A raw about a tv series and a case of national security

Piotr Andrusieczko

The State Agency of Cinematography in Ukraine has abolished the license for the TV series ‘Swatowie’ (‘The Matchmakers’) . This very popular soap opera will not be shown on Ukrainian television anymore. The main role in the series was played by the Russian actor Fyodor Dobronrawov and the Security Service of Ukraine decided not to allow him to enter the country’s territory.  And that means the end of ‘Swatowie’.

Dobronravow was accused by the SBU of  paying many illegal visits  to Crimea and  showing public support for the annexation of the Peninsula by Russia. On November 22, his name was found on the list of people who were forbidden to stay on the territory of Ukraine. The Minister of Culture, at the request of SBU, placed the actor on the list of people who became a threat to the national security of Ukraine.

On November 29, the State Agency of Cinematography forbade to broadcast the series ‘Swatowie’.

– According to the law, we were forced to cancel licenses for all the movies and series with Fyodor Dobronrawov – said the vice-chairman of the Agency Serhii Neretin.

Television 1 + 1 that broadcasted the previous season of the series named the ban a ‘witch-hunting’.  All the more – according to the channel management – there are other films and series with Russian actors who entered Crimea illegally and they can still be broadcasted on Ukrainian television.

The well-known Ukrainian actor and comedian Wladimir Zelenskiy commented harshly on YouTube – One of the actors was banned by SBU from entering our country for three years. It is obvious, that if he broke the law, he cannot come here. But there is no connection between comrade Dobronrawov and a thousand people who have worked on this project for the last 15 years – said Zelenskiy.

He also advised the Services to take care of their elementary duties like keeping order on the streets of Ukrainian cities.

Zelenskiy’s video was watched by two million people. He is directly involved in Dobronrawov’s case because he is the founder and co-owner of Studio Kwartał 95 , which produces the series ‘Swatowie’.

– If someone simply does not like the word ‘matchmakers’ and prefers the word ‘backscratcher’, so then first eradicate your ‘back-scratching’, and then you will fight with our ‘matchmakers’ – Zelenskiy added.

The comic has thus referred to the corruption in Ukraine, which is often based on jobs for the boys and favouritism as well as relations between close relatives. According to the actor, dealing with such pathology should be the main task of SBU.

Zelenskiy’s video caused emotional response in social networks. Many accused him of supporting dangerous actions against his homeland in defence of its own tv series.

However a well-known Ukrainian journalist and a war expert Yuriy Butusov recalled that Zelenskiy – unlike many other Ukrainian artists – broke off contracts with Russia and did not go to Crimea after the annexation of the Peninsula and the outbreak of the Donbas conflict. He has also been helping Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the east of the country since the very beginning. Butusov supposes that someone from Ukrainian authorities probably got miffed by Zelenskiy and his activities as representatives of administration are often heroes of comedy shows made by Kwartał 95 cabaret.

The official reaction of the series’ producers is not known yet. The aforementioned TV channel ‘1 + 1’ stated that the time has come for an open discussion regarding the exact criteria of a television broadcasting ban.

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