Russia slashes arts grants by 10 percent

Russia slashes arts grants by 10 percent


norman lebrecht

February 21, 2015

Culture minister Vladimir Medinskiy has announced the cut in person to several institutions, including Mikhail Pletnev and his Russian National Orchestra.

pletnev russian national orch

Among other losers listed today by Izvestia are the Symphonic Capella of Russia (115 million rubles), Goskapella St. Petersburg (100m), Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre (141m), the Moscow Children’s Musical Theatre (114m) Novosibirsk Theatre Opera and Ballet (165m), the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg (139m) and Rostov State Musical Theatre (124m).

Gergiev’s Mariinky Theatre and the Bolshoi are apparently exempted.



  • hypocritesgalore says:

    Is it not the Russian government’s Mariinsky and Bolshoi since they are both state theatres?

  • hypocritesgalore says:

    Does Gergiev own the Mariinsky or is it actually controlled by the government like the Bolshoi? Please clarify for us. Thanks.

  • Milka says:

    Guess they need the money to further the russian invasion of the Ukraine ,
    it seems the Netrebko donation doesn’t get them too far ………

  • william osborne says:

    The Moscow Children’s Music Theater specializes in opera, ballet and dramatic productions for children. The world’s first professional theater for children, it is perhaps best known internationally as the birthplace of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. The theater now stages approximately 30 operas and ballets a year.

    Moscow had 424 opera performances last year. Washington had 41.

    • Milka says:

      Mr. Osborne might also care to note that” moscow” has left a few thousand innocent dead
      in the Ukraine invasion while presenting 424 performances to the living at home . Since Mr.Osborne seems
      to enjoy dealing with numbers perhaps he will give us the figures on how many innocents die in the Ukraine per one “moscow” performance .

      • william osborne says:

        You raise an odd and probably illogical correlation but it’s interesting all the same. The actual correspondence is that the American led sanctions against Russia are hurting its economy, hence the cuts to arts funding.

        Still, wild correlations can open avenues to new perspectives. The ratio between opera performances in Moscow last year and the 4000+ deaths from war in the Ukraine are about 10 to 1. For Washington, who also has a hand in that war, it would be 100 to 1. A wild guess for the EU would be about 3 to 1. I see no innocent parties.

        If we made a ratio for opera performances in Washington and the Iraq War, it would be about 12,000 to 1. (I’m counting 500,000 dead since that’s more or less the average of the various estimates.) Russia looks good by comparison.

        Tolstoy condemned artists like Shakespeare, Goethe and Wagner. He said they wasted their talents because they failed to communicate “simple moral truth” to the masses. We all know how a later regime in Russia equated art with forms of simple political morality for the masses…

        Still, at least a few correlations probably exist. Morality plays a substantial role in how we view art. The perceived correspondence becomes an important part of culture whether the connections are real or not. Just ask all those puritanical Anglo-Saxons, Germanic cultural nationalists, and purveyors of French Enlightenment.

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      And? Over the last 10 years about 250,000 patent applications have been filed with Russia as the priority country. Over the same period 1.8 million have been filed with the United States as the priority country.

      Perhaps this is why Russia produces pretty much nothing anyone wants and why their economy is at the mercy of the price of the one commodity they do produce.

  • Milka says:

    Short of dragging in the kitchen sink Mr. Osborne certainly wanders far afield in trying
    to prove his point.The question was simple & direct , but we get everything from the kitchen
    sink to Iraq to Tolstoy . While I find Tolstoy a bore much preferring Flaubert , the thought
    remains , 424 performances and over 4000 murdered innocents…but for Mr. Osborne it seems a never mind as long as he can show that moscow has more performances than
    Washington …..One wonders how he would feel knowing that if in his home town each time he went to a concert 10 people were murdered while he was ushered to his seat .

    • william osborne says:

      The usual: Cuts to the Children’s Theater of Moscow and opera performances are irrelevant on an arts blog. Only the war in the Ukraine counts…

      • Milka says:

        That one can write on opera and children’s entertainment while dismissing 4000 + murdered innocents takes some doing and then to note with surprise that the murders are mentioned
        on an arts blog . does tell us a great deal about the writer .One wonders how many
        Ukrainian children are killed never see a Children’s Theatre while the moscow child attends Children’s Theatre opera
        and might seemingly suffer the discomfort of fewer performances , how unfair ……..

  • Anon says:

    Mr. Lebrecht, please don’t use the revealing language of the ignoramuses and enemies of the arts.
    State funds for the arts are NOT grants. They are by nature investments. (If the precondition of public access is realized.)