The Christian State: who's fighting for the film Matilda
The scandal surrounding the film about the love affair of the heir to the throne of Nicholas II and the Mariinsky Theater ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya flared up long before the release of the movie. The main opponents of the film are various Christian organizations in Russia and State Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya. They believe that this movie defames the honor of the Romanovs' house and is filmed by the detractors of the church.
"Matilda" is slated for release on October 26, 2017, however, some cinemas have already refused to show the film after several incidents of arson of cinemas in other regions. Mikhail Shubin looks into the religious organization "Christian State Holy Russia," which is trying to prevent the distribution of the movie.
And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him
"There is not a drop of deception in what I am about to tell you. If I deceive you at least with one word, may the Lord God make me the most unhappy man in the world. May I suffer all my life and go straight to hell, if I deceive you at least with one word in my story," - Alexander Kalinin said in a video. The recording was made in 2012, he is was 28 years old on the video. Kalinin told for almost for an hour how he came to believe in God. .
In 2010, Kalinin with his future wife went on vacation to the Sea of Azov. Walking along in a market, they approached the artist who painted henna on her body. The woman drew a lizard on the scapula of the girl, but "the picture was spoiled." The man asked to fix it, the artist resisted and asked for money for one more tattoo.
Kalinin refused to pay and left, he considered that the work was done incompletely and poorly. He wanted to give her time to think about his deed, saying that he would soon return and resume this conversation. Apparently, Kalinin expected that the artist would remake the picture. Returning in twenty minutes, he handed her the money, to which the artist shouted: “It is too late to pay. You are a thief, you stole money and for this you will die in the nearest two days.”
In two days Kalinin woke up at the hotel. He opened his eyes and could only see a thin line in black and yellow colors. He tried to get up from his bed - but he could not. His body, according to his words, didn’t obey him anymore. In some time he jumped up and began to hit the wall with his fists, to turn over furniture, tables. He supposedly understood, but there was nothing he could do about it, the devil had "settled in" him.
Approaching the window, Kalinin broke it with his right hand and began to break it into fragments. The veins and arteries in his arm were cut to the bone. The bleeding man left the hotel and headed for the sea. Strangers by force laid him on a bench and tied his hands with the clothesline. Then he lost consciousness and at some point experienced clinical death.
Kalinin gained consciousness several times. On his sixth day in the hospital it seemed to him that he would die that very day. The man still felt himself possessed by a demon. He tried praying but he couldn’t. His neighbour in the hospital room told him that there was a priest nearby who had the power to drive out demons. That same very day Kalinin was laid on the floor of the church, while religious persons prayed. At some point the man clearly saw a white heavenly body, Jesus Christ. The demon was driven out.
And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.
Having recovered, Kalinin returned from his vacation to his native Lipetsk, where he had his own business. According to the database "Contour.Focus," in Yelets (Lipetsk region) at different times there were three private entrepreneurs named Alexander Vladimirovich Kalinin. All of them are registered with the same taxpayer identification number. Kalinin was engaged in retail trade and provided services related to photography.
After his return, Kalinin became obsessed with religion. In 2010, with his support, the organization "Christian State of Holy Russia" was formed. The goal of the association, according to Kalinin, was the consolidation of the Orthodox community to support "each other in the regions." The very name "Christian State" appeared only in 2013, in opposition to the "Islamic state" banned in Russia.
How the organization was called before this is not known. Officially, it is not registered. But it has a website: www.170718.ru, which in recent days has been unavailable. According to Kalinin, since September 12 he has been subjected to a DDos attack. A cached copy is available to see through Google.
In 2016 the organization mainly supported religious people traveling around the country. According to Kalinin, a "fraternal network" of 350 active members with families was created.
Despite the fact that Kalinin is one of the most public figures of the "Christian State", he cautiously does not call himself the only leader: he says that each of the branches in t regions has his own leadership. Meanwhile, the organization continues to recruit new supporters - on September 12, more than 4,500 people registered on the site.
In early November 2016, the newly-made State Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya asked Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika to check out the movie "Matilda." She said that she was doing this allegedly at the request of representatives of another Orthodox organization "The Royal Cross," who handed over more than one hundred signatures in protest. The Prosecutor General's Office did not find any violations in the movie. On January 30, Poklonskaya sent a second request with a request to check the film.
On the morning of January 31, reports began to appear that the Orthodox organization "Christian State of Holy Russia" sent out more than a thousand letters both to the home addresses of the directors and to the legal addresses of the cinemas themselves. It turned out that the threatening letter were sent as early as on January 19.
"Obviously, if the film Matilda comes out tomorrow, the cinemas will start to burn, people may even suffer, and these actions, from hopelessness, will begin on the part of those who Love God and their people, Loves him so much that he is ready to go to jail or to death,"- the text of the letters read.
The organization believes that the film denigrates "the entire House of Anointed of God's Romanovs" and is made by detractors of Russia, the church and the entire "Russian people."
"At our meeting, it was announced that people would be put to death, because the matter concerned their faith in God. And for people with whom we communicate, with whom we have met, and they support us throughout the country, these are people who love God more than their family. This question for us is hundreds of times more important than if someone had humiliated my wife and child. In this case, I would be more lenient, but in this situation it is already impossible to remain silent. Because the king for me, Russia and the Lord God is above my house, and my family, and my children," Kalinin told in January 2017.
