Mikhalkov’s ‘Truth’ riles Russians

Political manifesto stirs scrutiny of films

Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov is rarely out of the spotlight.

His latest film — a three-hour, $55 million sequel to “Burnt by the Sun,” which won the 1994 Academy Award for foreign-language pic — was a flop at the Russian box office, earning just $7 million.

Now Mikhalkov — who is noted for his strong nationalist views and friendship with former president, now prime minister, Vladimir Putin — has entered the fray again by issuing a 63-page political manifesto rejecting liberal democracy and calling for a stronger, more centralized state.

The 10,000-word manifesto, titled “Right and Truth,” which the helmer sent to the Kremlin, states: “People are tired of declarations on political independence. They are tired of calls for individual freedoms. They don’t believe in fairytales about the wonders of the market economy. The euphoria over liberal democracy is over!”

The media took note. Business daily newspaper Vedomosti dubbed Mikhalkov an “ideological mouthpiece for the Kremlin” and criticized his films as a visual interpretation of his politics.

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