Friday, August 26, 2016


In Russia, 'Horde' Blockbuster Drawing Tatar Objections

The director of "The Horde," Andrei Proshkin, has defended the film as a work of "historic fiction."
The director of "The Horde," Andrei Proshkin, has defended the film as a work of "historic fiction."
By Rimma Bikmukhametova and Daisy Sindelar
With its $12 million budget, lavish sets, and elaborate costume designs, "The Horde" is expected to draw large crowds of movie fans when it opens in Russia on September 20.

But not everyone is eager to see the film, which depicts life under the Golden Horde, the Mongol khanate that controlled large portions of Eurasia during the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries.

The main detractors are expected to be Russia's nearly 6 million Tatars, who are considered the country's modern-day descendants of nomads who joined Genghis Khan's army and eventually helped to create the Golden Horde.

They say the film -- which received financial backing from Orthodox Encyclopedia, a company that has backed numerous movies glorifying the Russian Orthodox Church and the lives of its saints -- falsely depicts the Golden Horde as an empire dominated by random violence, greed, and ignorance.

The film's director, Andrei Proshkin, has defended the film as a work of "historic fiction," saying it was never intended as a true-to-life depiction of the Golden Horde.  

Still, he has acknowledged that the movie is likely to displease many viewers in Tatarstan, Russia's prosperous and predominantly Muslim republic that is home to the majority of the country's Tatars.

"It's difficult to predict what kind of reaction there's going to be [in Tatarstan]," Proshkin says. "Probably, people are going to be offended. But what can you do?"

'Worst Traditions Of Soviet Films'

Among those offended are the very researchers who were hired to help Proshkin and his screenwriter re-create the sights and sounds of life under the Mongol Empire.   

Vadim Rudakov: "The overall impression is of brutal, bloodthirsty, evil-minded, greedy people."Vadim Rudakov: "The overall impression is of brutal, bloodthirsty, evil-minded, greedy people."
Vadim Rudakov: "The overall impression is of brutal, bloodthirsty, evil-minded, greedy people."
Vadim Rudakov: "The overall impression is of brutal, bloodthirsty, evil-minded, greedy people."
Vadim Rudakov, a researcher specializing in the Golden Horde, was the first consultant hired by the Orthodox Encyclopedia staff in June 2009.

He came away from the first meeting feeling enthusiastic that Russia would "finally" have an accurate depiction of life under its Mongol forbearers, who are widely credited with establishing regional government, a postal system, census-taking, and military organization.

But once the script was developed, Rudakov was crestfallen. Most of his suggestions about historical accuracy had been ignored, he told RFE/RL. And the depiction of the Mongols, he said, was deeply degrading.

"Some of them were given human qualities, but the overall impression is of brutal, bloodthirsty, evil-minded, greedy people. Even the jokes they told were flat and stupid," Rudakov says. "It was all of the worst traditions of the old Soviet films about Tatar Mongols and nomads."

Building 'Stereotypes'

Despite such controversy, "The Horde" has earned early accolades, with Proshkin taking the top directing award at this summer's Moscow Film Festival and one of his stars, Rosa Khairulina, taking the prize for best actress.

WATCH: The trailer for "The Horde"

And many movie fans are likely to be drawn in by the film's ambitious set design, which involved the reconstruction of the city of Sarai Batu, the capital of the Golden Horde, outside the Russian city of Astrakhan.

But Rudakov, who originally recommended the Astrakhan site, says the film designers took liberties with the architecture, clothing, and customs of the times, building a "stereotype" of an eastern city but ignoring long-established facts about the Horde.

Rudakov and others say "Horde" is little more than an attempt to denigrate Russia's Mongol roots and herald the role of Christianity in throwing off the "Mongol yoke." In the film, the character of Metropolitan Aleksei is credited with protecting Moscow from a Tatar raid in the 14th century.

The release of "The Horde" comes at a time when the Kremlin's cultural arm is looking increasingly to the movie industry to promote the government's national aims.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky this week said his ministry would provide select funding and tax-free status only for films made on Russian territory and whose content had been vetted by the government.

Most 'Civilized' Nation

The movie's release also comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and its Tatar population, which has accused the Kremlin of seeking to restrict minority-language rights and even Muslim worship.

Tatar historian and novelist Wahit Imamov says "The Horde" and earlier movies like "Yaroslav the Wise" are part of the Kremlin's determination to use culture to promote Russia's image as a Slavic, Christian nation.

"Russians have always tried to picture themselves as the most 'civilized' nation," Imamov says. "Non-Russians can hardly accept films such as 'Yaroslav Mudriy' or any other similar ones. They show Tatars as a wild tribe constantly eating raw meat and moving from one place to another. What is really sad is that Tatars or the Tatarstan government are doing nothing [in terms of making their own movies]."

