Fears for future as Ukraine moves to privatise film studios and circuses

Fears for future as Ukraine moves to privatise film studios and circuses
Still from Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, 1965, dir. Sergei Parajanov, Dovzhenko Film Studios

3 August 2017

Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has announced a long list of state-owned companies that will shortly be privatised, among them prominent film studios and circuses. How will they fare when profit is the name of the game?

The list of 890 enterprises to be privatised in 2017 — 2020 include the Dovzhenko Film Studios, Ukrainian Documentary Film Studios and UkrTeleFilm Studio, along with the National Circus of Ukraine and six regional circuses.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, quoted by Kyiv Post, the government has shown itself to be an ineffective manager for enterprises working in the competitive market, with 1,186 state-owned companies making a loss in 2016. In 2017, more than Hr 537 million ($21 million) of state money was allocated to support government-owned cultural institutions, most of which make significant losses. For example, the Dovzhenko Film Studios lost Hr 3 million ($116,000) of state money in 2015 — 2016.

Given this poor track record for profit, critics worry what the future may hold for the privatised companies.

Oleksandr Salnikov, lawyer for the National Circus Company of Ukraine told Kyiv Post that he believes investors would be more likely to buy the circus simply for the land, with no intention of continuing to provide entertainment.

“We’ve never brought profit to the state [...] I don’t think that businessmen would be interested in buying the National Circus Company or a circus as a possible business,” he said.

Source: Kyiv Post