Results of the panel session "Regional Culture - the Growth Points" within the I International Cultural Forum "Baikal-Totem"

The session was organized by the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum and the Ministry for Culture of Russian Federation. It continues the series of exterior events within the annual business programme of the Forum. This programme is a platform for an exchange of the best practices in the area of Russian cultural projects: the regional ones, which are already successful on a state level, and the federal ones, which are expanding their activity in the regions. 

Among the participants of the panel discussion within the International Cultural Forum "Baikal-Totem" are the heads of the leading Russian cultural institutions and the representatives of the Ministry of Culture.

- Oleg Ivanov, the Head of the Project Office of the Ministry for Culture; 

- Elena Sabinina, the Communications Director of the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre;

- Andrey Borisov, the chief executive of the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre; 

- Olga Homova, the Director of the St. Petersburg Chapel; 

- Denis Rubin, the programming director of the Museum of the modern art "Erarta";

- Maria Bukova, the Head of the Krasnoyarsk Museum Centre "The World Square";  

- Rimma Rappoport, the co-author of the guidance “100 Projects in Support of Reading”. 


The speakers discussed the most representative cultural projects that now are being realized in the Russian regions and shared the results of their work, practical experience and creative plans. Strategic approach, willingness for communicating with the general public, open attitude towards the application of new technologies, innovations and creativity – all these features characterize the projects presented by the participants of the discussion. According to all accounts, these factors help the projects to become the centres of cultural life of high demand.

Oleg Ivanov, the Head of the Project Office of the Ministry for Culture of Russia, gave a report “New Model of State Cultural Policy: the Regional Level”. He told about the extensive work in progress in the Russian regions. The infrastructure is expanding, the new multifunctional cultural centres are being built – from 2013 to 2016 more than 1, 9 billion rubles were appropriated for these goals, and 37 cultural objects in different cities of Russia were built. The innovative cultural complexes with modern architecture and first-rate technical equipment are being built – such as the centres in Pervouralsk opened up in 2015 and those in Kaluga, opened in 2016. The complex centre on the Russky Island is to be launched in 2017-2018.

For the first time in 30 years the active programme of cinema building has started: 2,155 billion of rubles are already appropriated for this goal. The programme includes building of 437 cinemas, 223 of them are already in business and 214 more are going to open up in 2017.

The Programme of the Ministry for Culture of Russia on building and capital repair of the village community centres is being realized along with the federal special-purpose programme “Sustainable Development of Rural Territories”. In 2017 more than 1,5 billion of rubles are to be appropriated within this programme. The regions will be able to reconstruct 78 village community centres including those that need the capital repair, and build 40 new ones which, as Oleg Ivanov told, will become the modern and actual centres of cultural public life providing all the possibilities for creativeness and collective cultural leisure activity.

The problem of cultural leisure activity in the settlements with population less than 50 thousand people, is important, without a doubt. However, the large cultural venues in the regions often demand the capital reconstruction and reconception. Concerning this direction of work, the building and reconstruction of many important places of interest is needed, such as the Nizhny Tagil Drama Theatre, the Khakas local history museum, the Kazan tower of Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Vologda region, the Omsk Museum of History “Ascension Cathedral” and a number of cathedrals and other objects of cultural heritage.

The Ministry for Culture`s support of regional, municipal and children theatres is also very important. The subventions for regional performances achieve 120 million rubles every year, and 149 theatres in 56 Russian regions will get 670 million rubles for their creative work in 2017.

These are only a few of the directions of work, which the Head of RosCultProject managed to cover in his speech. There are also many other projects including the innovative ones, with the active use of hi-tech decisions, - “Big Tour”, “Philharmonic Seasons”, the programme “Virtual Concert Hall”, the National Digital Library, the Internet-portal “”. All these projects are being realized so the residents of the great country could get the direct access to the resourses of the great culture, - told Oleg Ivanov.

Innovative approach to creating a cultural offering is needed so the cultural institution, like a museum, could be not only a storage of cultural artifacts, but also an effective popularizer of culture and a centre of attraction for citizens. In the report “The Museum of Present: How, Why, for Whom” Maria Bukova, the director of the Krasnoyarsk Museum Centre, touched upon this subject.

