Assembly of the President’s Council
for Culture and Art of the Russian Federation on International Aspects
of the Policy of Russia on Culture
On November 25, 2003, an assembly of the Council for Culture and Art of the Russian Federation took place under the chairmanship of President V. Putin, with the participation of the general director of UNESCO, Koitiro Matsuura.
In his opening address at the assembly, President Putin drew attention to the increasing opportunities for Russia in the area of international cultural cooperation and stressed the need for active participation in carrying out large-scale projects under the auspices of UNESCO, the European Council, and other international and regional organizations. The President V. Putin also emphasized that Russia’s participation in global cultural activities must be grounded in principles of pragmatism and be characterized by a flexible approach.
At the assembly of the President’s Council for Culture and Art of the Russian Federation, the general director of UNESCO, Koitiro Matsuura announced that he was confident about the prospects of "a successful continuation of cooperation between Russia and UNESCO".
Among the most important areas of cooperation between UNESCO and Russia, Koitiro Matsuura pointed, in particular, to the problem of contraband art and cultural artifacts. He mentioned the important role Russia plays in implementing projects on the preservation of nonmaterial cultural legacies. Mr. Matsuura announced that UNESCO had recently made public a second list of chefs-d’oeuvre of oral nonmaterial art, which included nonmaterial cultural objects of Russia. The head of UNESCO expressed hope for the prompt ratification of the Convention on the Preservation of Nonmaterial Cultural Legacies by all countries.
The general director of UNESCO remarked on the successful cooperation between this organization and the State Hermitage. "We have begun a new project of development of this museum, which may be called a symbol of the universal ideal of preserving the world’s cultural traditions", he noted.
Mr. Piotrovsky, the director of the State Hermitage, touched upon the joint projects between UNESCO and the Bolshoy Theater, the Hermitage, and the Russian National Library. "Russia," he remarked, "is a generous cultural donor. It has a number of projects that it could offer UNESCO." Mr. Piotrovsky also discussed the importance of protecting culture from the impacts of globalization. He expressed the opinion that "culture could be the goal of legislation", and that it could be protected by a declaration of the rights of cultural preservation, patterned after the Declaration of Human Rights.