6. Cultural participation and consumption
Last update: February, 2013
Due to the scarcity of resources (both on the part of the population and the state), the promotion of cultural participation is limited to specific points in several selected programmes for underprivileged social groups (children, disabled and retired persons), as well as religious and ethnic communities. Nevertheless, cultural participation, especially in depressed rural areas, is undermined by general social frustration and disintegration. Development of local cultural initiatives is faced with expectations within the local community from external leaders, actors and resources.
Support for participation is most successfully realised within the context of globally recognised programmes (e.g. anniversaries), important festivals (theatre, film, music, etc.), regional projects and special events. Although there is no explicit policy linking participation in cultural life to the broader issues of social development, one can see the connections in e.g. annual "Day of a City" festivals that recently became popular all around the country and during which local and regional authorities organised rich cultural programmes promoting local values and achievements.
There are programmes aimed at developing particular types of cultural activities or halting their decline. The Federal Agency for Print and Mass Communications, together with the Russian Book Union, has proposed the National Programme for Support and Development of Reading, which is aimed at advancement of reader's competence and re-establishment of reading as a mainstream activity, especially for the younger generation. The programme proposes analysis of reading preferences, promotion of reading in the mass media, competitions and festivals organised all over the country.
Special screening programmes devoted to film history are popular in big cities that have special cinemas working in co-operation with the archives. In Moscow, the "Illusion" cinema theatre represents collections of the State Film Fund of the Russian Federation, which organises annual festivals of archive films. Related project are also developed in the regions, e.g. the media socio-educational project "Perm Cinemathèque" (see http://www.permcinema.ru) is intended to acquaint the audiences of the city of Perm with masterpieces of world cinema and its history, and to use cinema as an educational tool. The Project was launched by the "Permkino" State Film Centre and provides for widening access to world cinema and enriching regional culture. The organisers believe that it can also serve to support the dialogue of cultures and to improve the social and cultural climate including prevention of ethnic and cultural conflicts. These goals are to be attained through the "Embassy Cinema Programmes", round tables on "Finno-Ugric World", "Turkic World", and others.
Last update: February, 2013
In Russia, cultural consumption differs greatly in large cities and in rural areas where the cultural infrastructure is weak. It has been recently recognised as a general political problem of providing equal cultural access and evening out cultural participation. The proposed means to help solve those problems are Internet delivery and the development of mobile facilities (bibliobuses, cinemobiles, etc.).
Table 9: Spending on cultural activities and goods, % of total household spending, 1990-2008
|TV sets, radio receivers, objects for leisure and entertainment||5.0||3.2||3.4||4.6||4.5||4.1||4.6|
|Cultural institutions' services||0.9||0.5||1.1||1.7||2.1||2.2||2.9|
Source: Gosudarstvenny komitet RF po statistike: Rossiya v tsifrah, 2009. (State Committee of the RF for Statistics: Russia in figures, 2009, Moscow, 2010). Moskva, 2009, p. 128-129.
The main trends in the 1990s were a drop in the number of public cultural institutions and artistic events, together with lower attendance at theatres, cinemas, and philharmonic concerts. On the other hand, there was a rise in the number of television, cable and satellite channels, private radio stations, and e-devices per household, in the 2000s supplemented with the introduction of the Internet. In spite of permanent lamentations on behalf of artistic elite about the "general decline in taste" and "degrading audiences", the wider public demonstrates its ordinary preferences and readiness to pay for entertainment and pop culture.
Table 10: Cultural services within the structure of paid services, % of total amount provided, 1995-2008
|Tourism and excursions||1.3||1.8||1.4||1.3||1.6||1.7|
Source: Gosudarstvenny komitet RF po statistike: Rossiya v tsifrah, 2009. (State Committee of the RF for Statistics: Russia in figures, 2009, Moscow, 2010). Moskva, 2009, p. 349.
Consumption trends are generally influenced by developments in other aspects of life, for example, the economic crisis of the 1990s and of the end of the 2000s was followed by increasing reliance on free public services (e.g. libraries), drops in attendance rates for paid entertainment events and higher rates of home cultural consumption, and vice versa. However, one can suppose that overall attendance rates drop in traditional cultural institutions: during the last three months of 2005, 83% of Russians did not visit a theatre, museum or attend a concert and 85% had not been to the cinema. In Moscow, related figures were 64% and 66%. According the VCIOM data in 2008, only 8% spend leisure time at the cinema, 6% in museums, and 3% in libraries (chapter 6.3).