            Maria Bukova: “Krasnoyarsk is a city of museums, there is the largest number of museums per person. Reorientation of the 13th subsidiary of the Lenin Central Museum into the Krasnoyarsk Museum Centre in 1991 has given us the new perspectives. It was a powerful spurt towards the complicated culture, towards the European level of event organization. We chose to develop our Museum in the area of modern art and modern cultural practical cases, and our chose, as the time has proved, turned out to be correct: we made our museum not only a storage, but a place of planning and prognostication of cultural values. We are creating topical projects that are in high demand of the audience: in 1995 we made the first Krasnoyarsk Museum biennale, in 2002 we invented the Night of Museum. For our biggest projects, we were rewarded with the prestigious prizes – the Prize of Europe Council, the prize “Innovation”. I believe that if we want to stay successful and demanded, we should stay in constant communication with our audience. Museum is a place where the opinions should be declared, not imposed.

            Denis Rubin, the Programme Director of the Museum of modern art “Erarta” (St. Petersburg) agrees with that the dialogue is the most effective way to the audience. “The modern art museum has to be a multiformat and cross-cultural stage. The things hanging on the walls are only a part of a big process. Modern art, in view of its subjectivity, nonobviousness, unproveness by time, is a reason for constant argumentation, and we should apply more forces to educate our audience, to explain the exposition. That is why the success of modern art projects, as I see it, lies in the delicate tuning, while planning the programmes, in synthesis of arts and in balancing between the exclusive and mass culture”.

It is notable, that the most academical cultural institutions, such as the P.I. Tchaikovsky Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre or the State Chapel of St. Petersburg are initiating the active conversation with the audience.

Such ‘conversational’ project became the Laboratory of a modern viewer about which the Executive Chief of the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre Andrey Borisov told in his report “Passion for Opera: the Development Strategy of the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre”. He also touched upon a very interesting topic – the promotion of a cultural object. “We staked on hiring the highly professional musicians for our orchestras, ballet troupe and choral collectives”, - he noted. “We record music with them and it is being sold all over the world. For this purpose we are developing the cooperation with the famous sound-recording companies – Alpha (France) and Sony Classical. It is possible to buy our CD in almost every musical store – what advertisement could have possibly worked better? Besides, the international projects also work for our promotion: for instance, we organize the International Dyagilev Festival and take part in the Salzburg Festival in Austria.

Olga Homova, the director of the State Chapel of St. Petersburg, shared her experience of developing a multicultural complex based on an academical culture institution. “Today the Chapel is combining almost all the kinds of art”.

Elena Sabining, the Communications director of the Primorsky stage of the Mariinsky Theatre, told about the challenges and perspectives of the federal theatre in the Far East Federal District. Among the most important plans for the moment – the educational programmes of the Primorsky stage and the International Far-Eastern festival “Mariinsky” which will take place from 15th July to 13th August 2017. Within the festival commemorating the 135th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky and 85th anniversary of Rodion Schedrin, 40 concerts and performances on 7 stages of the Far East in Vladivostok, Ussuriysk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and abroad – in China, South Korea and Japan will take place.

Without a doubt, one of the most topical questions for the moment - how to engage the younger generation to the cultural context and how to transfer the intangible heritage to them. In this case the role of reading can`t be overvalued. Many educators ask themselves how to grow the interest in books among the children in the epoche of gadgets and easy-accessible Internet content which does not always correspond the criteria of quality. Rimma Rappoport, the co-author of the guidance "100 Projects in Support of Reading", will tell the audience about the best regional examples of dealing with challenges of childhood reading.

            The support of reading among children and teenagers is the priority of the state educational policy. The reading projects is an instrument of image creation of a cultural region and of the national culture as a whole, of the culture of reading and the culture of the copyright. However these projects will be successful only when they will be created not in the way of “reading for children”, but in the way of “reading with them”, noted Rimma Rappoport.