The Second Slavic Arts Forum “Golden Knight” (Zolotoy Vityaz) convened on May 25, bringing together famous cinematographers, writers, musicians, artists, and union chairmen to appeal to the Kremlin to adopt a change to cultural policy in Russia. The appeal posted on the website of the “Golden Knight” on May 26 comes in the wake of government initiative to establish the Public Oversight Council (ONS: Obshchestvennyi nabliudatel’nyi sovet), an independent nonprofit organization that would prevent “the moral degradation of society” by controlling the output of mass media and the arts. Without such a control in place the group fears the continued degradation of Russian national culture and its citizens. The Golden Knight presses the Kremlin to take a more proactive role in defining its position and strategy for maintaining the prestige of Russian culture, citing the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation until 2020 (available here), in particular: "Enhancing national security in the sphere of culture will contribute to the preservation and development of native cultures of the multinational people of the Russian Federation, the spiritual values of citizens. The Public Oversight Board would oversee the media’s adherence to this code of ethics, ensuring the security of Russian national culture and, perhaps more importantly, the security of the Russian polity as a whole.
Though the forum explicitly states that the control imposed by the Public Oversight Board would have “nothing to do with the political censorship of the recent historical past” (harking back to the heavy policing of culture and society during the Soviet period), the Russian blogosphere has erupted into a debate about the future of Russian culture under the auspices of the board. Although RIA Novosti reported on May 27 that the Kremlin opposed the Golden Knight initiative, citing the introduction of censorship to be contrary to the Russian constitution, the government continues to support limitations of media coverage. Blogger Roman Dobrokhotov posted a letter addressed to the signatories of the Golden Knight appeal on his Livejournal account that simply told the cultural figures to “Go to hell!” accompanied by a number of signatures in opposition to the change in official cultural policy. On the Livejournal account of Kseniya Larina a debate ensued about the viability of new cultural policy under the control of the Public Oversight Board and the Kremlin between the users dronetz and world_japan, espousing neo-Soviet and post-Soviet views, respectively.
The Russian public continues to find itself in an identity crisis as older generations, such as those listed in the Golden Knight appeal, continue to hold on to the last bastions of an ideal that the Soviet system promised to give them, while recent generations cope with the Soviet past and valorize a brighter future that does not stem from the Soviet experience, but instead challenges the political authoritarianism of the Kremlin today.
Articles referred to in this post:
«Российские артисты попросили содать организацию для контроля СМИ» (Russian artists were asked to establish an organization to control the media)
«Блогеры начали сбор подписей против контроля СМИ» (Bloggers have begun the collecting of signatures against the control of the media)
«Вот вам всем!!! Письмо вождям от «Золотых витязей» русской культуры» (Here’s to you all! Letter to the leaders of the “Golden Knights” of Russian culture)
«Стратегия национальной безопасности Российской Федерации до 2020 года» (National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation until 2020)
«Кремль выступил против общественного контроля за СМИ» (The Kremlin has opposed public control over the media)
«Заявление участников конференции «Культурная политика России – будущее государства» (Statement of the Conference on the Cultural Policy of Russia – the future of the state)