Media Review

6 april, 2012 14:49

Rossiyskaya Gazeta: "Thinking about the museum industry's future"

Vladimir Putin meets with museum directors in Saratov

Vladimir Putin meets with museum directors in Saratov.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin laid the foundation for the museum industry's destiny in Saratov last night. He stated that budget funding will increase almost four times, but museums need a concept and an ideology, as well as sponsors.

He noted that the meeting was initiated by Yasnaya Polyana Museum head Vladimir Tolstoy, who submitted the request in late February.

"We meet regularly, but this is the first time that we are getting together in such a group," Putin said. "It is symbolic that we are meeting in Russia's first museum. Frankly, I didn't realise that this museum is in Saratov."

Putin and Tolstoy met at a roundtable in the Radishchev Art Museum, which was founded in 1885.

"The public's interest in museums has been on the rise in Russia in the past few years," Putin said, backing up his words with statistics. "There were 81 million museum visitors in 2010, up from 75.6 million in 2005. To compare, only 30 million people went to theatres in 2010." He concluded that "regular museum visits are a sign of good manners and in vogue" and praised museums for this positive trend.

Nearly all of Russia's museums have special educational programmes, regularly hold interesting events and conduct in-depth research.

"This is very important, especially in the regions and in small towns where museums are a social highlight," Putin said.

There are 2,578 museums in Russia. All together, their collections comprise nearly 83 million items.

"But despite this wealth and all of the achievements of our museum professionals, the situation in this sector is far from ideal," Putin said.

Russian museums have 8,977 buildings at their disposal. But only one-fifth of them are up to the standards required for museum storage and exhibitions. No more than 10% are the lucky owners of separate premises for their holdings. Needless to say about depositories in this respect. More than 40% of museum buildings are in a state of disrepair.

Half of all museum pieces do not undergo timely conservation. More than 15% of them require full-scale restoration, but only 10% of museums have the right experts to repair them.

Putin also promised museum workers financial assistance. This year, museums funding will almost quadruple to over 67 billion roubles. The procramme will function until 2018. The bulk of these funds will be invested in the construction and renovation of museums and their storage facilities.

Putin stressed the need for a clear, forward-minded strategy and asked the Ministry of Culture and its colleagues to draft an action plan.

"We won't resolve all of the problems facing the industry with budget injections alone," he said with good reason, suggesting a public-private partnership.

After a brief speech, Putin had a conversation with the museum directors.



As of this year, museum funding will exceed 67 billion roubles

Kira Latukhina