President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues,
I think that it is particularly pleasing for us today to meet here in Yaroslavl, the birthplace of our theatre art. As we all know, the first professional theatre was established here, for a wide audience.
It is symbolic that we have gathered here, ahead of the Year of Theatre in our country.
I would like to congratulate everyone on this event. People in Russia love and appreciate theatre art, and rightly feel proud of our theatre, actors and playwrights, who have always made a considerable contribution to national and world culture.
Theatre brought together music, singing, painting and dancing, and became the most popular and multifaceted kind of art, distinguished by its unique ability to constantly develop and renew. Even in the age of the internet, it remains relevant because it is a living organism, which responds to today's most burning issues.
I would like to emphasise the importance of the cause that you serve. I know there are many questions regarding how this is organised and the efforts being taken. I think we will discuss it in an informal setting.
In conclusion, I would like to note that theatre has a vast and immense influence on society and culture as a whole. We can directly say that, on the one hand, it determines the government's great interest in developing and supporting theatre art, and on the other hand, it increases the responsibility of theatre community members for their work.
I am confident that you and your colleagues have taken efforts to prepare for the Year of Theatre. Let us think of how it should be organised, what has to be done to make sure it is not just empty words, but to make it benefit society, the country, and, of course, theatre art.
Let me conclude here, and let us proceed to our work in an informal setting and exchange opinions.