President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends and prize winners.
Let me start by offering my warmest congratulations on Culture Worker’s Day. I congratulate everyone working in this sector, those present here today, and those who will follow our meeting today in media reports.
You and your colleagues work in a broad and diverse range of areas, but culture’s great humanistic force unites you all. Some see work in this area as a mission, and others see it as an undertaking of public benefit. Talented people, devoted to their jobs, work in the arts and literature, in libraries, museums, at our biggest concert venues and at countryside halls.
You give your all to culture, devote your time and energy, and you do so with love for your profession and vocation.
Russian culture has tremendous potential and you make a huge contribution to developing this potential and creating a modern cultural environment in our country, where new creative ideas and inspiration from the spiritual and cultural traditions of Russia’s peoples are equally important.
This is immensely important, including for educating our children, and perhaps above all for cultivating in our children and young people a responsible and demanding attitude to themselves and their environment, the will to develop their talents, a desire for knowledge and an ability to perceive and learn about the world through the arts and aesthetic sense.
Friends, it is our custom to mark Culture Worker’s Day by presenting the prize for young cultural workers and the prize for writing and arts for children and young people.
Vladislav Lavrik has been awarded the prize for his contribution to developing and promoting music. He is deservedly considered Russia’s best brass instrument players and performs solo at the world’s leading venues. Mr Lavrik is artistic director of a renowned brass quintet and has had great success in developing his talents as a composer and teacher too.
Yevgenia Lotsmanova has an inimitable artistic style. She is still young, but has already earned recognition from the top names in Russian book illustration. Her elegant illustrations to various authors’ tales burst with joy, goodness and lightness, even though they are done using the very difficult technique of colour engraving, which can demand great physical strength at times. She has said that each of her illustrations reflects the author’s soul. The readers of the books she has illustrated journey into an uplifting and wonderful world.
Designer, teacher and researcher Yevgenia Cheburashkina’s work also has a very clear social dimension. She directs projects to redesign the interiors of Moscow kindergartens. It really is very important that children can play and learn in a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment, so that they can start cultivating artistic taste and a sense of beauty right from this early age.
Artistic Director of the Russian Academic Youth Theatre Alexei Borodin has been awarded the Presidential Prize for writing and art for children and young people. He has been at the lead of one of the audiences’ best-loved theatres for more than 30 years now. The theatre does not seek sensation or scandals, but it is open to new ideas and bold experiments, including in performances for children. Mr Borodin places particular emphasis on this area. Shows put on as part of the Young Directors for Children project have been real hits at the theatre. Like the theatre’s other brilliant performances, they embody Mr Borodin’s credo: good will always vanquish evil. Mr Borodin firmly believes in this and has proven it throughout his many years of creative work.
Films by St Petersburg animated film studio Melnitsa are immensely popular. This studio was established in the mid-1990s on the initiative of Sergei Selyanov and Alexander Boyarsky. It is well-known today for its successful projects that have won the indisputable love of children and adults alike. Films by Konstantin Bronzit hold a particular place on this list. These Russian films have won popularity and love here at home, and have also been distinguished with the highest awards at prestigious international festivals.
I want to name another of the prize winners today, Yury Entin. His name represents a whole era in our culture. His poems have been set to music to create songs full of this wonderful author’s talent, purity, optimism, humour and generous spirit. They have long since become classics. People love them, sing them and quote them. Mr Entin really is deservedly a national poet. He has also written screenplays for popular animated films, including the very well-known Musicians of Bremen.
Friends, our laureates today meet in full the lofty demands society places on people working in culture, literature and the arts.
You all have great talent, skill in your creative search, and have achieved outstanding results, but what is very important is that you all understand the significance of your work for Russia, for all of us, for our people. You realise what a great role you play in shaping moral values and guidelines in society. This comes through in your creations, your success and your work.
Let me congratulate you sincerely and from all my heart once more, and wish you new creative successes.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: I usually say a few concluding words at the end of ceremonies such as this, but I hardly know what to say today after the brief but vivid speeches we just heard.
Words about the soul came up repeatedly, the soul that seeks out the creative path and gives birth to beauty. Let me say that the soul of each one of us, each person, needs your work. Your souls want this kind of creativity, and so do the souls of all of us.
One of the laureates spoke before about work that is not so easily noticed. Someone playing a trumpet gets a lot more noticed for their creativity than an animation artist, probably. I play hockey sometimes with Igor Butman, and when he brings his saxophone along, he plays it too for us at our sports events.
Maybe this is not such noticeable work in your eyes, but it is very much so in ours. What we heard earlier is very true: generations of children grow up on animated films, for example, and not only animated films, but also engravings, illustrations. We all pick up books, after all, and, let’s admit it, we know that it is the content that counts, but still, we first look for the pictures. The pictures have their content too, and they also reflect the author’s soul, the part of it that he shares with the viewers and listeners.
Those closest to us, including our parents, will always take a critical approach with us, because they love us. Let me say that we love you too, and although I am used to these kinds of ceremonies, pleasant but regular events, today’s ceremony was something special. You give off a positive aura.
Thank you very much for your work and creation.