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Belarusian National Culture

 

The cultural policy of the Republic of Belarus is aimed at guaranteeing cultural rights both to the entire society and to every individual, and at political, economic and spiritual renewal of our country. To help achieve these goals there has been worked out the State Programme “Functioning and Development of Culture of the Republic of Belarus up to 2005.” Similar programmes have been adopted in all the administrative regions of the republic and in the city of Minsk. Identified are the priority avenues of the cultural policy, elaborated are the regional programmes.

The Fund of the President of the Republic of Belarus for the Support of Culture and Arts stimulates the development of culture in this country. A place of prominence belongs to cultural events of great public interest, to solemn awarding the prizes “For Spiritual Revival” and special prizes of the President of Belarus to the workers of culture and arts. Every year the Ministry of Culture buys works of arts, crafts, drama and music by the Belarusian authors residing in various parts of our country, with the major part of these acquisitions being funded from the central budget and grants of the Fund of the President for the Support of Culture and Arts. Every year the state scholarships are granted to workers of culture and arts, to the republic's artistic youth as a financial encouragement in realizing their creative projects.

High quality of socially important international and republican cultural events and culturological projects is achieved by an overall concept of these events and by involvement of the best creative forces. Among the major festivals that were held recently are the following: International Arts Festival “Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk,” International Musical Festival “Minsk Spring,” International Festival “Slavonic Theatrical Meetings,” International Jazz Festival, National Harvesting Festival “Dazhynki–2003,&rdq uo; National Festival “Arts for Children and Youth,” 1st National Festival and Competition of Youth Variety Show Arts, 7th National Festival of Chamber Music “Muses of Niesvizh,” Festival of Chamber Music “Mir Castle,” National Festival of the Belarusian Song and Poetry.

By the Executive Order of Head of the State “On Approval of the Measures for Perpetuating the Memory of the People's Artist of the USSR V.G. Mulyavin,” special prizes named after V.G. Mulyavin have been introduced for the winners of competitions of young pop song performers at the International Arts Festival “Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk, and young performers of the International Musical Festival “Golden Hit.” The V. Mulyavin Grand Prix has been introduced for the winners of the National Festival of the Belarusian Song and Poetry.

27 professional theatres working in our country are an evidence of successful development of Belarus' theatrical art. The Theatre Development Programme has been adopted in the Republic of Belarus.

Today, fruitfully working in our republic are more than 70 orchestras and ensembles, and 15 concert agencies.

Premieres of Belarusian and world's best films are regularly held in all the regions of our republic, while the areas affected by the Chernobyl NPP accident annually have the Days of the Belarusian Cinema. Meetings with visiting cinematographers from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine are arranged every two years within the framework of the national festival of Belarusian films in Brest; films from various countries participating at festivals are annually demonstrated within the framework of the International Arts Festival “Slavonic Bazaar in Vitebsk; the International Festival of Animated Cartoon Films “Animaevka” is held in Mogilev; Minsk plays host to the International Firm Festival of the CIS and Baltic States “Listapad.”

As of today, the republic has more than 350 cultural establishments of a new kind and 431centralized club systems. The cultural establishments which specialize in the problems of revival and development of the traditional culture have attracted increased interest. In their endeavours they are facilitated by the National Programme for the Support of Folk Art, Folk Crafts and Artisanry. Altogether, our republic has 62 Houses (Centres) of Artisanry and 56 Houses (Centres) of Folklore.

The traditional international, national and regional festivals, which are held in regular alternation every two–three years, provide a stimulating impact on amateur artists in improving their performing arts skills. The festivals held include: the 7th Minsk International Festival of Singing of Orthodox Psalms, the 7th International Festival of Folk Music “Dulcimers and Harmonicas Ringing,” the International Folklore Festival “Friendship Wreath” in the town of Bobruisk, the 3rd International Festival of Children's Arts “Little Golden Bee” in the town of Klimovichi, Mogilev region, and others. In April 2003, the 5th All–Belarus Festival of National Cultures was solemnly opened in Minsk with the participation of more than 20 representatives of ethnic and cultural communities.

Culture and spiritual values of the State are largely dependent on the work of libraries, with 41 percent of the republic's citizens being their readers.

Informatization of the society gave rise to active computerization of libraries and transforming them into modern information centers. Today, 80 percent of public libraries use an automated library system, 123 of them opened public centers of legal information. Broadly accessible Internet–classes are also being created on the basis of libraries. Construction of a new building of the National Library is a major goal of the current five–year period. A wide range of library resources and various services provide an opportunity to use the Library for every citizen of our republic. The National Library has been and will remain to be an inexhaustible source of knowledge, a centre of intellectual life for many generations.

With about 16 thousand heritage properties and sites having been identified over the recent period of time, the most important of them are put on the State List of Historical and Cultural Values of the Republic of Belarus. Compilation of the list of natural sites, cultural landscapes above all, is under way with a view of their stage–by–stage inclusion in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. The suggestion to include in the List “The Cultural Space of the Eastern Polesie” as a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity created under specific natural and socio–economic conditions can be regarded as one of the first preparatory projects of this kind. At present, with a financial assistance from UNESCO, a concept is being elaborated for establishing an international cultural and educational centre on the basis of the Castle Complexes “Niesvizh,” and for the stage–by–stage inclusion in the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme of the projects for the digitization of the Belarusian documentary heritage, its preservation and use in a digital form.

Studying and realization of history and culture of Belarus, education of national self–consciousness among the citizens of this republic, their familiarization with the national and universal cultural heritage are promoted largely by museums. About 1500 exhibitions guiding visitors through various topics are opened by museums every year, starting from artistic collections and ending in natural history exhibits. Many museums have computerized their museum stocks.

An ongoing process is searching and finding gifted children and youth, creating favourable conditions for developing their talents. In that regard, there is a calendar of traditional festivals in our republic, most of them meeting the international standards. Annually held are the International Festival “Youth and Children from Belarus and Russia — Entering the 21st Century Together,” the Republican Festival of Young Talents “Constellation of Hopes.” Various and broad–scale activities are carried out under the patronage of the Head of the State by the Special Fund of the President of the Republic of Belarus for Support of the Talented Youth. During five years of the activities of the Fund, more than 1 thousand of young talents received financial support, more than 500 laureates of republican and international competitions were granted scholarships.
 

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