Ivan Demidov Appointed Russia's Deputy Culture Minister in Charge of Film Industry

The former TV host replaces Yekaterina Chukovskaya in the role.

MOSCOW – Ivan Demidov, a former TV host and political functionary, has been appointed deputy culture minister in charge of the film industry in the new Russian cabinet.

Demidov is replacing Yekaterina Chukovskaya in the new team that is being formed by newly appointed culture minster Vladimir Medinsky, and bringing him on board was the new minister’s first major decision.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted Chukovskaya as saying that the new minister stressed that he doesn’t have any professional or other issues with her.

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Earlier, there were reports that Mosfilm’s head and veteran director Karen Shakhnazarov, Channel One’s general director Konstantin Ernst, VGTRK head Oleg Dobrodeyev and NTV boss Vladimir Kulistikov were candidates for the culture minster’s job, but none of them was eventually brought to the cabinet. Meanwhile, Medinsky’s appointment came as a surprise to many observers.

Demidov, 48, came to the limelight in the early 1990s as host of MuzOBOZ, one of the first music shows on Soviet television made by Western recipes. Later, he hosted a number of other shows and held senior positions in television, including that of head of the station TV6 in the mid-1990s.

Since the mid-2000s, he has been involved with Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia), the country’s main political party and has held several senior government and party positions. His last job was deputy head of the internal policy department at Russia’s presidential organization, in charge of relations with public and religious organizations.

Since the demise of the Soviet Union, no filmmaker has been appointed to a senior position at Russia’s culture ministry. In the late Soviet era, actor and director Nikolai Gubenko was the country’s culture minister.