Moscow - Russia blamed bureaucracy rather than censorship for a decision to halt the release of a Hollywood movie that tells the fictional story of U.S. troops rescuing a Russian president from a Kremlin coup.
The thriller "Hunter Killer" was due to hit screens in Russia on Nov. 1, but the release was pulled, prompting allegations from Kremlin critics that it was censored because its plot undermines President Vladimir Putin's strongman image.
Last year, Russia banned screenings of the dark comedy "The Death of Stalin" after officials said its portrayal of Kremlin infighting in the wake of the death of the Soviet leader was disrespectful towards victims of Stalin's purges.
The Culture Ministry was quoted by Russian media as saying "Hunter Killer" had not received authorisation because a satisfactory copy of the film had not been submitted to Russia's state film archive in time. The ministry's press office did not answer calls on Friday seeking comment.
The film, starring Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman, features a plot in which Russia's president is taken hostage by his own defence minister.