7. Financing and support
Last update: October, 2021
Expenditures allocated by the state in the field of culture shall be determined within the state budget of the Azerbaijan Republic approved under paragraph 5 of part I of Article 95 and paragraph 32 of Article 109 of the Constitution.
Thus, Article 7 of the Law on the State Budget of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2021 allocates financial resources from the state budget in this area for culture, art, information, physical education, youth policy and other similar activities (including television, radio and publishing).
Of the state budget for 2021, AZN 379 326 086 is allocated for the use of the Ministry for Culture. The general dynamics of the funds allocated to the Ministry for Culture from the budget for 2020 (AZN 368 3 million) and 2021 (379 million) has increased. However, this dynamic was mainly due to a salary increase for staff.
The total public expenditure in 2021 is AZN 28 543 000. Public culture expenditure as a percentage of the total public expenditure in 2021 is 1.33%
GDP for 2021 is calculated as AZN 75 800 000. Public culture expenditure as a percentage of the GDP, in 2021 is 0.50%
Public culture expenditure at all levels of government per capita in 2021 is 37.5 AZN or EUR 18.8.
Last update: October, 2021
Table 7: Public cultural expenditure by the level of government, in AZN and EUR, 2021
|Level of government||Total expenditure in AZN||Total expenditure in EUR*||% share of total|
|Central||126 504 173||63 252 086.5||33.3%|
|Regional||252 821 913||126 410 956.5||66.7%|
|TOTAL||379 326 086||189 663 043||100%|
Source: The Ministry for Culture, 2021
Table 8: Public cultural expenditure by the level of government, in AZN, 2015 and 2021
|Level of government||Total expenditure in 2015 in AZN||Total expenditure in 2021 in AZN||Trend in %|
|Central||127 473 009||126 504 173||-0.8%|
|Regional||138 559 143||252 821 913||+82.4%|
|TOTAL||266 032 152||379 326 086||+42.3%|
Source: The Ministry for Culture, 2015 and 2021
It should be noted that, as a result of the decentralisation of budgetary expenditure on culture, most of the public funds are now distributed locally. Moreover, the general trend is that the percentage changes over the years are in favour of the regions. For example, in 2015, this ratio was 52.1% versus 47.9% in favour of the local budget. However, in 2021, this ratio was already 66.7% against 33.3% in favour of the regional budget.This trend occurred because expenditures at the central level remained practically at the same level and even decreased by 0.8% over the same period. In contrast, spending at the regional level increased sharply by 82.4% in 2021 compared to the local budget in 2015.
Nevertheless, the overall dynamics of the budget for culture is positive and has increased by 42.3% over the 6 year period. Spending on culture in 2015 was AZN 266 032 152, and increased by more than AZN 120 million in 2021 to AZN 379 326 086.
Centralised expenditure on culture is primarily focused on the capital, Baku. However, with culture permanently short of funding, preference also goes to organisations of national importance, most of which operate from Baku.
Last update: October, 2021
Table 31: Overall state cultural expenditure: by main sectors, in AZN, 2015
|Field / Domain / Sub-domain||Direct expenditure||
|Museums and reserves||6 907 412||-||6 907 412|
|Central libraries (excluding National Library)||1 188 093||-||1 188 093|
|National Library||5 215 440||5 215 440|
|Theatre-concert enterprises, Cinema, Film Foundation||27 949 830||-||27 949 830|
|Awards of the President to cultural personalities||782 496||782 496|
|Centralised cultural events and other enterprises expenditures||23 852 920||-||23 852 920|
|Transfers to local cultural enterprises||-||70 302 845*||70 302 845|
|UNESCO activities||1 400 000||-||1 400 000|
|Other international activities||6 000 000||-||6 000 000|
|Cultural tourism||7 546 285||-||7 546 285|
|Centre of national culinary||180 576||-||180 576|
|International Mugham Centre||1 003 200||-||1 003 200|
|Education||5 992 718||68 256 298*||74 249 016|
|Administration||2 783 739||-||2 783 739|
|Capital investment||38 070 300||-||38 070 300|
(excluding other expenditures)
|127 473 009||138 559 143||266 032 152|
Table 9: Direct state cultural expenditure and transfers (central level)*: by sector, 2021, in 1000 of national currency (AZN)
