Photo: RIA Novosti

Russia’s authorities are determined to reconsider their policy in the field of culture in the formation of which both the society and the patrons of the arts should get involved more actively, and to give up the idea of financing culture according to the left-over principle, President Putin said at the session of the Council for Culture and the Arts in the Kremlin on October 2nd .

The preparations for the Year of Culture – by the presidential decree 2014 has been declared the Year of Culture in Russia – featured prominently at the meeting in the Kremlin with the participation of representatives of government bodies and influential workers in the culture and the arts.

In his programme speeches which President Putin delivered recently, including his last year’s Message to the Federal Assembly or his speech at the latest Valdai Forum that triggered numerous comments, Russia’s President paid paramount attention to the sorrowful situation this country’s culture and spirituality have found themselves in. Among the priorities Putin mentioned the preservation of Russia’s cultural and national identity and its unique historical code. Putin stressed that culture is a mixture of moral and ethical values national stability is based on.

“Cultural roots should be preserved by all means because it took centuries to form them – the process in which representatives of various nationalities and religions took part. And the government did its utmost to preserve them. Therefore, we continue to insist that it is necessary to implement a well-thought policy in the field of culture and to work out clear-cut principles that would ensure culture the role of a determining factor in Russia’s development citizens. The Director of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg Mikhail Piotrovsky has called for showing greater interest in the preservation of Russia’s cultural integrity”.

“What is Russia? It is a place where there both temples and museums. A union of museums was set up in Russia specially for this purpose. What else is needed here? Culture spending and of course, government’s attention, which is non-existent so far. All parts of Russia should get actively involved in cultural life more actively”.

The discussion of the Russian head of state with the leading workers in the culture and the arts has shown once again that the Kremlin leadership is paying far more attention to the policy in the field of culture than it might seem at first sight. As you know, if it comes to Russia’s unity and the preservation of its uniqueness, the issues of cultural environment can’t be pushed into the background. All participants of the meeting in the Kremlin without exception said they were thinking the same way. Of course, the news items involving economy, which is seriously ill now, will come first in the world and Russian rankings. And judging by the facts, this will continue for a long time. And one more thing here. What comes first – the existence or consciousness and the material or the spiritual – as it appears, the time has not come yet to end this debate.

And as regards concrete proposals that were made at the session, their spectrum was sufficiently wide, including the establishment of a single national centre of cinema art, the promotion of classical literature on the Russian television, and the introduction of free-of-charge visits to museums during the Year of Culture for all wishers.