Why Russian government banned this film produced in Yakutia?

The Russian government has banned an ethnic Yakut film from online streaming platforms over claims of nationalism, SIA refers to foreign media.

"Ayta" became the highest-grossing film ever in the Far East republic of Sakha (Yakutia), raking in more than 26 million rubles at the box office after its premiere in March.

The award-winning thriller centers around tensions between villagers in Sakha and an ethnic Russian police officer wrongfully accused of raping and killing an ethnic Yakut teen.

Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor earlier this month ordered streaming platforms to remove “Ayta” due to its “destructive information that contradicts the principles of unity among the peoples of Russia.”

“The film demonstrates inequality based on nationality,” the regulator said.

"Positive aspects of characters belonging to one nationality are contrasted with the pointedly negative traits of characters belonging to another,” he added.

High-profile Yakut figures interviewed by Yakutsk Vecherniy all expressed hope that Roskomnadzor would ultimately overturn its own ban.

“Ayta’s” director Stepan Burnashev argued that Roskmonadzor mistook the film’s plot for an expression of separatism.

Sakha’s Culture Minister this week said he hoped Roskmonadzor would reconsider its ban but declined to openly challenge the federal agency.

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