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Three days of culture: participants summarized the 3rd International Cultural Forum


Today the 3rd International Cultural Forum drew to a close. More than 6 thousand people representing all types of art flocked in to St. Petersburg for 3 day. They discussed different aspects of their work at dozens of venues in the city, agreed to film movies, estimated the economic benefits of culture, presented new ideas and projects.


The final meeting took place today at the new stage of the Mariinskiy Theatre. Not only did it summarize the 3-day summit, but also the entire Cultural year. Alexander Odintsov with more.

It took more than 2 hours to summarize the Cultural Forum. Heads of sections – there were 16 of them – were put in strict time limits, but those were violated.

That’s because the Forum’s schedule has been very tight. This time it set multiple records. Its venues have been visited by almost 7 thousand people. Culture was politics-free. For instance, especially for this Forum the British Museum – for the first time in history – dispatched sculptures from the Parthenon to the Hermitage for an entire month, while development of circus art was being discussed by specialists from Kiev.

Right at the beginning of the meeting, the city’s head noted how the Cultural Summit was catching up with the Economic Forum in terms of its significance. And despite the speakers were opting to leave the money out of it, economy still managed to crawl through. For instance, the chairman of directors’ board at the “Lenfilm” Fyodor Bondarchuk suggested that moviemakers should film their stuff domestically and lower taxes for animation makers.

Fyodor Bondarchuk, movie director: “We’re asking the Culture Ministry to support Russian animated movies – for the the country’s animation to develop. And also to create an institution of leaders, which produce domestic animation, as well as to relax taxation on animation-producing companies”

Almost every member of the cultural elite talked about professional cultural education. Choreographer Boris Eyfman insisted on necessity of putting cultural shows into TV broadcasts. The specialized channel is not watched by many, and it is often inaccessible. As an experiment, Eyfman suggested showing the movie version of the “Roden” ballet at prime time on federal channels. He presented it during the 3rd Cultural Forum

Boris Eyfman, choreographer, artistic director of St. Petersburg’s academic ballet theatre: “High art has no access to these stations. Its wrong. I suspect that the first showings will not be very popular, people will be stunned by the idea itself”

Another problem is that there are only two properly formed cultural centers in Russia – St. Petersburg and Moscow. That’s despite the cultural sphere being an obvious source of income for the state budget. Yes, it involves spending at first. But the end product will pay for itself quickly through tourists and those who value art. 

Vladimir Medinskiy, Russia’s Minister of Culture: ”There are serious global methods of estimating the benefits from cultural venues for regional development. If we will roughly estimate the role of culture in the country’s GDP, im afraid that some industries will see us as serious competitors”

Culture must make a huge step towards interactivity. For instance – increasing the number of “don’t touch” kind of exhibits. One like that appeared recently – about the Rurikovichi dynasty, as a continuation of a museum project about the Romanovs. The exhibition was observed by tens of millions of Russians.

Georgiy Poltavchenko, governor of St. Petersburg: “We must consume more valuable things like culture. An enlightened man works with a thought, and – as a result – creates. I think this has been the task of our Forum – and we have fulfilled it”.

The Forum set and solved many tasks. The most sizeable ones – several agreements on cultural cooperation signed with Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, as well as a joint film project with Kazakhstan was set up. A major exhibition in China to mark 70 years since the end of the Great Patriotic War is now planned. And a multi-functional museum center will appear in the Leningrad region. To conclude the meeting, the speakers said that the Forum was not over, but just took a break for a year.

Alexander Odintsov, reporter: “The 2014 Cultural Forum summarized the entire Year of Culture. And passed it on to the Year of Literature. According to Culture Minister Vladimir Medinskiy, this summit is like a “cultural Davos”, but deprived of economic and political intrigues. This Forum was only halfway through, but people were already talking about the next one. Next year it will be dedicated to the 70th anniversary of UNESCO and 25th anniversary of inclusion of three Russian buildings on its global heritage list – Moscow’s Kremlin, the Kizhi and the center of the Northern Capital”