Armando Iannucci: There are echoes of Stalin in Donald Trump (exclusive)

Tom Butler
UK Movies Editor

Britain’s leading satirist Armando Iannucci says you can detect elements of former Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in President Trump.

His new film, ‘The Death of Stalin’, is a jet-black comedy that dramatises the power struggle that followed the death of the Soviet leader in 1953. Iannucci says that, although it’s a historical satire, the film has a lot to say about the state of modern politics too.

“When we started showing [‘The Death of Stalin’] to people earlier this year, they were all saying how relevant it was,” the film’s writer-director, who also created Alan Partridge, ‘The Thick of It’, and ‘Veep’, tells Yahoo.

“Because they could see in Stalin elements of how Trump would like to be. It’s the idea of the one person who can save the country.”

Armando Iannucci arrives at the London Premiere of “Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa”. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union with an iron fist from the mid-1920s until his death, and is now widely viewed as one of history’s biggest monsters. His government was responsible for the deaths of millions through famine and poverty, and hundreds of thousands more through executions of his so-called “enemies”.

“Stalin called any people who opposed him ‘enemies of the people’,” Iannucci explains, “With Trump I thought he’s turned that into ‘fake news’, that’s his retort to anyone who contradicts him, and that’s worrying. [The film is] there as a comedy, but it’s also a sort of commentary on what did happen in the past, but also a warning – a little red light – saying ‘and it could happen again’.”

Michael Palin, who plays Vyacheslav Molotov, the Communist Party leader who preceded Stalin, agree’s that Stalin’s reign should be heeded as a warning.

People place candles inside a church during a gathering to mark the anniversary of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s death in his hometown of Gori, Georgia, March 5, 2017. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

“This is one of the ultimate stories of the abuse of power, or the chaos of power at a very, very high level,” the Monty Python star adds, “with all sorts of stakes to play with.”

“Nothing ever changes,” concludes Jason Isaacs who plays Marshall Zhukov in the film.

“People who seek power should be precluded from getting power, because it’s all venal self-serving, lying egomania.”

‘The Death of Stalin’ arrives in UK cinemas from 20 November.

Watch the latest trailer for ‘The Death of Stalin’ below…


Read more
Actors who mix with dictators
Moves that were funded by dictators
The favourite films of the world’s most evil people