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Russia/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.2 National definition of culture

The national understanding of culture is based on a high esteem for its fundamental social and ethical role. This idea was shaped by the Russian intelligentsia, accepted as a topos in the mass consciousness and introduced into political discourse. For the secular democratic state of culturally diverse Russia, the main role of culture is widely understood as providing a basis for the spiritual and moral orientations, for symbolic social cohesion and formation of national ideas, and as a foundation of nation integrity.

However, there is no definition of culture in the Basic Law on Culture (1992) as Article 3, concerned with definitions, includes notions of cultural values, goods, and activities, of cultural heritage and assets, of cultural policy and creative workers, but omits "culture". An attempt was made to introduce a wider "anthropological" definition of "culture" in the draft Law on Culture in the Russian Federation (2010) that would be closer to that introduced by UNESCO, but it was not successful.

Recently, at all official levels, culture and cultural heritage are addressed as the whole system of values that underpins national identity, influences all sectors of society and is stated as a source of pride and patriotism. In mass consciousness, culture is also understood as a public good and public (read state) responsibility; it also includes the mass media as a means of dissemination. The idea to taking cultural institutions and monuments from state administration and placing them in private hands does not meet wider understanding from the public or from culture professionals. Those attitudes are rooted in still low estimations of non-governmental institutions and private initiatives.

Chapter published: 11-04-2013

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