Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Who Says Stalin and Hitler Aren’t Equally Odious? Not the Russian Distributors of ‘Hellboy’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 17 – There are few easier ways to spark arguments among Russians or Western intellectuals than to suggest that Stalin was as bad or even worse than Hitler.  But Russian distributors of the new film, “Hellboy,” leave no doubt as to the side of that debate they’re on – or assume they must be to show the film in Russia.

            Megogo Distribution, the Moscow-based company which is distributing the new horror movie in Russian theaters changes one detail that says a lot: “Instead of Joseph Stalin who is mentioned in the original, Russian viewers hear the name of Adolph Hitler,” the Kinopoisk portal says(

            In one scene in the original version of film, Hellboy meets with Baba-Yaga when the latter is “trying to revive the leader of the Soviet people.” But in the version of the movie being shown in Russian theaters, the reference to Stalin as an evil leader some would like to bring back is replaced both on the soundtrack and in the subtitles by Hitler.

            The distribution company did not respond to Kinopoisk’s queries about this, but the firm has a history of taking such steps. Last year, it made an analogous change in the movie “The Killer’s Bodyguard.” In the English-language version, the character Gary Oldman plays is the president of Belarus. In the version for Russians, he is described as the president of Bosnia.

            Commenting on this, the Yekaterinburg news portal Politsovet says that the change made in “Hellboy” doesn’t take anything away from the film. It turns out,” the portal says, “that the revival of Stalin would be approximately the same thing as the revival of Hitler” (

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