Aleksandr Slavutsky: “Today the ideology of culture is so that money is what matters”
Topical issues of ethnic culture have been discussed in the State Council of Tatarstan
The dominance of “vulgarity and immorality” in contemporary pop culture has been discussed at a meeting of the committee on education, culture, science and ethnic issues in Tatarstan. First Deputy Minister of Culture of Tatarstan Yulia Adgamova reported on the development of musical art in the republic, but the discussion that unfolded after the official's report went far beyond the designated topic. Parliamentarians complained that, for example, the wedding of Sobchak and Bogomolov was more popular than classical theatre productions. Read the details of the discussion in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
One hundred single-row button accordions purchased for music schools
In the report, Deputy Minister of Culture of Tatarstan Yulia Adgamova emphasized the measures taken by the authorities for the development and promotion of national, including Tatar, art in the republic. The official named numerous measures of support provided to folk culture. It is, for example, the purchase of hundreds of single-row button accordions for educational institutions. The contract for the supply of the instruments has already been concluded. The instrument cost the republican budget 6,2 million rubles. However, this is not at the expense of teaching classical music: according to the national project Culture, 61 pianos of domestic production are to be supplied to schools of Tatarstan by the end of the year.
Folk art does not have enough budget places
However, there are also enough problems related to the support of folk art. This is, for example, the deficit of budget funding allocated for the training of relevant specialists in universities. As recognized by acting vice-rector for scientific work of the Kazan State Institute of Culture Zilia Yavgildina, the university is provided with only one budget place for Folk Vocal Art. This is the policy of the federal center.
“We are under federal authority, but we intend to address to the government of Tatarstan with the offer to allocate financing for the training of students in the directions of folk art culture,” Yavgildina reported to deputies.
As Deputy Chairman of the State Council Marat Akhmetov reminded, the republic has similar experience of the state order for the training of specialists necessary for Tatarstan at the expense of the regional budget.
“It is terrible that we have so few budget places allocated for disciplines related to ethnic components, this is a serious problem with which, I believe, we need to reach the level of the president,” said Deputy of the State Council, head of the Kachalov drama theatre Alexander Slavutsky. “Nobody will go to study such specialties at own expense, it is necessary to finance it. And perhaps, we have similar experience. We recruited an acting course at the Kachalov theatre and paid for the training of students to the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts.”
It is offered to build a lighthouse music school
There is also a shortage of places in children's art schools in the republic, and although the number of these places corresponds to the established standards, not all children who want to learn music, dance and drawing have the opportunity to do so. According to statistics of the ministry of culture, 10,3% of children from the total number of schoolchildren of Tatarstan in 2018 had access to art and aesthetic education.
Deputy of the State Council, Director of the M. Jalil Opera and Ballet Theatre Raufal Mukhametzyanov thinks that infrastructure of children’s art schools need an update today.
“I would like the ministry addressed the republican authorities with a proposal to create at least one modern music school like the schools that open in Moscow,” Mukhametzyanov offered. “The times have changed, the requirements are different, we should create at least one such a beacon school. And it would be an example for others. It doesn’t cost much money because we build comprehensive schools. The ministry should have such an initiative.”
“Vulgarity, immorality are given pride of place today”
In deputies’ opinion, the domination of low-quality and vulgar art in our pop culture. Deputy of the State Council, actor of the Kamal Tatar State Academy Theatre Ramil Tukhvatullin initiated a discussion on this topic.
“The word 'composer' has devaluated. There are songwriters, there are bards, but now everybody calls oneself a composer, but composer is a high word as well as the word 'art'. It is necessary to separate our art from pop culture, in most cases,” Tukhvatullin is sure. “The bar of pop culture today is very low. The content, lyrics, music leave a lot to be desired, and it is not just my opinion. The Ministry of Culture should take care of it.”
Aleksandr Slavutsky agrees with his colleague.
“120,000 spectators come to our theatre a year, and this is considered as a good indicator. But millions of people a day simultaneously watch Sobchak with Bogomolov showing off. We gradually destroy the spiritual component of our surprising multi-ethnic Russia. I don’t know what our ministry can do to limit it. But it should be done, though it is extremely hard and complicated,” Slavutsky opines. “Today the ideology of culture and art is so that money is what matters, it is bad. We do our best in our theatre trying to erect a spiritual fortress. We choose a specific repertoire so that it will Russian classic in a modern language. I am not against experiments, but vulgarity, immorality are given pride of place today. Of course, we should oppose it.”
However, a representative of the Ministry of Culture just made a helpless gesture in answer to the deputies’ complaints: censorship in Russia is prohibited, and the authorities have almost no possibility to influence the quality of performers’ content.
“If we look at ads today, Kazan doesn’t have cultural events”
Classical art loses a competitive battle to pop culture when advertising its product already. And it is another problem that requires the authorities to pay attention to it.
“We aren’t given any priority to advertise plays even on local television. The prices are the same for the theatre and fish sellers. But there must be some share of social commercials,” Aleksandr Slavutsky goes on. “If we look at commercials today, Kazan doesn’t have cultural events. There are nightclubs, whatever, but there aren’t theatres, concert halls. Companies that won a tender for outdoor advertising don’t meet us halfway. I ask them for normal prices, I will pay. But no. Gay pop culture is in the ad, they can afford it, while we can’t. Everything is different in other cities. We go on a tour to Simferopol, and our ad is already there, and it isn’t in Kazan.”
Raufal Mukhametzyanov supported his colleague too.
“Yes, it is a stalemate and serious problem. We aren’t even allowed to advertise our art events in theatres,” the director of the opera theatre complained.