Russian Film About Disputed Wartime Action Wins Putin’s Support

Premiere Of The Movie "28 Panfilov" Held In Kazakhstan

President attends screening of Panfilov’s 28 Men, the story of a Red Army unit’s ‘heroic’ defence of Moscow in the second world war.

A new film about a possibly untrue or exaggerated act of second world war heroism has become the latest weapon in Vladimir Putin’s drive to restore national pride. According to a BBC report, the Russian president joined Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev for a screening of Panfilov’s 28 Men in the Kazakh capital of Astana, an event that was reported on national TV.

Panfilov’s 28 Men is based on a much discussed incident during the defence of Moscow in 1941, during the German invasion of Russia. A unit from the Red Army’s 316th Rifle division (predominantly composed of Khazakhs and Kyrgyz) was reported to have fought a column of German tanks near the village of Dubosekovo, destroying 18 before all being killed. In 1942, the entire group was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, and a number of monuments were erected, including one in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty.

However, later investigations – including an official report compiled in 1948 by a military judge – suggested that the action had been at best exaggerated, and at worst entirely invented. At least six of the soldiers survived, and one, named as Ivan Dobrobabin, surrendered to the Germans and was sent to the gulag for “betraying the motherland”.

The 1948 report was declassified by the state archive in 2015, after production on Panfilov’s 28 Men was underway. According to the Moscow Times, producer and co-director Andrey Shalopa protested against the declassification, saying: “Trying to debunk instances of national heroism can only be done to weaken the people’s moral foundation. One can hardly think of a noble motive for that.”

Panfilov’s 28 Men’s was produced with backing from the culture ministries of Russia and Kazakhstan; the film-makers also say they raised more than 34m roubles (£444,000) via crowdfunding. It is due for release on 24 November.

Remind, that Russian movie “28 Panfilov’s men” opened the XII international Eurasia film festival.

The picture “28 Panfilov’s men” will come out in a wide release on November 24 this year. The Universal Pictures Russia company acts as the film distributor of the movie. Besides Russia, distribution in the CIS countries, and also in China, Europe and Southeast Asia countries is planned. In Kazakhstan 50% of the rights for distribution of the movie belong to JSC Kazakhfilm.