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Activists Demand Russian Filmmaker Be Cited For Dangerous Driving

Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov
Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov
MOSCOW -- Russian activists are demanding that prominent film director Nikita Mikhalkov be punished for "dangerous driving" in Moscow, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The activists of the "blue bucket brigade" in Moscow filed an official suit against Mikhalkov with the Traffic Security Inspection Department (GIBDD) on May 30.

The group supported their case with video and photos showing Mikhalkov's car breaking traffic regulations and using a lane for oncoming traffic to overtake other vehicles.

The video of Mikhalkov -- who is considered one of Russia's greatest directors -- has been circulating on the Internet since May 29.

The people who made the video insist Mikhalkov was driving the car himself.

Mikhalkov, 65, officially stepped down as head of the Defense Ministry's Public Council last week and was therefore deprived of a special blue siren allowing him and/or his driver to speed on Moscow's streets.

The "blue bucket" movement was established by Moscow car owners last year to protest the use of sirens by a large number of Moscow and federal officials who, according to activists, endanger the lives of other drivers in the complicated traffic situation in the Russian capital.

On May 16, Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu sacked his personal driver after an online video allegedly showed him driving Shoigu's car with its siren blaring and making abusive remarks to other drivers over a loudspeaker while in a Moscow traffic jam.

"Blue bucket brigade" members have held protests in which they drive through Moscow together with blue buckets on top of their cars to simulate the official blue sirens used by government officials.

Mihalkov, who is also head of Russia's Cinematographers' Union, won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for 1994's "Burnt by the Sun."

Read more in Russian here