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Russian culture minister pledges to support talented rather than elite artists

February 10, 2014, 17:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"At all times, artists have received support from various sources, not necessarily from the state," the Russian minister of culture said

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Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky

Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky

MOSCOW, February 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky has pledged to give more support to talented and socially-significant art.

Medinsky told Itar-Tass on Monday that the Russian Culture Ministry intended to change its criteria and priorities in culture and would now give its backing to talented and socially-significant art rather than elite and modern artists.

The minister said he was convinced that “the state could not confine its role in culture exclusively to managerial functions and be guided by uniform and impersonal criteria”. He added that uniformity and impersonality were unacceptable in culture, which repulses such an approach.

Medinsky noted that the role of “father state” in culture was complementary but disputable because of its role in the past. According to him, the state should play the role of an organizer authorized by society.

“An artist creates pieces that inspire him to future work while the state should support those forms of art which, it believes, meet national interests. It would be absurd for the state to build its support according to a “give money and come away” principle,” Medinsky emphasized.

“It does not cross anyone's mind to approach businessmen with such proposals except for the Culture Ministry which used to behave this way in the past. I am not talking about any restrictions of creative activities. At all times, artists have received support from various sources, not necessarily from the state,” the Russian minister of culture went on saying.

Medinsky, however, believes that state-funded projects should be discussed by experts and public councils; in the media and at forums. “It is in the interests of the Culture Ministry to protect art from biased approaches and give up any authoritarian interference in a creative process,” he emphasized.

The minister noted that non-interference in artists’ work would be the underlying principle of his Ministry’s work. “Our principle is not to interfere in the process but try to agree on principles of interaction,” the minister said, adding that was the reason why the Culture Ministry did not try to influence the repertoire policy of Russian theatres.

“Our task is to analyze and define how efficient a cultural institution is and create maximum favorable work conditions within the existing powers,” Medinsky said.

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