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Duma speaker calls for broad public discussion of new culture law

June 14, 2012, 20:03 UTC+3

He noted that “society evolves all the time, and a new generation has grown over the past 20 years”

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MOSCOW, June 14 (Itar-Tass) —— State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said a new culture law needs a responsible and thoughtful approach and should be adopted only after a broad public discussion.

“The draft law [on culture] is quite crucial and there are still questions to be answered. I think the work on the law that affects the interests of all people in the country should be conducted very thoughtfully and its adoption must be preceded by the official procedure of broad public discussion, similar to the one the education law went through,” Naryshkin said in an interview with the Kultura newspaper to be published on Friday, June 15.

Naryshkin disagreed that there has been a delay in the work on the culture law. “I see no unusual delay there,” he said, noting that the document requires a serious attitude.

The speaker believes that the current state of culture in Russia “has yet to be evaluated properly” during the work on the draft law, taking into account a “whole bunch of factors”.

He assessed the situation with “cautious optimism”. “There are reasons to be proud and to worry at the same time. It’s not only the amount of funding allocated for the development of culture, as practically everyone says. It is true, that when comparing per capita expenditures in this field in Russia and some European countries, one can see a fundamental difference. But let me say again, money alone cannot solve all problems,” he said.

“Culture is the mirror of one’s mind and soul. And we must treat it not just as a set of different genres and trends of art, but as a fundamental value without which the life of any people and each of us would be impossible,” Naryshkin said.

He noted that “society evolves all the time, and a new generation has grown over the past 20 years”. “Yes, they are heirs to the great Russian culture, but they have formed in a different and new era. And as someone said quite rightfully: one cannot inherit culture, one must fight for it,” the speaker said, adding that this can also be done when debating a new culture law.

In his opinion, there are “many opportunities” for the State Duma’s interaction with the Ministry of Culture and its new head, Vladimir Medinsky, whom Naryshkin “respects profoundly”.

“All available formats [of interaction] will be used,” he said.

Naryshkin is convinced that the parliament’s efforts “will be supported by coordinated work with the new leadership of the Ministry of Culture”.

“Vladimir Medinsky is a self-motivated and competent person… from a new generation of politicians, which should be helpful during the discussion and modernisation of cultural policy,” he said.



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