Russia: Film about deportation of Chechens banned

Seventy years after Chechens were deported en masse to Central Asia on the orders of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, a film about the brutality of the operation has been banned, with officials citing the threat of provoking ethnic enmity.


Russia’s Culture Ministry has also cited insufficient evidence to prove that the dramatic enactment is historically accurate, the film’s producer and director Ruslan Kokanayev said on his Facebook page.

At the center of the dispute is a scene, featured in a trailer posted by filmmaker, that shows Chechen prisoners in the mountainous village of Khaibakh — in what was then the Chechen-Ingush Soviet autonomous republic — being locked up in a barn by Stalin’s secret police and burned alive.

Though the film, titled “Ordered to Forget,” makes no claims to being a historical documentary, Kokanayev has insisted that its plot, including the barn scene, is based on detailed testimony by multiple witnesses — several of whom he named in press interviews — and on historical evidence.

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