Answering a question about whether members of the criminal prosecution organization were afraid, he said that he would get "immunity" against the prison and any actions on the part of the state.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fireMatthew 7:19
The director of the movie "Matilda" Aleksey Uchitel and the main character of his movie, were born the same day, August 31. In 2017, the author of the film turned 66 years old, and the main character 145. Two unidentified people decided to mark this date by throwing a few molotov cocktails in the St. Petersburg studio of the director at half past four in the morning. Four incendiary bottles were thrown and two unknown men escaped. The fire burned window sill and it was extinguished after ten minutes. The police opened a criminal case for Hooliganism (part 2, article 213 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The same evening Uchitel addressed the FSS and the Ministry of Interior Affairs to ensure audience safety when watching the movie "Matilda."
At eight in the morning local time on September 4, a UAZ minibus sped towards the largest cinema-concert complex Kosmos in Yekaterinburg. At the wheel was 39-year-old Denis Murashev along with two barrels of gasoline, three gas cylinders and firewood. Ramming the entrance doors to the Kosmos theater, Murashev, according to information, tried to set fire to the car and threw Molotov cocktails. More than 30 square meters were burned and the fire was quickly extinguished by rescuers. No harm was done.
The man was detained. During the interrogations, he told that he was trying to cause an explosion in the cinema, because he was dissatisfied with the plans of the complex to release the movie "Matilda." Later it became known that in August he spoke at a rally in Tyumen, where he stated his position about "Matilda."
The Investigative Committee started criminal proceedings under the article "Deliberate damage to property committed by arson" (Part 2, Article 167 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Murashev was arrested, in the near future he will be sent for a psychiatric examination.
Two days later, on September 6, the Uchitel’s lawyer asked the director of the FSS, Alexander Bortnikov, to bring the members of the "Christian State of Holy Russia" and the movement "Forty-Forty" to justice.
Five days later at 5:30 am the answer came, but not from the FSB. On the asphalt near the lawyer's office lay small printed out pieces of paper. They had only three words: "Burn for "Matilda." They were lit by a fire from two burning cars, set on fire by unknown people. A criminal case was opened under the article "Deliberate destruction or damage to property" (Article 167 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). A little later, there was a confusion, as it turned out that the cars did not belong to the director's lawyer and the owner of one of them was completely against "Matilda."
The next day, one of the largest Russian cinema chains Formula Kino and Cinema Star issued an official statement. None of the 75 cinemas in 28 Russian cities belonging to the network, would show the film. The company explained its solution by the desire to protect its visitors from risks, "which entail public displays of the film."
After this, people became alarmed. On September 13, the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky demanded from law enforcement agencies "to severely suppress pressure on the state and film business on the part of the disengaged ‘activists’ with their socially dangerous methods of imposing their convictions."
"An Orthodox Christian, and also any religious person, should express his disagreement with anything that is dangerous to the life and health of innocent people. Whether it's a movie theater or cars in Moscow all this speaks for spiritual or mental bad health," announced Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Department for Relations between the Church and the Media.
Head of the State Duma Committee on Culture Stanislav Govorukhin compared the actions of the unknown with the methods of the Islamic State. Deputies of the State Duma Oksana Pushkina and Irina Rodnina appealed to the head of the FSS Alexander Bortnikov and Interior Affairs Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev. They also asked to investigate the movement "Christian State of Holy Russia."
For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men
1 Peter 2:15
Poklonskaya herself was concerned about the threats the "Christian state" posed to the theaters; she asked to investigate the organization for extremism. The same request was made by the lawyer of the director of the film "Matilda."
The Kremlin was also worried. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov reminded Putin's words from a message to the federal assembly when he "unequivocally said that he considers the aggressive reaction that led to vandalism and violation of the law to be unacceptable." Having added that the state will react to such manifestations harshly.
All this time, law enforcement agencies have been working as well. Kalinin and the organization wrote more than 50 applications and in 47 of them the court refused to initiate criminal cases.
Kalinin says that he is called almost every day to be interviewed by the FSS in the framework of criminal cases instituted after arsons. Whether there is an investigation against the Christian State Kalinin did not specify. But he notes that he allegedly received an official response from Moscow that criminal cases "on this fact" will never be initiated.
In the meantime the thirty-three-year-old religious figure had and still has a channel on YouTube, in which he publishes his monologues about religion, conducts online sessions, and also collects videotapes of arsons on the “Matilda” case. There, as well as on his page "VKontakte", the fighter against the movie collects money.
The "Open Russia" portal claims that Kalinin first published and then deleted the video "Work, Brothers! Appeal to the whole Orthodox world, "in which he called on believers to "act" and spoke of their readiness to finance them. At the same time he asked supporters not to tell him their action plans; the most important thing is “people should not suffer."
The organization has never taken responsibility for the arsons. Kalinin said that "the Christian State" often receives reports that arson would be committed in one place or another in the near future. According to him, sometimes these words were confirmed by actions.
The religious activist interprets the Criminal Code in a peculiar way; he believes that if a law does not correlate with morality and love of the people, then he "perfectly understands people who spit on such a law."
"The Lord gave me a mission to retranslate the position of society, I myself will not go throw Molotov cocktails. I would like to somehow tell everyone that all the cinemas and regional offices of the Ministry of Culture are in great danger. Individuals threaten individual cinemas. All this will be backed up by actions, if there is no official refusal of the cinemas from this crappy film. <...> People are ready to burn anything. All that contributes to this blasphemy. And they will not talk about murders, but about depriving one's life for the faith," Kalinin thinks.
He is sure that the "Christian State" will definitely ensure that "Matilda" will not be released. And even if it is, every movie theater in which the movie is shown will burn.