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Suspect In Arson Attack On Russian Cinema Jailed


Firefighters work at the Cosmos movie theater's main entrance after an apparent arson attack in Yekaterinburg on September 4.

A man accused of carrying out an arson attack on a movie theater in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg has been sent to pretrial detention.

The Sverdlov regional court on September 6 identified the suspect as Denis Murashov, 39, and ordered him jailed for two months as the investigation continues.

Investigators say Murashov tried to ram a vehicle into the cinema's main entrance, then threw an incendiary projectile that started a fire on the car and inside the theater.

The ruling came amid suspicions that the September 4 attack may have been linked to opposition among some conservative nationalist and Russian Orthodox activists to a film about Tsar Nicholas II that opens in Russian theaters next month.

Russian media have posted a video that appears to show Murashov attending a protest against director Aleksei Uchitel's film Matilda in the Siberian city of Tyumen on August 17.

Matilda tells the story of a romance between Nicholas, when he was a young and unmarried crown prince, and teenage ballet dancer Matilda Kshesinskaya.

Activists who oppose the film claim it besmirches the memory of Nicholas, who was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad in 1918 and was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.

The video of the August protest appears to show Murashov calling for Uchitel to "get out of Russia" and saying, "Let him show his movie to penguins in Antarctica."

Opponents have called on Russian authorities to ban Matilda, but the Culture Ministry cleared it for release in August and it is set to open in movie theaters on October 26.

Uchitel says he has received threats over the film, and assailants threw Molotov cocktails into the building that houses his studio in St. Peterburg on August 31.

With reporting by Rapsinews and Interfax
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