|Field / Domain / Sub-domain||Total in 1000 AZN||Total in %||of which:Direct expenditure**|
(of government or its agencies)
|of which: Transfers** to other levels of government|
|I. Cultural Heritage|
|Historical Monuments||3 380.3||0.9%||3 380.3||-|
|Museums and reserves||29 388.0||7.7%||12 386.9||17 001.1|
|Libraries||53 159.0||14.0%||10 323.8||42 835.2|
|Intangible Heritage / Folk Culture||38 962.2||10.3%||-||38 962.2|
|II. Visual Arts||-||-|
|III. Performing Arts|
|Theatre and concert facilities||40 050.7||10.6%||38 288.1||1 762.6|
|V. Audio-visual and Multimedia|
|Cinema||6 528.0||1.7%||6 528.0||-|
|Broadcasting of cultural programmes||2 006.4||0.5%||2 006.4||-|
|Assistance to public associations||5 652.0||1.5%||5 652.0||-|
|Awarding scholarships and awards to artists||1 492.8||0.4%||1 492.8|
|Cultural Relations Abroad||5 568.0||1.5%||5 568.0||-|
|Cultural centres in foreign countries||6 358.1||1.7%||6 358.1||-|
|Administration****||7 840.8||2.1%||4 104.7||3 736.1|
|Cultural Education****||150 320.3||39.6%||4 606.6||145 713.6|
|VII. Not covered by|
|Centralised costs||16 196.6||4.3%||16 196.6||-|
|Investment costs||5 277.0||1.4%||5 277.0||-|
|Other expenses||7 146.0||1.9%||4 335.0||2 811.0|
|TOTAL||379 326.1||100%||126 504.2||252 821.9|
Source(s): The Ministry for Culture, 2021.
Last update: October, 2021
Centralised and local state budgets support cultural creativity and artists in Azerbaijan, mainly by providing relevant conditions for maintaining cultural institutions, salaries, honoraria, and retirement and health contributions. The Law on Targeted State Social Assistance (№ 1039-IIQ of October 21, 2005), the Law on Social Benefits (№ 55-IIIQ of February 7, 2006) and other such regulatory documents are some examples of building economic and social frameworks to support cultural and creative workers indirectly.
There are also other ways the state supports creativity by involving artists in implementing state development programmes and projects and supporting private projects and initiatives. For example, holding festivals and competitions in different spheres of culture for professionals (theatre, music, visual arts, etc.), sending delegations to international events, providing free primary, secondary and higher specialised education etc., may be taken into account.
Targeted support for the particular culture and art forms is an approved approach to cultural financing; examples are the orders of the President and decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers that provide direct support to particular artists or groups. Thus, for example, the Presidential Order on Measures to Improve the Activities of the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra named after Uzeyir Hajibayli (№ 701 of December 2, 1997) intended to increase the monthly salaries of employees from January 1, 1998, by four times.
The average monthly salaries of the ballet troupe of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre were increased from January 1, 2000, on average by five times, by the Order On Improving the Social Security of the Ballet Troupe of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (№ 281 of December 6, 1999).
The Order On improving the Social Security of the Azerbaijan State Choir Capella (№ 432 of June 2, 2000) increased the monthly salaries of the Azerbaijan State Choir Chapel employees by four times on average from July 1, 2000.
The Order On Increasing the Salaries of Employees of Some Music Groups Financed from the State Budget (№ 565 of 29 December 2004) provided increases from January 1, 2005, by on average twice the average monthly wages of orchestra employees of:
- The Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra named after Uzeyir Hajibayli,
- The Azerbaijan State Choir Capella,
- The Ballet Troupe of Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre,
- The Azerbaijan State Dance Ensemble,
- The Azerbaijan State Chamber Orchestra named after Gara Garayev,
- The Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, and
- The Azerbaijan State Musical Comedy Theatre.
The recent Order on strengthening the social protection of the artistic staff of the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra named after Uzeyir Hajibayli (№ 3340 of November 3, 2017) determined the supplement of 500 AZN to the monthly salaries of the employees of the artistic staff of the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra named after Uzeyir Hajibayli from November 1, 2017.
