Last week one of the most discussed subjects by Russian media was the fight of Natalia Poklonskaya, a member of State Duma and the former Chief Prosecutor of Crimea, against the not yet released feature film “Matilda. The secret of the Romanov family”.
When in 2014 Russia annexed Crimea, the new separatist government had a big problem finding a person who would become the Chief Prosecutor of the Russian ruled Crimean peninsula. The previous prosecutor and four other male candidates refused to betray their allegiance to the Ukrainian government. The only person who agreed to take the position was a beautiful 34 year old Natalia Poklonskaya, native Crimean, a member of Ukrainian prosecution services from 2002, the year when she graduated from University.
Poklonskaya is a sincere separatist, who believes that all the Ukrainian nationalists, including contemporary Ukrainian government, are fascists. All her activity as the Chief Prosecutor of Crimea was aggressively pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian.
Right after becoming the Crimean Chief Prosecutor, Poklonskaya became very popular in Russia and in many other countries, not because of her activity, but rather because of her beauty. In Japan there appeared numerous images of Natalia in the popular anime style.
According to the RT TV Poklonskaya’s fans from all over the world call her “Prosecutie” and even invented a name for themselves – “Nataliaites.”
Songs have bean composed about Poklonskaya and computer games featuring Natalia have bean produced. The most popular song about Natalia was watched on YouTube by more then 36 million viewers!
Russian media claimed that Natalia wasn’t even aware of her popularity until a journalist from Russian NTV channel showed Poklonskaya her portraits painted by her fans.
“Oh, my god! I didn’t know about that,” she laughed. “No, I want to be perceived as a prosecutor. And I’ll achieve this through my work.
“In the 12 years I’ve spent working in the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office, I’ve been dealing with organized crime and put many criminals in prison,” Poklonskaya said. “My looks have never been an obstacle – I hope they deceive my enemies.”
Last year Poklonskaya was elected a member of Russian State Duma. Now Natalia Poklonskaya is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Security and Struggle against Corruption.
Her issuing of a parliamentary inquiry to conduct an investigation in relation to all the creators of the movie “Matilda” was one of her first actions in her new position. Poklonskaya explained that her decision to demand investigation of the film was made at the bequest of some orthodox Christian public organizations. The representatives of the organization had deemed the film “a threat to national security”.
The subject of this film directed by Alexei Uchitel, one of the most prominent Russian filmmakers, is the widely known love affair between the famous ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya and young Nikolas II, at the time prior to his becoming Russian Emperor. Uchitel is a very successful director, loyal to Putin, a supporter of the annexation of Crimea. His new film was partly financed by the state and the film’s script was approved by the government agency. The film, budgeted for $25 million, is one of the most expensive film productions in contemporary Russia. It was highly publicized and its release was expected to become a great national event. The release was planned for the coming March and lately was moved back to November.
Poklonskaya hasn’t seen the film, which has not been released yet. Only the trailer presenting the film as a blockbuster of the coming year, was released by now.
The trailer enraged Poklonskaya and some members of the Orthodox organizations. Actually those opposed to the film were enraged long before they’ve seen the trailer. From their point of view the subject of this film was blasphemy by itself.
Nicolas II is canonized as a martyr, and nobody can discuss sexual life of an Orthodox Saint. Any film about a Nikolas II love affair would abuse religious feelings of the Orthodox believers. Besides, according to Poklonskaya, publicizing the private life of the last Tsar is a criminal action. The defenders of the Russians Tsar’s good name were especially annoyed by the fact that Nikolas II is played in the film by a famous German actor Lars Eidinger, who, according to gossips, during his young years acted in porno films.
Poklonskaya has very active supporters. The organization called “Christian State Sacred Russia” widely spreads threats to burn down movie theaters that would dare to screen “Matilda”, even if this action would endanger lives of its audience.
Alexei Uchitel applied to the Prosecution office with the claim opposite to the claim of Poklonskaya. The owners of the movie theaters also demanded protection from the aggressive believers. Some filmmakers, especially close to Putin, raised their voices in defense of Uchitel and his film.
The odd situation, when the movie, backed by the state, is opposed by the state backed organizations is a new situation in Russia. This situation is created by the events of the last years. Several years ago the idea to make a blockbuster about a love affair of the last Russian Tsar seemed to look very patriotic. But lately the idea of patriotism started to be more and more associated with the idea of the Russian Orthodoxy. The new law against abuse of religious feelings inspired aggressive believers and triggered their activity. They are raiding exhibitions of artists that they consider offensive and make theaters cancel performances that they find offensive.
It is not surprising that Natalia Poklonskaya decided to join the trend. It’s just happened that the people she chose to oppose turned out to be quite powerful. She has put Russian President Vladimir Putin in the uncomfortable position by demanding he choose between loyal representatives of culture and loyal representatives of the Church. Time will tell how Putin will resolve this problem.