Table 11: Volume of cultural services provided per capita, 1993-2006
|Cultural services (in RUB)||68.5||154.3||314.7||441.1||412.3||469.3|
|Tourist services (in RUB)||…||105.1||166.6||320.1||379.0||514.1|
Source: Gosudarstvenny komitet RF po statistike: Rossijsky statistichesky yyezhegodnik, 2008. (State Committee of the RF for Statistics: Russian Statistical Yearbook, 2008. Moscow, 2009). Moskva, 2009.
Sociologists also discovered the immediate correlation between income levels and attendance frequencies.
Traditionally, tourism in Russian has a cultural component and it is a growing sector, especially travelling abroad. In 2002 – 1 639 thousand tours, and in 2008 – 4 305 thousand tours, were sold, of which 775 and 3 183 thousand, respectively, were foreign tours. In 2007, 4.5 million domestic tourists went abroad and only 2.6 million travelled in Russia. However, those figures can be twice as large and the same year 7.1 million Russians went abroad for tourist purposes while in 2008, this number equalled 10.8 million.
Table 13: Trends in attendance rates
|Attendance trends in different cultural fields|
The frequency of visits dropped from 15 per annum per inhabitant in the early 1980s, to 0.25 visits per year per inhabitant in 1996 and increased to an average of 0.3 in 1998-2004 and to 0.4 in 2005-2006. In 1995, there were 80 million spectators, 52 and 50 million relatively in 2005 and 2006. According to the VCIOM survey of 2008, only 18 % of adults visit the cinema several times a year and 43 % cut down during the last 5-10 years; 28 % of respondents prefer home video or TV film translations. Cinema theatres are visited by 36 % of the population including those visiting the cinema several times a week (6 %), a year (15 %), or no more than 3 times a year (7 %); 13 % of respondents have never been to a cinema theatre (2009). Rare attendees complain of the lack of cinema theatres (26%), lack of time (23%) and high ticket prices (20%).
In 2007, programmes of the state radio companies reached 97.5 % of the population; 90.2% of the population had access to 3 and more TV programmes, whereas 0.6% had no access to TV translations at all. In 2007, the "Russia" channel was available to 98.6% of urban and 94.6% of the rural population; the "Kultura" channel reached relatively 79.0 and 35.4%. The access to commercial radio stations increased from 43.6% in 1999 to 63% of the population in 2005. The same year, only 11.6% were reached by the "Orpheus" radio station transmitting classical music (the rural population made up 5.6% of the total). In 2010, the VCIOM survey estimated TV as the main source of news (92%); relatively 15% and 12% receive news from the Internet and on the radio. The TV as a source of information dominates villages and small towns (93% of dwellers); 47% of respondents also prefer listening to music on TV and 32% on the radio; 58 % of the young and 33% of well educated prefer their own records.
The number of spectators dropped from almost 72.9 million in 1985 to 27.6 million in 1998 and grew slightly to 31 million in 2001. This number decreased again and in 2010 was 30.7 million, of which 13 million visited performances for children. In 2007 and 2009, the total number of performances equalled relatively 132 and 139 thousands of which relatively 73.8 and 77.7 thousand were addressed to children. The average price of a theatre visit was 255 RUB, while an opera and ballet average visit cost 361 RUB and the cost of a performance for children was 136 RUB in 2010.
Visits to concerts organised by the companies within the Ministry of Culture responsibilities decreased from almost 90 million in 1980 to less than 55 million in 1997 and went down to 17.5 million in 2004; then the number of visits grew slightly to 21 million in 2010. The philharmonic concert attendances grew slightly from 11.2 in 2000 to 12.6 million in 2008, and in 2010 equalled 14.8 million, and contributed a lot to the general increase in attendances in 2009, which totalled 21 million**. The 35 national philharmonic organisations and companies were most successful, increasing their audiences from 1.4 in 2008 to 1.8 million in 2009. In 2004 and 2008, concerts for children reached relatively 4.76 and 4.77 million spectators, the number of which decreased to 4.44 million in 2009. According the VCIOM estimations, only 6% of respondents prefer live music; most listen to music on TV, over the radio, on records, and on the Internet.