Last update: October, 2021
The Special Scholarship Foundation was established according to the Presidential Decree On Special Scholarship Fund to Support the Creative Activities of Writers, Artists and Composers of the Older and Younger Generations (№ 612 of August 6, 2007). The Special Scholarship Foundation funds are directed to finance special scholarships for writers, artists and composers of the older and younger generations to increase the state care for artists of the Republic of Azerbaijan and to create more favourable conditions for the development of art in the country. The Special Scholarship Foundation was formed at the expense of the state budget and envisaged in the centralised expenditures of the Ministry for Culture.
The Union of Azerbaijan Writers, the Union of Azerbaijan Composers, and the Union of Azerbaijan Artists select special scholarship holders from the older and younger generation of writers, artists, and composers. The Union of Azerbaijan Writers, the Union of Azerbaijan Composers and the Union of Azerbaijan Artists submit the list of chosen fellows approved by their general meetings to the Ministry for Culture by March 1 of each year. The List for the following years is formed based on the results of the activities of these selected artists.
The approved "Rules for the use of a special scholarship fund to ensure the creative activities of writers, artists and composers of the older and younger generation" determines the number, amount and duration of special scholarships as follows:
- AZN 300 (three hundred) per month for the older generation for one year (fifty for writers, fifty for artists and thirty special scholarships for composers);
- AZN 200 (two hundred) per month for the younger generation for one year (twenty for writers, twenty for artists and ten special scholarships for composers).
In this case, the choice of the unions of writers, artists and composers are not accidental because the government established this format of scholarship to ensure the implementation of the following orders:
- On Measures to Improve the Creative Conditions of the Members of the Writers' Union of Azerbaijan (No. 2023 of March 12, 2007),
- On Measures to Improve the Creative Conditions of the Members of the Union of Artists of Azerbaijan (No. 2024 of March 12, 2007) and
- On Measures to Improve the Creative Conditions of Members of the Union of Composers of Azerbaijan (No. 2025 of March 12, 2007).
Last update: October, 2021
The legislative basis of the state grant support system, including in the field of culture, represents the Law on Grants (№ 483-IQ of April 17, 1998), which regulates economic and legal relations connected to the issue, receipt and use of grants. The law defines grants as assistance rendered to develop and implement humanitarian, social and ecological projects in education, health, culture, legal advice, information, publishing, sport, scientific research and design. Other programmes deemed essential for the state and public also may receive grants.
The grants are given only for a specific purpose (s). Religious organisations, non-governmental organisations, and branches and representative offices of foreign non-governmental organisations operating in the Republic of Azerbaijan may not receive assistance of financial resources and (or) another material forms without a grant agreement (decision). The exceptions are donations and assistance from public authorities provided in the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan On Freedom of Religion and On Non-Governmental Organisations (Public Associations and Foundations).
Along with the legislative basis, several organisational documents are devoted to awards, scholarships for artists and cultural workers in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Presidential Decree “On honorary titles of the Republic of Azerbaijan” (№ 706 of May 22, 1998) established the honorary titles of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the fields of culture, literature, science, education, health, physical education and sports, journalism, engineering, as well as the civil service, law, agriculture and civil aviation. The sphere of culture and literature includes such honorary titles as "People's Writer", "People's Poet", "People's Actor", "People's Artist", "Honoured Art Worker", "Honoured Actor", "Honoured Artist", "Honoured Cultural Worker" and “Honoured Architect”. According to the "Regulations on Honorary Titles of the Republic of Azerbaijan” (№ 130 of May 14, 1999), honorary titles are awarded for special services in culture, literature, high professionalism, and active participation in public life. Individuals awarded the honorary title of the Republic of Azerbaijan enjoy the privileges established by the legislation.
Following the Presidential Decree On the establishment of a personal pension awarded by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan (№ 715 of June 11, 2002) to evaluate the services of Azerbaijani literary and artistic personalities and improve their social status, they are awarded individual scholarships of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Five hundred personal pensions of AZN 1450 (one thousand four hundred and fifty) each are granted from the state budget.
