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Unfiled April 21, 2006
 
Kompromat Korner
A brief roundup of Russia's rumormill By Yasha Levine Browse author Email
 
 

9-ya Rota's director Banderchuk stole his nephew's score.

Director Fyodor Banderchuk

The film 9-ya Rota, or "The 9th Company," came out in 2005 and was one of the first movies in Russia's film industry history to unleash a relentless PR and ad campaign, eclipsing even Dnevnoy Dozor's. The ads were everywhere; even TV news gave it wide coverage, showing veterans coming out of the movie teary-eyed and providing constant pre-release interviews with the cast. The film was financially successful, but as a work of art it amounted to little more than prettily-shot patriotic garbage, a sentimental Full Metal Jacket without the latter's brutality, about Russia's military campaign in Afghanistan. Shot for only $9 million, it made $7.7 million in its first five days and used 1,500 real live army personal for the shoot  now that's a new form of dedovshina. Putin even got a private showing in his Kremlin theater with all the film's cast in attendance. He gave it two-thumbs up, while the eXile gave it two big grimaces for our disappointment.

But this isn't a movie review, this is Kompromat. Almost a year after the movie came out, its director, Fyodor Bondarchuk, is being sued by his own nephew for intellectual property theft, according to an expose by Zhiz'n magazine. The nephew, Ivan Burlyayev, says that a sample he composed for the film's theme song was used without his knowledge and permission, and obviously, without any kind of cash compensation. After Ivan approached his uncle about this little family misunderstanding, Fyodor promised to add him to the music credits but wasn't even about to start giving out money for something as petty as the movie's theme song.

Uncle Fedya's basically telling him, "If I had the money, I'd pay you, believe you me, there's just nothing left, sorry!" Ivan is also accusing Uncle Fedya of masterminding the theft of all the recording equipment from his studio so as to erase any evidence of his authorship of the song. Whoever broke into Ivan's studio fucked up and stole everything but an old PC sitting in the corner. Since the score was written some years back when 9-ya Rota was just a concept in Fyodor's mind, Ivan, fresh out of a conservatory, used that very same old computer to compose the music in question. Now, Ivan's got cold hard proof and he's not afraid to use it to shake his uncle down.

This seems to be a battle within the emerging Russian cinematic elite that the Russian media is not too keen on exposing. And one can understand why. Fyodor Bondarchuk's father, Sergei Bondarchuk is a national filmmaking hero. Among other things, he won a 1968 Oscar for a 5-hour screen adapta- tion of Tolstoy's War & Peace, and is famous for making epic war films.

Is Gazprom doing business with the Italian mafia?

A multi-year investigation into the holdings of a mafia family led Sicilian investigators into the offices of Sirco, a small gas supplier registered in Palermo that supplies to Italy, Romania and Yugoslavia. According to an investigation carried out by Novaya Gazeta, during their raid on Sirco's offices, Italian investigators found a business card of some unidentified top-level manager at Gazprom, as well as confirmation of a 2004 contract linking Gazprom and Revne.

Revne is an unknown Ukrainian gas distributor which Sirco signed a deal with in 2004, in which Sirco would annually receive 6 billion cubic meters of gas about $1 billion worth  from Gazprom.

Seems like a typical deal with a middleman, right? Well, it would be if Sirco wasn't suspected by Italian officials of being a mafia enterprise backed by the money of a convicted  and now dead former Palermo mayor/Mafioso, one Vito Ciancimino.

Italian police are convinced that Masimo Ciancimino, Vito's son, still commands a vast fortune of his daddy's cash. They allege that he poured funds into Sirco, a company in which he is a partner.

Novaya Gazeta also reported that Gazprom won't make an official statement on the matter. But unofficially, Gazprom calls this allegation total b.s. and denies that they had any dealings with Sirco  or any other criminal organization for that matter. They say this is most likely an internal razborka within the Italian gas industry in which someone is trying to discredit their competition. Gazprom also says, off the record, that the documents linking them up with the Italians are forgeries.

One thing is a bit confusing though. If someone is trying to discredit an Italian gas supplier by tying them up in a mafia scandal, why forge documents that link them with Gazprom  everybody has business with Gazprom. Wouldn't it be the other way around? And who really cares anyway? This gas deal smells. We could be hearing more...

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Levine
Browse author
Yasha Levine is an editor at The eXile. You can contact him at yasha@exile.ru
 
 
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