Film illustrating Vladimir Putins 2014 annexing of Crimea from Ukraine will only be shown in Russia and Belarus

This is the kind of decision that is only taken once a century, tells a voice on the trailer for Crimea, a high-budget Russian film that dramatises the 2014 Russian takeover of the peninsula.

The film, which will premiere across Russia next month, features Russian soldiers, tanks, airplanes and a love story the director describes as a Romeo and Juliet tale.

The Russian annexation of the territory from Ukraine, which led to sanctions and a fallout between Moscow and the west, was denounced internationally as illegal. In Russia, nonetheless, the annexation has been portrayed as the event which showed that the country is again a global power, after a long period of dishonour in accordance with the Soviet collapse.

Crimea, the movie, brings that pride to the screen. The cinema follows a romantic liaison between a young lady from Kiev, who is a supporter of the pro-European Maidan uprising, and a human from Sevastopol who joins the pro-Russian resist in the aftermath of Maidans success in Kiev.

The director, Alexei Pimanov, said here cinema is dedicated to the Ukrainian and Russian officers who did not shoot at one another and avoided large-scale bloodshed during the Russian takeover. We wanted to make a film about how we have to enjoy one another and not kill one another, he told.

Pimanov mentioned after helping his daughter-in-laws household to evacuate from Luhansk, which has been hit by fighting between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces, he wanted to make a film about how the Russian intervention in Crimea prevented bloodshed there.

The trailer for Crimea, which will be released in Russia and Belarus next month.

In Ukraine and elsewhere, however, the cinema is likely to be viewed as a glorification of the Russian annexation. Critics of Russia would say that the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine resulted primarily because Russia funnelled weapons and troops across the border.

The film will not be shown in Ukraine, where Pimanov has been persona non grata since 2014, placed on imposing sanctions list that includes Russian writers and artists who Kiev believes to be propagandists. Indeed, the cinema is unlikely to be released anywhere outside Russia except for Belarus. The Ukrainian embassy in that country mailed a note of complain to the Belarusian foreign ministry earlier this month after trailers for the film were shown in cinemas in the country.

Pimanov insisted that the cinema is not crude propaganda, and said the girl heroine was a sympathetic character and a genuine advocate of the goals of the Maidan complains in Kiev. However, it is clear that the movie takes a Russian perspective on the events of March 2014, with some of the funding “re coming out” Russias ministry of defence. Indeed, Pimanov knows the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, personally, and said here initial suggestion for the cinema was his.

We were talking in March 2014 and realised these events were globally important. He mentioned: Try to make a film about this. Shoigu helped by providing airliners and other military hardware used in the film, he said.

After the annexation of Crimea, Vladimir Putins acceptance ratings, which had been flagging, rose to an all-time high of 86% as the two countries was consumed by a wave of nationalistic ardour. Krym nash ( Crimea is ours) became a frequently echoed slogan, and the return of Crimea, as it is referred to in Russia, has been used to show that the country can stand up for its interests on the international stage.

A scene from the trailer for Crimea, which received funding from the Russian defence ministry. Photo: YouTube

Next times general elections, in which Putin is expected to stand and win a new six-year word, ought to have moved to 18 March, the fourth anniversary of the official Kremlin ceremony recognizing the annexation of Crimea. The Kremlin hopes relating the election day to the Crimea anniversary will help create a patriotic wave of support for Putin and boost turnout.

Crimea had been part of the Russian republic inside the Soviet Union until Nikita Khrushchev approved the transfer of it to Ukraine in 1954, and many Crimeans had always considered themselves more Russian than Ukrainian.

Not everyone in Crimea supported the annexation, nonetheless, with the majority of the peninsulas indigenous Crimean Tatars opposing the move. Some of them are now on trial over violence that broke out between Crimean Tatars and pro-Russians during the annexation, while others report harassment and persecution.

Crimean lawyers are seeking eight years in jail for Akhtem Chiigoz, a producing Crimean Tatar politician. In his closing speech to the court earlier the coming week, his lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, mentioned Russia was behaving like a fascist state and compared the takeover of Crimea to Nazi Germanys Anschluss with Austria.

Pimanov, nonetheless, has no time for the purposes of the comparisons: A plenty of people in the west dont understand what happened in Crimea. It was the wishes of the people, he said.

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