Early warning! A propaganda film project from Russia is coming to Estonia


At the end of January, Propastop came upon the cinema studio Mosfilm website, announcing the news of the initiation of a World War II film project. The project is about restoring old Soviet war films and bringing them together with newer Russian films into one program. The program is dedicated to the „75th Anniversary of the Great Victory“ and will be shown in at least 25 foreign countries in Asia, South and Central America as well as European countries, including Estonia.

The program includes feature films like „Ivan’s Childhood“ (directed by Andrei Tarkovsky) and „Go and See“ (Elem Klimov) as well as Soviet War films „They Fought for Their Homeland“ (Sergey Bondartschuk), „Ballad of a Soldier“ (Grigori Tschuhrai), „The Cranes are flying“ (Mihhail Kalatozov) etc. Also featured are more recent Kremlin minded historical World War II war films „White tiger“ (2012, Karen Schahnazarov) and „The Road to Berlin“ (2015, Sergei Popov).

Some articles about the project mention that the project will also restore, for example, the multi-part film “Liberation” (Juri Ozerov, 1970-1971), a Soviet propaganda spectacle featuring Estonian actor Tõnu Aav in the role of a fascist.

Little is known on when or where it will appear in Estonia
It is not known exactly when the films will arrive in Estonia, the articles mention possibly Spring and May-April. There is no information on which cinemas or where the films will be shown. Propastop speculates as the most likely site to be the Russian Cultural Center in Tallinn and for the project to be brought to Estonia by a local Kremlin-related network.

Propastop considers the film project as a propagandistic soft power action by the Kremlin, aimed at spreading an imperialistic view of Russia’s regime under the label of culture. The venture is in the same line as with the propaganda exhibition, concert and app we have written about before.

While in Indonesia or Argentina, the program can be viewed as foreign war films, in Estonia the narrative of the „Soviet soldier liberator“ has a bloody history. The Soviet Union drove German troops out of Estonia, but then occupied Estonia and committed bloody crimes, which are comparable to Nazi atrocities.

Therefore, the film program in Estonia can only be shown together with explanations and additional material that open up the context of the screenings. Otherwise, the project will not be suitable in Estonian theaters.

Pictures: Screenshot of the story cited in the news. Screenshot of Tõnu Aav as a Fascist from the trailer for the movie „Fritz’s and Blondes“