Museum visits reached a peak of 144 million in 1990 and dropped to 65.6 by 1999; rising slightly again to 75.1 million in 2002 and totalled 77.6 million in 2010. About 41% of the latter were organised as excursions. However, the number of organised exhibitions grew from 33 in 2004 to 40 thousand in 2007 and 46 thousand in 2010; lectures rose relatively from 133.6 to 136 thousand in 2010. According the VCIOM estimations in 2009, 53% of the population had been to museum several years previously and 20% have never been there. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, 18% of respondents had visited a museum during the previous three months; 35 % of respondents have no wish to go to a museum (in 2008 this share equalled 26%).
Cultural houses (Clubs):|
The number of people involved in activities based in cultural houses within the Ministry of Culture system rose from 4.7 million in 1996 to almost 6 million in 2000, and remained stable since, of which about 60% are village dwellers. In 2002 - 7.9 million, in 2003 - 8.1 million and in 2010 - 8.2 million events were held, of which 4.9, 5, and 5.4 million in those years were free of charge. There were 171 million paid visits to club events in 2002 and 142 in 2010; about half of paid events are film screenings but the number of spectators is declining. According the survey of 2005-2007, up to 80% of clubs' amateur practitioners is made up of children, teenagers, and retired people.
From 2003 - 2007, about 40% of the population was served by libraries within the Ministry of Culture system. The number of library visits rose from 462.2 million in 1995 to 474.7 million visits in 1999, then dropped to 463 million in 2003 and is still decreasing. The number of registered users decreased from 71.8 million in 1995 to 59.6 million in 2000 and to 56.4 in 2009, while the number of visits remained more or less stable.
The number of spectators fell from 21.5 million in 1992 to 6.7 in 2004 and to 5.9 in 2009.
The number of visitors rose from 5.7 million in 1998 to 6.9 million in 2001 and remained at the same level until 2003. In 2009, the number rose to 10.5 million visits of which only about 4% were organised as excursions.
Ministry of Culture and other statistical publications, different years.
* Concerts organised by companies within the Ministry of Culture responsibilities.
** Data on rock and pop music shows, etc. are not included.
Last update: February, 2013
Table 12: Structure of household spending (% of total spending, COICOP),
and number of PCs by 100 households, 2004-2007
|Grouping according to the income level|
ii ||iii||iv||v (max.)|
|Alimentary goods (food)||54.2||48.1||50.0||43.1||45.0||37.6||35.5||28.3||26.3||18.8|
|Number of PCs||7||18||11||26||17||39||30||56||31||53|
Source: Gosudarstvenny komitet RF po statistike: Rossijsky statistichesky yyezhegodnik, 2007, 2008. (State Committee of the RF for Statistics: Russian Statistical Yearbook, 2007, 2008. Moscow, 2008-2009). Moskva, 2008-2009.
Monitoring Internet usage also supports the correlation between income and education levels, age and regularity / volume of use, while the gender differences are slowly but surely smoothed away. In 2008, 12% of the population were active Internet users (everyday or several times a week activities). In 2005, 10% and in 2008, 20% of the population preferred the Internet as a source of information. The most popular searches are for information and reference materials, education and music downloading.
The Levada Centre's survey of 2009 estimated that, several times a week, the Internet is accessed by 50% of students, 41% of managers, and 32% of specialists (see http://www.levada.ru/press/2009080701.html). Reading the news (77%), e-mailing (74%), information searches (68%), browsing photos and videos (46%), loading software (44%) and music (39%), and communicating (38%) were the most popular web activities in 2009. In the same year, almost half of Muscovites accessed the Internet; 70% of them did so every day. Work, entertainment, and study were the reasons for relatively 23%, 14% and 12% of respondents accessing the Internet. In addition, the Internet has become a popular medium for buying books.
The situation for museums and libraries is more complex. Although the number of libraries, during the 1990s, decreased as well as reading activities, in the 2000s library attendance rates remained almost stable. This can be explained by the prohibitive prices of new books, especially of scientific, reference editions, textbooks and periodicals and by formation of regular library users such as students, specialists or reading lovers. According the VCIOM estimations, 14% of readers look for required books in city libraries and 3% visit higher school libraries; downloading books from the Internet is most popular among those younger than 34 (14-16%).
