Russia to Launch Fund to Finance TV Series

The country's culture minister Vladimir Medinsky said that dramatic "TV series attract huge numbers of viewers, and the government needs to be involved."

MOSCOW -- Russia's culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has announced a state funding project for local TV series, also saying that the idea of introducing limits on Hollywood movies is still under consideration

The culture ministry is to put a special focus on TV series, Medinsky told reporters on Wednesday, adding that TV series attract huge numbers of viewers, and the government needs to be involved, “otherwise there would only be a bunch of cops and thieves on the screen.”

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According to Medinsky, the ministry is to fund several major TV series this year, including a period piece on the Decemberists, an early 19th century Russian opposition movement, adaptations of author Mikhail Sholokhov's Quiet Flows the Don and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Demons, and a documentary series on the Romanovs Czar family.

The minister also touched upon the issue of the possible introduction of quotas on Hollywood imports pegged to the number of local releases, which he spoke in favor of last month.

“There is a need for protectionist measures, but its specific forms are to be discussed” Medinsky said, adding that it is difficult for Russian releases “to compete with Hollywood.”

“We are not in a hurry,” he went on to say. “We are working on it, we will be discussing it, we will be consulting experts.”

Medinsky also said that last year, the government allocated $171 million (six billion rubles) for the production of films, including 40 features, 400 documentaries and 85 animated films.