Russia's film studios are considering turning themselves into private companies following the signing of a new decree by President Vladimir Putin.

Putin this week signed two controversial decrees that lay down a strategy for the future of the Russian film industry and pave the way for the creation of a National Film Fund that will hold the rights for films produced under the Soviet system.

Since the measures do not contain any provision for funding the new bodies, nor do they make privatisation of state owned studios mandatory, his actions do not look like provoking major upheaval in the near future.

And it seems that the studios may choose to go in different directions. "Mosfilm is not planning to be privatised," said Karen Shaknazarov, general director of Mosfilm, Russia's largest film studios.

But across the city, Vadim Grammatik, general director of the Gorky Studios is cautiously enthusiastic. "Privatisation is the only way for the industry to survive. We are talking to investors but this is a very complicated process and we don't expect that it is going to happen anytime soon, not this year and probably not even next year."

The creation of a National Film Fund, that would hold the copyright to the thousands of films produced under Communism may be just as problematic. "The films produced at Mosfilm belong to the studios. That's the law and the decree has not changed that law," said Mosfilm's Shaknazarov,.

Grammatik, who controls a library of more than 1,000 films going back to 1915, said that even if a film fund is created the government would need to find a way for the studios to share in the proceeds from such a fund if the studios are to survive.