MOSCOW — A Moscow movie theater has shown a satirical film about Soviet leader Josef Stalin despite an official ban.

The Culture Ministry has rescinded the permit for screening Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” just two days before its scheduled premiere. The decision followed criticism from communists and others that the British-French production made a mockery of Russian history.

Pioner theater showed the film Thursday as planned, defying the ministry’s move.

The ministry warned the theater will face sanctions in line with the law. Screening the film without a license is punishable by a fine of up to 100,000 rubles (about $1,800) and could lead to the theater’s closure in case of a second violation.

Stalin remains widely admired in Russia despite his brutal purges that killed millions.

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