President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, good evening,
The first day of the IV St Petersburg International Cultural Forum timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of UNESCO is coming to its end on the beautiful new stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. Here today we see many prominent representatives of Russia's culture and art, many talented people, talented young people, and foreign star guests. Such concentration of unique talents, inspiration, intellect, selfless devotion and artistry create a special atmosphere, filling it with the light of spirituality, goodness, perfection and creative generosity.
These are the top values that the culture opens up to humanity, and they will without a doubt be the guiding light for the forum's work. It's symbolic that the forum's events are taking place between two major events in Russia's cultural life – we are launching the Year of Russian Cinema and closing the Year of Culture.
It was truly successful. Of course, this is too short a time to fully resolve the problems of increasing the quality in teaching the Russian language, literature, developing our school of literary translation, including from the languages of Russia’s ethnic groups, which is certainly lacking today in our lives, schools and universities. It is impossible to increase young people’s interest in reading, in good book in that short a period.
But we have done a great deal and will certainly continue working in these areas beyond the Year of Literature. As Natalya Solzhenitsyna recently said at the Kremlin, “The Year of Literature in Russia should never really end.” This is absolutely right and this is what we will strive for. The most important thing we saw is that people are interested in and excited about these topics.
The National State Radio and Television Broadcasting Company just completed a unique educational project: nearly 1,500 people of different ages and professions read from Leo Tolstoy’s great novel, War and Peace, in a live broadcast.
And this project, this broadcast, turned out to be staggeringly popular. Meanwhile, this summer, the Books of Russia festival was held on Red Square. Here are some interesting data I will share with you: during the three days of the festival its visitors purchased half a million books, published by three hundred publishing houses from fifty of Russia’s regions.
I do not doubt that the upcoming Year of Russian Cinema will be just as interesting, bright and creative, and will be another step toward consolidating high moral principles and aesthetic tastes in our society. We will remember all the great achievements of our cinematography and attempt to find the best choices for developing the Russian film industry.
I know that the St Petersburg International Cultural Forum will address nearly all topics pertaining to culture, art, literature, cultural heritage and humanities. These issues will have enormous significance for our society and for each of us, for every person. After all, it is known that culture – in the broader sense – creates higher goals and moral ideals and leads people toward the right path in finding the purpose of life.
I want to wish participants in the forum success, fruitful work, and the best of luck. I need to do some more work, but you will have the chance to enjoy a wonderful concert and a great evening. I wish you all the best. Thank you for your attention.