President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Let’s start with the museum developments.
Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky: Mr President, I would like to brief you on how the museum sector has been developing over the past few years. This can be explained by many reasons, including the great public interest in the development of museums and an increase in all the key indicators of the national museums. I would like to dwell on this in greater detail.
As you know, museums have been becoming more and more popular and accessible since they ceased to house artefacts and art items for aristocrats and the nobility. They have three main functions, including preservation, research and popularisation. The situation concerning preservation and the studies has always been very good here, and I will later talk about this in greater detail.
We give priory to the task of popularisation and education, a new functional aspect of the museum sector. And the work of our wonderful museum specialists has yielded certain results.
According to statistics, over 150 million people have visited Russian museums over a period of the past six years, and ticket sales have soared almost two-fold. With federal museums, the increase is even greater.
At the same time, we have considerably increased budget support for our federal museums, including wages, creating and opening new exhibitions. Barring repairs, renovation and restoration, federal museums have received 70 percent more budget investment over these years. This serves to increase the museums’ own extra-budgetary revenues. They have learned how to bring in considerable funding, and their revenues have soared 2.5-fold over the years.
Vladimir Putin: This is quite impressive.
Vladimir Medinsky: It is very important that the museums have virtually become a factor of the Russian territories’ socio-economic development. Museums in some cities are the main generator of jobs, including Solovki, for example.
Vladimir Putin: But much remains to be accomplished there.
Vladimir Medinsky: Much has to be accomplished there, and I would say that we are at the teething stage. If we estimate the contribution of our large and medium-sized museumsto territorial development, we will see thatit is absolutely huge. This includes the influx of tourists, tax and the creation of jobs.In effect, they serve as a community centre because they don’t only put on exhibitions.
As per your executive orders, we have increased the number of exhibitions held around our huge country by 60 percent. At the same time, we have abandoned the policy of so-called fake exhibitions. How was it done before? Trying to comply with the approved number of events, museums were holding “one item” exhibitions, for example, just one painting displayed in one hall. The current target is not the number of exhibitions, because numbers are of secondary importance, but how many tickets are sold for the exhibitions and the number of people who visit them. This is the real gauge of our work.
Overall, there are about 3,000 state museums and over 700 private museums in the country. As many as 170 museums have opened over the past six years, including many private – and large – museums.
Museums are increasing their research work. We used to have state catalogues. However, in 1996 it was decided that we should review, recount and register museum items in a state e-catalogue. But nothing was done towards this end. We started doing this only in 2015, and in the four years since then our museums have made an inventory and categorised 16 million entries.
We are sure that this job will be completed within a period of five years and that all our treasures, which our forefathers and the preceding generations accumulated, will be systematised and reattributed.
Regarding the new museums, some of which you have already visited, I have underlined them in red. You have recently visited the Malakhov Kurgan memorial complex in Sevastopol and the Turgenev House Museum. Work is ongoing in Chersonesus.
I highlighted the most interesting museums that will open soon in yellow, for example, the Vladivostok Fortress. We invite you to go and see its first exposition during the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. It is the first federal museum to open beyond the Urals. And we are already thinking about expanding it. We may globalise the idea, turning the Vladivostok Fortress museum into a Russian Far East History and Development Museum. There are the necessary prerequisites for this. We will submit our proposals regarding this to you.
We plan on opening a branch of the Roerich Family Museum and a branch of the Hermitage in Omsk, as well as many other museums. But the most ambitious job is to open large museum exhibition venues in Vladivostok, Kuzbass, Sevastopol and Kaliningrad by 2023.