The participants discussed the implementation of the Executive Order On Approving the Basis of State Cultural Policy, including the improvement of the state cultural policy, closer cooperation with cultural associations and organisations and representatives of performers, as well as legal regulation of cultural activities.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I would like to begin by saying that the meetings of this council are usually held in December, which is a good tradition and an opportunity to wish you a happy New Year.
We completed work on the Basis of State Cultural Policy three years ago. Much has been done in this sphere since then. In particular, we have completed a number of major cultural projects, and the system of state support for creative activities has become more flexible.
At the same time, certain problems rooted in our attitude to cultural development have come to light. It is vitally important to resolve these problems.
Cultural issues are not only multifaceted and complicated. They are also critical for all aspects of our life, including the economy, education, technological development and sovereignty. This sounds like a platitude, but I have to say this. Here is one thing: culture concerns our world outlook and is primarily a multipurpose instrument for the preservation and maintenance of traditional moral, spiritual and aesthetic values. It is also the basis of a harmonious and free society capable of maintaining its integrity while remaining open and appreciative of global development trends of our civilisation.
As you know, a month ago St Petersburg hosted a conference on supporting talented youth in the arts. Just as at other meetings with masters of the arts, those attending the meeting in St Petersburg pointed out that the current attitude to culture as a social sector that provides certain services must change. I would like to say that renouncing this narrow approach to culture is also stipulated in the Basis of State Cultural Policy.
It is now necessary to transfer this principle into legislation and managerial approaches and seriously upgrade the state’s humanitarian policy, where culture plays a key role.
In this context, it has been proposed that we develop a new law on culture. I suggest we talk about its content today. I would like to note at once that the draft law should undergo broad public discussion. This law should clearly reflect the needs of the culture sphere, its comprehensive nature and importance – as both a mission and a public good.
We realise and perceive this fairly well. I have the following proposal in this context: I believe it would be best if members of the council together with their colleagues and representatives of relevant departments draft a new law on culture themselves and establish a working group for this purpose.
Your involvement in drafting the law guarantees that it will be efficient and will work. I do realise that you are engaged in your own creative work. Each of you has a busy schedule and many plans. But what we are discussing today is of major importance for organising work in Russia in the area to which you have dedicated your lives.
There is still another area that in your own opinion requires additional adjustment. I am referring to the training of personnel for culture because the general standards established for the system of education do not take into account art schools’ specific requirements. I agree that this issue should by all means be resolved without upsetting the structure of the entire educational system. We talked about this in St Petersburg as well.
I suggest elaborating – with your participation – special norms for financing education in creative professions in the interdepartmental commission of the Culture Ministry and the Science and Education Ministry. Art schools should have an opportunity to shift to these norms via a lawful, understandable and transparent mechanism. Let me add thatsome of your initiatives made in St Petersburg have already been implemented or are being carried out.
First, it has already been decided that we will allocate, starting from 2018, one billion roubles each year to identify and support young talents.
Secondly, a decision has been approved on the Theatre for Children programme. We discussed this in St Petersburg. Next year and thereafter, its funding will increase more than threefold to 700 million roubles.
Of course, the new draft law we are discussing should maximally preserve and develop the existing successful forms of state support for culture, such as grants to pay salaries to members of leading creative teams. In 2018, their amount will increase by 2.3 billion roubles to over eight billion.
In addition, it is important to ensure the possibility of assisting creative non-profit organisations, including through the Foundation for Presidential Grants for the Development of Civil Society.
The work on the new culture draft law will, of course, take some time. Therefore, I am asking you to solve, at your earliest opportunity, the most painful and sensitive issue affecting creative teams and individuals. I am referring to amending the law on the contractual system. We have repeatedly discussed this.
Obviously, it does not always take into account the peculiarities of the cultural sphere and occasionally puts people employed there in an ambiguous position. All parties, both representatives of the cultural community and the state, have a stake in correcting it and in setting clear, logical and transparent financial rules for creative organisations.
In conclusion, I would like to mention one more point: Daniil Granin, a writer, thinker and a true hero, would have turned 100 years old in 2019. He once said these precious words: “Culture cannot be managed”, it “should be understood” and “borne within oneself.”
An Executive Order has been signed on celebrating Daniil Granin’s anniversary in 2019 and on perpetuating his memory. I believe it very important that this become a real event rallying our society. Our great compatriot’s heritage should serve for the benefit of Russian culture.
Thank you for your attention. Let us start our work.
Vladimir Putin: To conclude, I would like to thank you for today’s work and in general for your efforts, your creativity and your contribution.
It is thanks to you and others working across the country that our culture is advancing, despite all the challenges and problems we face. There are many people working in this area across the country. Some are well known within their regions, others are not.
Working in their specific positions, they all dedicate their efforts to the essential task of preserving our cultural code that is central to the Russian state and statehood.
Thank you very much and I wish you all a happy New Year. All the best!