Bill proposed to set 50% quota on foreign films in Russia

Bill proposed to set 50% quota on foreign films in Russia

26 March 2014
Text Nadia Beard

A bill to limit the number of foreign films shown in Russian cinemas to 50% has been prepared by State Duma deputy Robert Schlegel from the United Russia party. According to Schlegel, the bill will attract more investors to the Russian film industry while allowing the Russian government to make back money from their investment in the Russian film world.

“Between 20% and 30% of the foreign films currently screened in Russian cinemas are of the lowest level, and it’s simply not necessary to show them. There are several good films made in Russia that nobody gets to see,” the deputy said.

The restrictions would affect American films most of all, since the current system of film distribution was created by Hollywood, according to Schlegel. In the last two years, Schlegel has repeatedly offered numerous proposals regarding the screeing of foreign films in Russian cinemas, but none of his initiatives were supported by the Duma’s chamber until now.

According to film critic and cultural expert Kirill Razlogov, quotas on foreign films may not be as effective as economic measures taken to support local filmmakers. “Such proposals are mostly political gestures for self-promotion. In the majority of countries today, quotas in cinemas practically don’t exist, and in countries that try to adopt them in the end decide not to,” Razlogov told the BBC.

The document provided by Schlegel will propose a fine between 100 and 400 thousand rubles for each violation of the law by distributors.

Also this week, a bill has been prepared by Oleg Mikheyev, Duma deputy and member of political party Fair Russia, to ban computer games that are deemed to be propaganda for war, incitement of nationalism, or promotion of racial or religious hatred. Under the bill, the spread of “pro-fascist” games will be punishable by an administrative fine or 2,000 to 3,000 rubles for individuals, between 10 and 20 thousand roubles for bureacrats and between 100 and 500 thousand roubles for legal entities.

“The seizure of power by neo-fascists and the subsequent events in Ukraine have shown that the stiffening of punishments for offenses on all sides are linked to indirect propaganda, which is a topical question,” said Mikheyev.

Mikheyev accused the computer games Maidan and Soldiers: Heroes of the World, whose popularity ratings have soared following the recent events in Ukraine, as promoting Russophobia among young men in Ukraine.

“This promotion is conducted through seemingly innocent things, like video games. Their ultimate goal could be to discredit the historical past of Russia, its current status, the formation of a negative image of the country for foreign citizens and maybe even for our countrymen. This must be fought,” said Mikheyev.