Written in Prague by Daisy Sindelar based on reporting by Rimma Bikmukhametova in Kazan and with contributions by RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service
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Comment Sorting
by: Chris from: Ireland
September 19, 2012 12:42
It sounds like a retread of Hollywood epics(Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, etc etc) with the hope of making money while elevating some piece of Christian nonsense.
In Response

by: Alex from: LA
September 20, 2012 05:35
So is RFE/RL trying to say that Tatars where not tribal nomadic peoples in those day, and Russian movie takes that from no where? Have you seen Western Movies and how we portray those ohh Native Americans as Nomadic Tribes, of that time!
In Response

by: Frank
September 20, 2012 12:35
Nevr mind how Russia/Rusians are often portrayed.

**** RFE/RL and its bigoted hypocrisy.

Its bias is worst against Serbs/Serbia.
In Response

by: Lili from: NC
September 23, 2012 05:10
The Tatar population in Tatarstan today is primarily a mix of the Turkic Bolgars, who were living in the lower Volga region, and Mongols, who invaded the region in the thirteenth century. So no, not exactly; the predecessors of contemporary Kazan Tatars actually had a semblance of a less-than-nomadic state at the time Mongol Tatar tribes invaded.
In Response

by: Ingush from: New-York
September 28, 2012 21:58
No, they are trying to say Russians always lie, but these are not new news. We all know that.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 21, 2012 08:48
Just to contrer, Cris, Alex, Jack, Eugenio and other Rashkas,
You showed "civilization" through ages treasonous blyashkas.
A spit-eat from same boll in "13-th warrior" backstabb Varaga
Is more civilized than last 11 Centuries of Varaga-Prussaka.

Tatars and other Volga people were first like other Russians,
White - like white Tatars called Franks that defended Europe
From Norman barbarians. They eventually would be Christian
And unite with rest of Europe's Russia as English and Welsh,
If not invading Varaga that genocidized all Russian population.

As Varaga reached Tatars their princess married Chingiz Han,
Which didn't fought Russia. As Varaga unleashed a genocide,
Killing about half Tatar country grandson of Chingiz Han came
Demanding Varaga leave. Mongol ambassy was killed bestialy
On eyes of Mongols, by Varaga, Pechenega and Adyga hords.

Three barbarians now are essential part of Russia expansion
Into Georgia nd the rest of CIS. Bestial Russia meant mortify,
But instead Mongols crossed the frozen river Kalka, infurriated
Lead by spirits and Archangel "Bao-Bao" in flames in the skies.
Mongols were only brutal initially, killing killers of Ambassadors.

Later they made Russia sort of a nation out of Varaga animals.
Soviets simply allowed few films patriotic and low budjet staff,
Before WW2 and being anable to prevent Russia Chauvinists
From idiotic vew of history, it wasn't time than change movies.

CIS nations are not "Indians" as Russian Neanderthals saying,
Their nations emerged Caucasians long before came Varaga.
Varaga were Neanderthals, only since fifth Century BC mixing
With Sam-Gad corsed tribes, Chaldean snake, dream of Sara
As one can read Bible, accompanied also by Caucasian fixing.

by: Jack from: US
September 19, 2012 14:03
again a cheap attempt by US propaganda outlet RFE/RL to spread standard US government propaganda cliches:
"at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and its Tatar population"
"the Kremlin's cultural arm is looking increasingly to the movie industry to promote the government's national aims"

Does RFE/RL have any smarter way to promote US government agenda than just using a limited set of primitives?
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 20, 2012 06:39
Agree with you, Jack, even if it seems more like a cheap attempt on the part of the RFE/RL to somehow divert attention from the US movie that cost the life of the US ambassador in Lybia by saying: "Look, we, Beavuses, are not the only ones making stupid movies - look, for example, at this latest "Horde" film made by Russians - for sure it will provoke a violent outcry by the Tatars". But, as usual, it is just wishful thinking - there will be no outcry.

by: American Troll
September 19, 2012 14:52
The sequel should cover the fall of Kazan to Ivan Grozny in 1552 when most of the city was killed, enslaved or deported, with the remnant subjected to centuries of Slavic colonization and Orthodox proselytizing. To cut production costs, they could use Kondopoga as a stage setting for Sviyazhsk and pay local drunks and krokodil junkies fifty rubles apiece to play Muscovite soldiers. The vital youth demographic could be attracted through a little creative license, like making Ivan Grozny be a vampire. A rapping, breakdancing vampire.

Oh, wait. That would be extremism and promoting ethnic hatred.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 20, 2012 04:23
tatar are not mongol

in any way !
In Response

by: FRank
September 21, 2012 11:43
American Troll,

Kazan had been part of Rus, BEFORE the Mongol occupation.

The above article downplays how advanced Rus was before the Mongol occupation.

