Mosfilm Head Karen Shakhnazarov Considered as Prospective Russian Culture Minister

If appointed, he would become the first filmmaker in Russia to get the job.

MOSCOW-- Russian director Karen Shakhnazarov, who is currently general director of the Mosfilm studio complex, is being considered for the job of the country’s culture minister, according to Russian media reports.

Following a recent announcement that the current culture minister, Alexander Avdeyev, won’t stay in the new cabinet due to be formed in the wake of the presidential elections scheduled for this March, the media have come up with a list of his possible successors, including Shakhnazarov.

Fifty-nine-year-old Shakhnazarov has directed 13 features, including 1987’s Kuryer (Courier), which won a special prize at the Moscow International Film Festival, 2004’s Vsadnik Po Imeni Smert (The Rider Named Death), and 2008’s Ischeznuvshaya Imperiya (The Vanished Empire).

Shakhnazarov’s next film, the World War II action drama Bely Tigr (White Tiger), is scheduled to be released this year.

He has been heading Moscow-based Mosfilm, the country’s largest studio complex, since 1998.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Mosfilm told The Hollywood Reporter that no one has approached Shakhnazarov about the job so far, and that he only knows about it from media reports.

Another filmmaker, Nikita Mikhalkov, was also rumored to be considered for the position, but the 66-year-old veteran director wouldn’t meet the age requirement as the minister has to be under 65.

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, actor and director Nikolai Gubenko was the Soviet Union’s last culture minister. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, filmmakers have never become Russia’s culture ministers.