Within UNESCO co-operation, emphasis is placed on the “Information for All” programme, developing information technologies in culture, library services and e-culture in general. Within that programme, the Ministry of Culture supported dissemination of UNESCO and UN documents on shaping the information and knowledge based society in Russia. UNESCO’s General Conference (2009) adopted the resolution proposed by the Russian Federation on cultural objects that were displaced during the Second World War and supported the Russian initiative on establishing, under the aegis of UNESCO, the Regional Museum Centre for reinforcing potential in museum affairs.
Joining the UNESCO Conventions and other agreements, together with discussions on the related norms and issues, introduces wider understanding of modern cultural processes. However, Russia is not a member of the latest cultural conventions and the Ministry of Culture is preparing for ratification of the Conventions on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, theConvention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, andthe Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
That is also true for the Council of Europe documents, some of which are going through preparatory works for ratification by the Russian Federation (e.g. see chapter 4.1.8). The Russian Federation has signed and ratified the Granada Convention on Architectural Heritage; the Ministry of Culture is doing groundwork for ratification of the signed European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (1992). Russia – EU cultural cooperation is based on the road maps for development of the Four Common Spaces including the Culture Road-Map (2005) that states its objectives as follows:
- to promote a structured approach to cultural cooperation between the enlarged EU and Russia;
- to foster creativity and mobility of artists;
- to develop inter-cultural dialogue, knowledge of the history and cultural heritage of the peoples of Europe, and public access to culture;
- to strengthen and enhance the European identity on the basis of common values, cultural and linguistic diversity “in Europe without dividing lines”; and
- to develop cooperation between the cultural industries in order to increase both their cultural and economic impact.
The Framework Programme for Co-operation in Culture and Cultural Heritage between the Ministry of Culture and the Council of Europe Directorate of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage (2009–2011) aims to strengthen and develop cultural and heritage policies and activities. The main strands of the Framework Programme include a Review of National Cultural Policy and participation in the present Compendium project, Russia joining the European Heritage Network (HEREIN) and the “Intercultural Cities” Joint Action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, the Regional Programme for the Yaroslavl Region considered as a model project, etc.
At the regional level, the Northern dimension is very productive. The Russian Federation dynamically participates in cultural activities within the Barents Region. Since 1993, effective links and modern patterns of regional co-operation were developed in the Karelia Republic, Murmansk and Archangel Oblasts and Nenets Autonomous District. In January 2006, the first meeting of the culture Ministers within the Arctic Council was held in Khanty-Mansiisk concerned with preserving traditional cultures of the indigenous peoples. Practical steps were taken in establishing the “Electronic Memory of the Arctic” which is a type of open e-library concerned with regional history, culture, science and research.
A high priority was also given to the 1st International Finno-Ugric Festival (2007) opened by the Finnish, Hungarian and Russian heads of state in the city of Saransk and to the 5th World Finno-Ugric Congresses (2008) held in Russia. Since then, international cooperation within the Finno-Ugric cultural projects is very popular, especially in the regions where representatives of those peoples live.
Development of bilateral and multilateral cultural co-operation within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) remains a priority and there are specialised institutional structures. In 2006, the Council for Humane Co-operation and the related Intergovernmental Foundation for Educational, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (IFESCCO) were established to provide for multilateral projects in the fields of culture, education, science, etc. Since 2008, IFESCCO and UNESCO co-operate on the development of cultural projects. These include the 1st (2009) and the 2nd (2012) Regional Conferences of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with participation of international experts on Cultural Policy and Policy for Culture held in Yerevan (Armenia, see http://www.policyforculture.org/), a project on Arts Education in the CIS Countries: Development of Creative Potential in the 21st Century (2010), etc.