The filmmaker made a speech on the political situation in Russia and the need of a dialogue between the government and society.

Russian director Alexander Sokurov has received the Eldar Ryazanov Award for Honour and Dignity at the Russian Nika Awards. In his acceptance speech, he touched on acute political problems in relations between the government, society and artists.

He said at the beginning that his mother had asked him not to criticise the government. “They will kill you,” Sokurov’s mother warned her son. The filmmaker answered that he didn’t argue with the government but just gave his point of view. He said that all people should have the right to express their opinions and urged to end political persecution of dissidents.

Sokurov recalled his conversation with Vladimir Putin, in which the Russian president promised to consider the case of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov who was imprisoned for political reasons. He underlined he still waited for Putin to settle the issue.

The director noted the authorities were making a big mistake by refusing to listen to society. He mentioned the recent protests in Russia and the government's reaction – mass detentions and arrests, also with the use of force. Sokurov emphasised that the authorities were afraid of a dialogue with society and ignored its calls to start a conversation.

“We can’t tolerate it any more,” the filmmaker said.

Alexander Sokurov called on other filmmakers to promote ideas of humanity in society, especially among young people. He noted he was deprived of that opportunity, because his films were not screened in Russia and he had to shoot new works abroad. He again stressed artists’ role in educating and enlightening society, as well as in developing culture.

“We must struggle for the power of enlightenment. It is the only thing that can prevent possible barbarity and possible political catastrophes,” Alexander Sokurov said.

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