General arts education provides for the study of arts at all levels of the Russian education system including pre-school, general, secondary and higher professional institutions. It is compulsory and presupposes acquaintance with the basics of music, visual arts and dance in preschool institutions, then studying and mastering basic practices in visual arts, music and world artistic culture at school. Its principles follow the Concept of Arts Education in the Russian Federation (2001) and include:
- starting education from an early age;
- multicultural approach in arts curricula that provides for teaching a wide range of art styles and world art traditions while focusing on national culture;
- due regard to principle features of local and ethnic cultural backgrounds while elaborating arts curricula; and
- multifaceted approach to teaching arts disciplines based on interactions of various kinds of arts.
Within the general education system, the latest State Standard of General Education regulates teaching the arts at all levels; the Standard renewal resulted in a general shortening of arts courses. In primary schools (1–4th grades), arts are represented by literary reading, music, and fine arts. Pupils of secondary schools study literature (5–9th grades), music and drawing (5–7th grades), the arts (8–9th grades). Within the final stage of secondary education (10–11th grades), literature remains a compulsory subject, and World Artistic Culture is taught according to specialised curricula (in social sciences and liberal arts; philology; arts and aesthetics; universal or non-specified). Public opinion on general arts education remains unfavourable. The VCIOM sociological survey of 2011, of subjects that are obligatory within secondary education, revealed low support for studying literature (43 %) and no support for music and visual arts (0%).