In spite of different figures stated, the main trend of reading activities is characterised by a decline of its traditional forms. In 2005, 37% of the population never read, while the figure increased to 46% of adults in the survey of 2008. The share of those often reading books diminished from 23 to 16%, the same trend characterised readers of all types of editions; the most drastic decrease was in the number of regular magazine readers (two times and more). According to VCIOM estimations (2009), 16% of respondents have no books at home; the largest volume books in home libraries is up to 100 books and the number of such libraries increases. Only 2% have home libraries that comprise of more than 1 000 books; their share is higher in Moscow and St. Petersburg. If compared to 2002, Russian and foreign classics (25 - 19%), Russian crime stories (14 - 8%), fantasy (10 - 6%), classical adventure stories (26 - 22%) and contemporary historical novels (16 - 11% in 2002) are becoming more popular. The e-books and related devices are not very popular yet; the VCIOM survey (2010) estimates that 3% use e-readers and 79% do not see a use for them.
According to the VCIOM survey of 2008, watching Soviet films (from the 1930s to the 1970s) and new domestic productions on TV remain the most popular leisure activity, notwithstanding age of respondents. A survey analysing leisure preferences among the rural population was undertaken in 2003 in Karelia Republic, Pskov and Novgorod regions. The results showed the importance of cultural houses as focal and cohesive points for cultural activities in rural areas; and the popularity of public festivities and professional tour performances.
Last update: February, 2013
Amateur arts and folk culture
The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation supports traditional forms of both folk arts and crafts and amateur arts in order to realise basic cultural rights for participation and creativity and for preserving the joint cultural space of Russia. At the federal level, support is provided for related festivals, competitions, and exhibitions in order to increase the number of amateurs and to present them to a wider public. In 2010-2012, the Ministry is to allocate relatively 34.4, 34.0 and 29.1 million RUB from its budget for these events.
There is a State Russian House of Folk Creativityin Moscow under the Ministry that is the main national institution for providing methodical support to amateur artists, organising related events and training, and preserving collections of amateur artworks. Together with the Ministry of Culture, it has initiated the establishment of the Soul of Russia governmental award (see chapter 8.1.3), which has five nominations: folk music, folk singing, folk dancing, folk artisanry, and traditional popular culture. It was intended to honour directors of amateur groups (dancers, choir singers, folk orchestras, etc.), masters of folk handicrafts and decorative arts, and teachers and trainers in the field. Similar Houses of Folk Creativity exist in all the regions of Russia, while special attention is given to these issues in the Republics of the Russian Federation.
Re-establishing free access to amateur creativity (and sports) for the younger generation is proclaimed to be an important task of local and regional authorities. Competitions carried out at these levels for those involved in creativity encourage the amateur arts and artists. Special folk festivals, especially in the regions, are organised as cultural development events, which promote both identity and diversity and foster intercultural dialogue.
Amateur arts are among the most popular activities that traditionally take place in cultural houses. Participation rates have fluctuated over the years from 6.7 million amateur artists in 1985, to 2.5 million in 1997 and increasing to 3.47 in 2009. The number of children involved (included in the above figures) has grown from 1.4 million in 1985 to 2.9 million in 2009 (after a sharp drop to 1.2 million in 1989-1990). Organised amateur activities for children and adults, which were free of charge before the perestroika, now charge a fee, especially when the activity requires some training, materials or costumes.
At the cultural houses, the most popular amateur activities in 2010 were dance (806 665 participants), choir singing (520 543) and theatre (464 969). Folk arts became very popular; its practitioners are organised by different cultural institutions including cultural houses (in 2010 there were 2 256 000 folk arts and 172 000 folk crafts practitioners, and 42 943 members of folk instrument orchestras), libraries, museums, especially by those with folk or historic contents or National Cultural Autonomies.
Cultural houses and community cultural clubs
Amateur artistic and cultural activities are concentrated in the institutions called cultural houses or clubs, the network of which has been established in Soviet times and covers the whole country. Those institutions were owned by the Ministry of Culture, trade unions and enterprises. The latter both have sharply curtailed their participation in cultural matters and in 2007, 98% of these institutions were within the responsibilities of the Ministry of Culture. Their number is still decreasing: there were 54.8 thousand cultural houses in 2000 and 47.4 thousand in 2009; the number of newly constructed cultural houses is small (from those with seating capacity of 56 300 built in 1990 to those of 8 400 built in 2008; in rural areas related figures are 45 400 and 4 800).
Though cultural houses are the most numerous of cultural institutions their condition has been criticised: in 2003, about one third of all their buildings were officially recognised to be in bad condition and in need of capital repair, while almost all cultural houses need modernisation including computers, etc. Cultural houses are mostly located in rural areas (87% in 2000 and 89% in 2007) where they function as community culture and entertainment centres and dance halls.