Russia's Mosfilm Rules Out Privatization

The country's top studio company insists it can be self-sufficient under state control.

MOSCOW -- Russia's biggest film studio company, the Moscow-based Mosfilm, has ruled out privatization, an option that has been floated for years.

"Mosfilm is a highly desirable piece of cake," Sergei Simagin, head of the company's external affairs department, was quoted as saying by the Russian wire service RIA Novosti.

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According to Simagin, Mosfilm has been struggling to remain a state-run company for years. "There have been attempts to [privatize] Mosfilm," he said, adding that the late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky had plans to build a casino on the studio's premises back in the 1990s. "But we were able to stand our ground ... Now we are the only studio company in Russia that can do something."

Simagin stressed that Mosfilm, although owned by the government, is self-sufficient. "We have never taken any money from the government and have no plans to do so."

Headed by veteran director Karen Shakhnazarov, Mosfilm, which in the Soviet era also operated as a film production company and owns an extensive movie library, was among the few older film companies that were able to upgrade their facilities to bring them in line with contemporary requirements. Other iconic Soviet-time studios, such as the Moscow-based Gorky Studio and St. Petersburg-based Lenfilm, are in dire need for upgrading their facilities.