The 4 original series Netflix halted when it pulled out of Russia, and what it means for the local TV industry

·3 min read
The Netflix logo is displayed on a smartphone screen.
The Netflix logo is displayed on a smartphone screen.Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Netflix suspended its service in Russia and halted all productions there.

  • Four original Russian shows were impacted, which accounted for 1% of Netflix's upcoming slate.

  • It's more of a loss for local production companies than it is for Netflix.

Netflix recently suspended its service in Russia, after announcing it would pause all productions in the country, over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The announcement came as Netflix was starting to commission original series in Russia. Netflix had four TV shows in development or production in Russia before pulling out of the region, all of which have been halted. They made up just 1% of Netflix's upcoming slate, according to the data firm Ampere Analysis.

Netflix's first Russian original series would have been a modern retelling of "Anna Karenina," called "Anna K," based on the classic novel by Leo Tolstoy. It was being produced by the Russian company 1-2-3 Production, which was also producing another Russian drama series for Netflix, "Nothing Special."

The other two series were both thrillers: an untitled series starring the Russian actor Alexander Petrov, and "Zato," which Netflix described as a "neo-noir detective drama."

As a region Netflix had yet to fully tap into, it represents more of a loss of income for local production companies.

"The largest loss for Russia here is in the future Netflix commissions the [Russian film and TV] industry could have expected," said Ampere Analysis research manager Fred Black.

Netflix's presence in other markets has been a boon for local TV industries, such as Germany and South Korea. Two of Netflix's biggest TV shows, "Squid Game" and "All of Us Are Dead," have come from the latter. And it is trying to make inroads in markets where growth has slowed, like Latin America, by ramping up local content productions there.

The company has 222 million subscribers worldwide, and its global footprint has pushed rivals like Disney to focus more on their international originals.

"Netflix has a five-year advantage," Nicola De Angelis, co-CEO of the Italian production company Fabula Pictures, previously told Insider.

Along with originals, Netflix also paused all acquisitions in Russia, multiple outlets reported, including Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

Black said that Netflix licensed and distributed 174 non-original Russian titles outside of Russia, which could hurt the Russian entertainment industry as Netflix suspends business there.

Below are details on the four Netflix Russian originals that have now been halted:

"Anna K"

Svetlana Khodchenkova ann k
Svetlana Khodchenkova was set to star as Anna Karenina in "Anna K."Netflix

Netflix's first Russian original would have been "Anna K," which it described in its announcement as a "lavish and contemporary retelling of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel 'Anna Karenina.'" The Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova was set to star as the title character. It was announced in May 2021.

Untitled psychological drama

netflix russia series

The Alexander Petrov-starring thriller would have followed "a celebrity who finds himself in the center of tragic events that destroy his personality," according to Netflix.

"Nothing Special"

nothing special russia netflix
"Nothing Special."Netflix

Netflix said "Nothing Special" was about "a young actor Lyokha and his volunteer work at a charity that supports people with disabilities." It was announced in December, 2021


zato russia netflix

Netflix described "Zato" as a "neo-noir detective drama" about an "ambitious journalist Kristina and a cop Dashkin leading an investigation into the disappearance of a child in a restricted access town." It was officially announced in February.

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