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Oscar-Winning Russian Director Vladimir Menshov Dies Of Covid-19

Vladimir Menshov

Vladimir Menshov | Image: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

Russia’s Oscar-winning film director Vladimir Menshov died on Monday after testing positive for coronavirus. He was 81-years-old.


Menshov, who won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1981, died as a result of complications from Covid-19, Moscow film studios, Mosfilm, confirmed in a statement.

“We knew he was suffering from Covid-19, but in a mild form. It is absolutely horrible and unexpected,” film director Vladimir Khotinenko told AFP.

“His death leaves a huge vacuum in our shared cultural space,” Khotinenko added.

Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Menshov’s death represented “a huge loss for our cinema and our culture”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin “expresses his deepest condolences”.

Menshov was born in 1939 in Baku, then the capital of Soviet Azerbaijan. Although Menshov mostly worked as an actor, he is best known for the five films he directed, especially for the 1979 melodrama “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears”, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1981.

It was only one of two Soviet films to win an Oscar — the other being “War and Peace”.

Menshov was noted for depicting the Russian everyman and working class life in his films. Menshov was beloved in Russia for his comedy “Love and Pigeons”, released in 1984 and still one of the most watched films on Russian television.

He is credited in over 100 films, most notably “How Czar Peter the Great Married Off His Moor” (1976), “Where is the Nophelet?” (1988), “Night Watch” (2004), “Day Watch” (2006) and “Legend № 17” (2013), for which he received a Golden Eagle Award as Best Supporting Actor in 2014.

In recent years, Menshov was the general director and art director of “Film Studio Genre,” a subsidiary of Mosfilm.

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