite it taking out several European and Russian film awards. The forced deportation of close to 200,000 people from Crimea to the Central Asian nations, was only recognised as genocide by the Russian government in 1989 – over forty years after it occurred.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.