The "Golden Book" of young talents of Azerbaijan and the "Young Talents’ Foundation" was established by the Presidential Decree On the State Care for Young Talents in Azerbaijan” (№ 464 of June 22, 1996). In this regard, the state established a special monthly pension of AZN 400 from the reserve fund of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for each of the young talents whose names are written in the "Golden Book" until they reach 25 years of age.
Last update: October, 2021
Professional creative unions currently obtain their main funds and material-technical bases, including buildings, from the state system, but administer material, social and professional matters themselves, without state interference. Central and local authorities provide different organisational and financial support to creative unions, involving their members in national and international events and purchasing products of their art and creativity at regular intervals. In particular, special funds from the state budget are intended to support professional creative unions and other non-governmental organisations through the Ministry for Culture.
For example, AZN 3 580 096 was allocated from the state budget for 2019 to support such organisations as:
- The Union of Azerbaijan Writers,
- The Union of Azerbaijan Composers,
- The Union of Azerbaijan Artists,
- The "Azerbaijan Dunyasi" International Relations Centre,
- The Organisation of War, Labour and Armed Forces Veterans,
- The Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society,
- The Union of Azerbaijan Architects,
- The Union of Azerbaijan Theatrical Workers,
- The Union of Azerbaijan Ashıqs.
- The Azerbaijan Council of Elders, and
- The Union of Cinematographers of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In 2020, similar support was inceased to 5 523 650 AZN, and in 2021 – 5 652 029 AZN. Firstly, the sharp jump is explained by the fact that organisations such as the Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh Region, Azerbaijan Children's Fund, and an alternative Union of Cinematographers of Azerbaijan started to receive funding through the Ministry for Culture. Another reason for the increase in financial support is the government's intention to support creative unions and professional cultural organisations in the difficult years of the global pandemic and in the face of reduced opportunities for them to function in the labour market fully. As a result, the cultural spaces and premises were closed. In addition, the activities of cultural and art institutions have been restricted due to the introduction of a special quarantine regime in the country to prevent the spread of a new type of coronavirus (Covid 19) infection starting from March 2020.
Last update: October, 2021
The state's strategy for diversification of financing sources for cultural activities and policies aimed at:
- Assessment of optimal scopes of the state budget for arts and culture;
- Attracting alternative financing sources (sponsors, Maecenas, supporters etc.);
- Implementing up-to-date marketing to improve the system of paid cultural services.
Many activities in arts and culture, namely festivals, concerts, fairs, etc., both international and local, attract a significant share of sponsorship by the private sector. Furthermore, funds, banks and other financial institutions operating in the country give considerable subsidies to assist and promote the mobility of artists and artworks.
At the same time, it should be noted that there are currently no private funding statistics. For this reason, it is not possible to provide data and trends of financial contributions/donations made to cultural activities, artists or institutions by independent foundations, commercial sponsors, and individual donors and so on. Furthermore, such information on non-public funding bodies for culture and creativity is not available because studies, surveys, et cetera regarding private funding for culture are not carried out.
Paid cultural services, namely the sum earned by cultural organisations, e.g. fees charged for paid cultural services provided by museums, exhibition halls and libraries, are another way of self-financing for public cultural institutions. This method is increasing in importance. However, these sums are still insignificant for now, accounting for less than 1% of total expenditure on culture, the arts and conservation of monuments.
The state cultural institutions subordinated to the Ministry for Culture provided paid cultural services amounting to AZN 404.0 thousand in 2020. Museums and museum-type institutions provided 42% of these paid cultural services, 37% were provided by educational institutions, 20% - by culture houses and clubs and 1% - by libraries. Most of the amount received from the paid cultural services provided in the club facilities was raised by three big regional departments: Baku City Head Department of Culture, Sumgayit and Sabirabad regional cultural departments. Many institutions, or more precisely, 1 825 institutions for 2020, do not yet operate in this way. A significant portion of the revenue raised in this way came from non-core services.
Privatisation is another answer to the problem of funding, and the periodic press, publishing, TV and radio, records, film production and distribution, concert organisation, etc., are the areas most affected. At the same time, privatisation has slightly affected the cinema production and distribution industry, which requires significant capital contributions. There are also restrictions on privatisation; for example, the following may not be privatised: state museums, libraries, galleries, historical monuments and cultural assets of international importance.