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Putin warns of fast food-type culture risks

September 25, 2012, 18:43 UTC+3

He said the approach to culture in Russia was still an industrial one

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MOSCOW, September 24 (Itar-Tass) —— The loss of the cultural image and identity and the moral backbone weakens and ruins the nation, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the Council for Culture and the Arts.

He said the approach to culture in Russia was still an industrial one.

“We often forget that culture is an integral part of all aspects of our life and that it cannot exist on its own, by itself, separately from the people,” Putin said. “The individual is formed in a cultural environment, or in a cultureless one.”

“It is the quality of culture that determines what sort of people we become, what sort of people our children grow to be, and what the collective portrait of our society looks like,” Putin said.

The president believes that throughout the history of the Russian state culture kept educating and enriching. It served as a source of spiritual experience of the nation, and as a basis for the consolidation of our multi-ethnic people.

“The domestic culture has largely contributed to our authority and Russia’s influence in the world. Objectively it helped Russia become a great power,” he believes. “We must effectively use this humanitarian resource and increase international interest in our history, traditions, language and cultural values.”

“We deservedly take pride in Russian culture, its traditions and historical achievements. But culture is a living mechanism. It needs an influx of new forces, creative competition,” Putin said. “And, of course, the national culture cannot be self-isolated. It should constantly absorb the new phenomena, new trends and innovations.”

“However, alongside the obvious achievements in the development of culture we quite often come across cultural poverty, various sorts of fakes and cultural fast food, which weaken society. Some very serious risks are hidden here,” Putin said.

In his opinion, the loss of one’s own “cultural face,” the national culture code makes society weaker. “A society where the cultural tradition is diluted is easy to manipulate. It loses immunity against all sorts of extremist, destructive, aggressive ideas,” Putin said. He expressed regret “discussions over this problem are often centered around our favorite national question who is to blame.”

Putin called for focusing efforts on what is to be done and to begin with education. He recalled that these days many cultural workers are worried about the shrinkage of the humanitarian component in the modern system of education. Putin shares this concern. In his opinion, schools, pre-school establishments, and universities are to cultivate personalities, to think critically, to think independently, to draw a clear border line between the good and evil, and not just present information.

“I am certain that the most important task of education is to form internal culture and taste, the individual’s moral benchmarks and outlook,” Putin said.

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