Russian Cinema – National Specifics of Upward Movement

Russian Cinema – National Specifics of Upward Movement

Zhabskiy M.I.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Leading Researcher, Research Sector of Academy of Media Industry, Moscow, Russia

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Zhabskiy M.I. Russian Cinema – National Specifics of Upward Movement. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 5. P. 149-158


t. Financial state support of national film production is a decisive premise for its development in today’s Russia. The cornerstone of the support rendered as the state’s order for the film production is figured to be both of a “solid social significance” (V. Putin) and commercial competitiveness of film projects advanced by the producers. Film projects, accepted for production, the state finances on a non-refundable or a partly refundable basis. The main indicator for the development of Russian cinema is taken to be positive dynamics of domestic films’ market share. “Today we are battling Hollywood. And battling it successfully”, averred in 2018 the Minister of culture V. Medinskiy, evidently embellishing the actual state of affairs in cinema. Based on vast factual material, the article shows that in the new century the upward movement of Russian cinema on the criterion of commercial competitiveness is that of chaotic fluctuation: one period, an upturn; another, a decline. In 2005 the share of domestic films on the market amounted to 29.4%. Until the present moment, replicating that relative success did not come about even once. As a matter of fact, for the following decade and a half that proved to be the growth limit for Russian cinema. If at some point in time it were superseded, sustaining the success would hardly be possible. The main reason is the long-entrenched practice of solving the complex problem of Russian cinema’s commercial competitiveness – and along with it, that of the competitiveness of the national cinematic picture of the world – with simple solutions based on the top managers’ common sense, practical experience, etc. In 2009–2018 each year an average of 3.1 films had been making it to the Top-20. This equals 15.5% of the maximally possible numeric indicator. Notably, for that period approximately the same,18.9%, was the yearly average share of Russian cinema on the market according to which it is customary to judge its competitiveness. Grounds for sustained growth of the adduced indicators are not to be seen. Not the least reason is the deficit of scientific furnishing for management decisions being made in cinema. The principle of practical action “Knowledge is power” still waits for its time to come.

cinema; state; the most important art; private business; Hollywood; competitiveness; social significance; development


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Content No 5, 2020