Promoted by the West Russia’s “cancel culture” policy is racist and neocolonial in nature, Vladimir Putin said November 17 at the St. Petersburg International Forum of United Cultures. He emphasized that One of the main reasons for today’s tension in the world is the claims of certain forces to their cultural exclusivity. This is the tragedy of modern Europe, which has become dependent on the United States and does not allow it to protect the interests of its citizens, the president believes. Nevertheless, Russia is committed to interacting with all countries that share its values. Can the Russian Federation use its experience in restoring Palmyra in the Middle East and should we expect analogues of the “Pushkin Map” – in the material of Izvestia.
Causes of tension in the world
The second day of the Forum of United Cultures, previously known as the International Cultural Forum, has ended in St. Petersburg. Prominent representatives of the art sphere gathered among hundreds of guests on the site of the Hermitage main headquarters on November 17. Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the forum events. He addressed the crowd.
The main topic of the head of state’s speech at the plenary session was attempts to “cancel Russia” from abroad: removal of theatrical productions from the repertoire, demolition of monuments and even restrictions on the use of the Russian language. However, Putin immediately stated: “Despite all the bans and sanctions, art still knows no boundaries – it has always been so, so it is.”.
— The policy of “abolition of Russia” in itself, in essence, is anti-cultural, neo-colonial, and racist. The truth is that with this notorious “cancellation”, as well as with the anti-Russian so-called sanctions, the authors of these ideas, as they say, did not work out from the very beginning,” the head of state emphasized.
He cited as an example the huge interest in the international competition named after P.I. Tchaikovsky, whose online audience exceeded 50 million people, half of which were residents of Europe. The same applies to the Russian language, which has been and remains the language of interethnic communication for hundreds of millions of people around the world.
— There are many adequate, intelligent and educated people who understand perfectly well that Russian culture is an integral part of the world. German, Polish, French – any one will suffer from the fact that it will not interact with the Russian. Just like ours, if Shakespeare, Goethe or Flaubert are removed from our cultural life, we will also suffer from it. But the problem is that the leadership of countries is trying to silence such people and intimidate them. And they will sit and quietly worry about their personal opinion,” Andrey Skriptsov, producer, director, and lecturer at the Russian Knowledge Society, told Izvestia.
Nevertheless, the claim of individual countries to their cultural exclusivity has nevertheless become one of the main causes of tension in the world. “Such vulgar globalization and, I would add, cultural expansion have resulted in the suppression and impoverishment of cultureshave multiplied the conflict potential many times over,” the president said.
According to Vladimir Putin, European elites have lost their sense of national identity and have become dependent, first of all, on the United States, which does not give them the opportunity to defend the interests of their own countries and peoples. “This is the tragedy of Europe today”“, the president is confident.
However, Russia is not going to close the “window to Europe” against this background. “When it’s blowing, you think maybe you should cover it up so as not to catch a cold. But we have good weather, you know“, Putin joked, implying that the Russian economy is growing, unlike the economies of some European countries. For example, the Russian Federation has overtaken Germany in terms of purchasing power parity, and such trends will only increase, the head of state said. Nevertheless, he expressed confidence that time will put everything in its place in Russia’s relations with these countries.
Expenditures on culture in the Russian Federation have increased 20 times over 10 years
Russia as a whole is committed to working with all countries that share common values with it and are ready to form a multipolar world. To promote these values, Moscow uses various platforms and formats. In particular, on the basis of BRICS and the CIS, where Russia presides in 2024, a large program has already been planned in the area of culture. The Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture of South Africa, Zizi Kodwa, told Izvestia that he does not feel that Russia is isolated, and observes only Moscow’s desire to develop cooperation in the field of art with many countries, including African ones.
The president, by the way, was asked whether Russia would withdraw from other associations, in particular UNESCO or the UN, but Vladimir Putin called such proposals nonsense. The Russian Federation cooperates with many countries to preserve common heritage. For example, Russian and Syrian specialists will soon begin implementing a project to restore the legendary ancient Arc de Triomphe in Palmyra, Syria.
In 2016, after her release, Russian specialists took urgent measures to save cultural heritage sites, examined the ruins and created a restoration plan. According to the General Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky, the restoration project is already ready. This is such a significant project that for Russians even the word “Palmyra” itself is a symbol, since St. Petersburg is often called Northern Palmyra, Vladimir Putin recalled.
Speaking about the possibility of extending this restoration experience to other sites in the Middle East region, the head of state said that conditions must first be created for this, and now work in the Gaza Strip is impossible. The head of state called the events taking place in the enclave “terrible things.” However, similar restoration work is possible in certain areas of Iraq.
“Of course, it is necessary to carry out appropriate preparations with the local authorities, but we are able to do this, talk, and our colleagues will certainly support us,” the president believes.
At the same time, Russia does not forget about developing its potential: Over the past 10 years, spending on culture in the country has increased 20 times, Putin emphasized. Moreover, the Russian Federation plans to continue to allocate significant funds to the development of this area and is preparing to support creative people, he added. According to Andrey Skriptsov, in Russian culture over the past 20-30 years, destructive content based on Western models has often come to the fore. At the moment, the situation is changing, and the artists who produced it are leaving the stage. However, not many performers are coming to replace them, so it is necessary to stimulate and support new talents.
Also it is planned to launch “unique projects based on digital solutions,” the head of state noted, citing the Pushkin Card program as an example., which allows young people to visit cultural institutions at the expense of the state. “At such turning points in history, outstanding works of art are born. I hope that we will see this in our days“, he concluded.