'Game of Thrones'-Type Series Wouldn't Be Possible in Russia, Culture Minister Says

Vladimir Medinsky Russian Culture Minister

The HBO hit show is hugely popular in the country, but Vladimir Medinsky argues there are cultural reasons for why there are no homegrown shows like it.

A television series similar to Game of Thrones wouldn’t be possible in Russia because Russian culture distinguishes clearly between "good" and "evil," Russia’s culture minister Vladimir Medinsky said Monday.

"A Russian wouldn't be able to make Game of Thrones, because we cannot unambiguously say whether the characters are good or bad," Medinsky was quoted as saying by news agency Rosbalt. "But we can do so, for instance, with regard to [legendary Russian 10th-11th century] Prince Vladimir."

Prince Vladimir, who converted Russia to Christianity, is an example of someone unequivocally "bad" turning unequivocally "good" because of his religious conversion, according to Medinsky.

While Medinsky's remarks signal a lack of appreciation for the HBO hit show, Game of Thrones, which in Russia airs on Amediateka, the "home of HBO," is hugely popular in the country. Three million people have watched the series on Amediateka.

Medinsky is known for seeing Russian culture as superior to Western pop culture. For example, he was behind several initiatives aimed at restricting Hollywood and foreign movies in Russia, such as empowering the culture ministry to reschedule movies if their release dates collided with those of major homegrown movies.

His agency also came out with the controversial idea of dramatically raising the exhibition license fee for Hollywood and foreign films earlier this year, but following criticism from distributors, its future is still in limbo.