Moreover, there's the view that the Mongol subjugation of Rus served to greatly cut off that land in a way that limited Rus ties to the West - which in turn led to the Rus land missing out on the Renaissance.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 22, 2012 10:32
See, not Mongols, and not Slavs. Muslims, even then.
In Response

by: Frank
September 23, 2012 02:41
The submitted Wiki link doesn't confirm a Mongol presence in Kazan before Rus. So there's no misundestanding, Mongol in this instance is referring to the forces which subjugated Rus in the 13th century..
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 23, 2012 09:05
No, I mean Kazan was not part of the Kievan Rus state. Kazan was Volga Bulgaria.
In Response

by: Frank
September 24, 2012 07:53
Wiki can offer contrasts:
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 21, 2012 16:57
You dont know and tell! even during the reign of Ivan Grozny was a time when the Russian state and the rights of the Tatar khan's a fact! Do not know the history, people, culture ... how u can bother to argue?

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
September 20, 2012 09:04
Horde gave Russian civilization..We know that the soldiers of horde at the time were the most advanced..
battering rams, Greek fire, long-range bows,healthy Eating.
Russian then ate only steamed turnip, so they were angry and hungry
Tatar doctors could cure many diseases before which Russian were powerless..
Аt the same time, Russian differed by sadistic tendencies- they plundered each other, tortured and killed..
Therefore we see today the descendants of thosе russian such as gangster Bastrykin and Putin,who continue to do terrible things...
atarstan should secede from the Russian Federation...
In Response

by: Frank
September 20, 2012 12:37
The Vikngs had a more civilizing imapct tyhan the Horde.

The latter pretty much destroyed Kiev.

BTW, Saakashvili is a Georgian chauvinist bum.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 24, 2012 10:27
Is Frank your real name? Your idiotic lies are indignating!
"Franks" where white Tatars that stopped Viking expansion!
Tatar and Mongol-Chinese Civilization comparing to whom?
To Viking in "The 13-th Warrior" eating their own vomitting?
Be Russian "upside-down" racist's inferriority aggression
Kill more advanced, smaller nations, forging their doom.
Big Neanderthal Russia eat slmall Caucasian Georgia
In name of breed "proletarians" - call God "Chavinist"?
Look at pictures: "".
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
September 20, 2012 14:46
Yes,Vahe,hordes gave russians civilization-that means they were georgian-they taught the world healthy eating-neckties,socks,underwear-so Aakashviladze is a great present-day mongol,missing just a tatar doctor to cure himout of his you know what and of course tatars should secede from Russia and go back to mother Georgia on my mind and form a union with mongolia and azeristan to become again the new hub of world civilization and culture with Great Ramil Safarov as its Khan Sultan,Grand vizier and eunuch.On second thought,you would make a better eunuch,but that is for EU Genio and Jack to decide!!!
In Response

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
September 20, 2012 16:03
I would like to know why the moderators of Radio Liberty do not allow answers to rudeness of sоme species of wildlife.

Everyone knows that there is a circus where for the spectators dancing speaking camels...
They can not explain to the camel that he mistook the circus with a reputable radio station?
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 24, 2012 10:50
Don't wonder Vakhtang, Free Europe was war arena
During the Cold war, staffed by USSR defendents
That thought their country would be a weak pray.
But lately it's more and more staffed by nazi gay
Where Eugenio-like missusing Forums, US pay,
For Putin conspirering Merkel - Russia's devidents
Of spoiling air Russia-Austria Bundershaft-Makarena.
In Response

by: Frank
September 24, 2012 07:56

Russia tolerates anti-Russian types like yourself.

Your telling Tatarstan to secede from Russia reveals your Russia hating agenda, given that the overall mood in that Russian republic contrasts from your bigoted babble.

by: Anonymous
September 20, 2012 10:05
So, how did Greeks feel about 300?

What I get from this is that Russia likes glorious epics that play on old grudges, but other countries (Korea) are still making better films.

by: Joseph from: Washington, DC
September 20, 2012 23:35
This is good for the Russian film industry. We clearly see this another case of Muslims crying foul at open media due to their immaturity and delicate sensitivities. We don't care.
In Response

by: R
September 22, 2012 03:30
Hey Joe, why is this movie good for the Russian film industry? And why is it immature and delicately sensitive to expose lies?

by: Daniel BESSON from: France
September 23, 2012 15:47
It's surprising that we don't have the ( Russophobic ) comments on this issue of :
1- Fauziya Bayramova
2- Paul Goble
3- Kavkaz-Center

What are they doing ? they are sleeping ?

In Response

by: Frank
September 24, 2012 08:01
Daniel Besson,

Although flawed in thinking and limited, such "diversity" can nevertheless be erroneously spun in a way to suggest a greater legitimacy to a slant.

You know about the Nazi concept of the big lie.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 24, 2012 10:37
Russophobic left only you,
Scared slave that lying for Russia.
"Besson-nitca muchaet"? Russian Jew?
I understand, they killed my mother for my truth,
It isn't easy be truthful "Daniel" at Babilon parasha.
In Response

by: Frank
September 27, 2012 12:40
You appear ot be quite a simplistic beast Konstantin.

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