Director Alexander Sokurov was not allowed to leave Russia for Finland: he was going to fly from Helsinki to a cultural conference in Milan. This was reported on Facebook* by journalist Ksenia Larina, citing Sokurov himself.
According to the director, he was kept on the border with Finland for several hours. When it became clear that the director did not have time to board the plane, he was told that he could not leave, allegedly on the basis of an order from Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. After that, Sokurov was forced to return to St. Petersburg. The head of the shift in an ironed uniform and a beautiful cap appeared in front of us, as if from under the ground, just when it became clear that our Italian plane at the Helsinki airport was already seating passengers and preparing to fly away. He, the shift supervisor, without looking into our eyes, tried to tell us that against my departure, the order of Comrade Mishustin, who forbids people like me to cross the border (hereinafter, the spelling and punctuation of the author are preserved. — Approx. ed.).< /p>
I have never seen Mishustin live, I have never met him, where does Mishustin get such prejudice and hatred towards me, I could not understand. I did not receive an answer to the question about the reasons for the many hours of waiting on the asphalt of the platform of this strange frontier post, — Larin quotes Sokurov's words.
Regarding the incident, the director appealed to the Human Rights Council. Fragments of Sokurov's letter were at the disposal of The Insider*. For several hours we could not understand what was happening, where our documents were, why we were not getting permission to cross the border. At the same time, hundreds of cars were advancing around us, whole buses with Russian children, citizens who could pass, and we, like those under arrest, had to sit in anticipation of arrest, or what?
Later, by phone, I learned from the employees of the Milan conference that they somehow miraculously found the phone number of this frontier post, called there, but no one at the frontier post could speak English and the border guards did not understand what the foreigners wanted from them, FSB officers. The Italians found a Russian translator, and then they heard that our passports were “stamped” and we supposedly could go. But they just didn’t clarify where exactly my colleague and I could go.
On the border between Russia and Finland, coronavirus restrictions are formally in place, but Sokurov noted that his departure was agreed with the Italian and Finnish sides.
Earlier, Alexander Sokurov refused to take part in the Cannes Film Festival, despite the personal invitation of the organizers. He explained the refusal by “discrimination against Russian cinema” on the part of the organizers of the film festival after the organizing committee refused to include the work of his student, director Malika Musaeva, in the event program. In addition, he stated that his painting “Fairy Tale” — “too serious a film to participate in the Cannes story.”
In March, Sokurov spoke about the Russian military special operation in Ukraine, noting that it was inevitable.
How will it all end? I could say! I think I know how this will all end. But I won't for now, because it would be wrong on my part,
— the director said in an interview with the Daily Storm. He added that the situation has spoiled relations between many public and cultural figures who did not agree on the military special operation.
A few months ago, the director also argued with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the territorial integrity of Russia as part of a meeting of the Council on development of civil society and human rights: he suggested thinking about the Constitution and “let go” of the country's regions that want to secede.
Alexander Sokurov — famous Russian director (among his works — the films “La Francophonie”, “Russian Ark”, “Moloch” and others) and has many prestigious film awards, including the Cannes and Venice festivals and the Nika award.
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*Media is recognized as a foreign agent in the Russian Federation