The participants discussed drafting and implementing the Culture national programme for the period up to 2024.
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Opening remarks at the meeting of the Council for Culture and Art
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
Our meeting today is dedicated to the Culture national programme.
The task of drafting such a programme was set forth in the May 2018 Executive Order, which, as you are aware, outlines the key priorities for the country’s development. Culture is undoubtedly among these priorities as a basis of public life and our identity. Let me add that global competition in creating best conditions for self-fulfilment and revealing the potential of each individual is growing, and the world’s leading powers including Russia, rightly see it as a key to the future. Of course, a significant role here will belong to establishing a vibrant, rich cultural space, which will be interesting and attractive not only for the citizens of our country but also for the whole world.
Overall, the draft national programme has already been finished but I think it is crucial that we discuss it at the Council but also give this discussion a broader outreach to include the entire professional community.
I would like to lay a special emphasis on setting up large culture clusters in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. They will bring together branches of our leading art organisations at a single venue, contribute to enhancing the participation of the regions’ residents and Russia’s guests, tourists, in the cultural life of the country and the world.
The cities to have the first clusters have already been identified: Vladivostok, Kemerovo, Kaliningrad and Sevastopol. In addition, art academies, museums and theatres to be showcased there have been selected. We must not delay the launch of these important projects and use the best domestic and international experience in doing it. For example, the successful experience of the State Hermitage Museum must be used as it has been implementing the programme of increasing its presence in the Russian regions for many years.
I ask local authorities to join in the work, create the necessary conditions for a public and expert discussion, which will allow for determining the content of the cluster programmes. It is also vitally important to address such current issues as regulating the operation of the new facilities, their funding, maintenance and staffing.
Setting up branches of federal museums, theatres and universities does not remove the task of supporting and developing similar facilities at the local and regional level. They should by no means feel like “poor cousins”, and closing them down is absolutely unacceptable. I would like to draw special attention to that.
On the whole, the Culture national programme must acquire a powerful regional dimension, boost the quality and diversity of cultural life in small towns and rural areas across the country. It is no accident that the programme has a special focus on establishing culture and leisure facilities of a club type in the regions, supporting volunteer efforts in the preservation of the historical, cultural and intangible heritage of Russia’s peoples, expanding the network of regional, and, which is key, municipal libraries.
We see the emergence of an increasing number of interesting, substantive authors. The demand for books and, respectively, the number of printed copies keep growing. Yet at the same time so do prices, especially on children’s literature. In this respect, libraries acquire a special significance, where one can loan a book easily and, the main thing, free of charge. Supplying libraries with books in a well-timed and regular way, including new editions, is one of the objectives of the Culture national programme.
Supporting talented young people is equally important. We are actively engaged in this area. I know that many of those present here are also involved in this work, giving their personal time without seeking to gain anything from it for themselves. I would like to thank you for this work. But the tempo must not slow down. This applies to cultural figures and to different bureaucratic agencies of various levels. This work must go on.
Our task is to provide gifted beginner musicians, actors, artists and museum specialists with every opportunity for successful professional growth and self-fulfilment, and preferably in their home country, of course. To teach them, help with internships and practical experience, even give a personal grant is not bad, it is good but it is not enough, it is too little. Young people must be sure that each of them has a vacancy waiting for them, as well as a worthy wage and housing.
I would like all the agencies concerned to keep it in their focus.