Irada Ayupova about fate of National Library on Kremlin Street: ''Nobody kicks us out of the old building''

In an informal talk with journalists, the Tatarstan minister of culture told about new principles of the book depository, new museums and ways of development of national culture

Irada Ayupova invited journalists to Smena Contemporary Culture Centre to informally talk about related problems and have a cup of coffee on 11 October. It's the first appearance of the new Tatarstan minister of culture in public in this format: the dialogue turned out to be intense and informative. Realnoe Vremya's correspondent collected several most interesting statements of Irada Ayupova.

About true values and driver of culture development

''Many things in our culture today are a sublimated product like coffee pods when we take when we can, so to speak. There is an opportunity to study in a music school – you go and study. But culture itself isn't a sublimated product. It's a product that has its own traditions, its own aroma…''

''I think we can't allow the state to hear only cultural establishments that are financed by the budget. Initiatives ''from the ground'' are motivated more.''

''Lack of awareness generates a fantasy, while being aware means trust. I'd like to talk about how to increase trust between society and those who represent politics in culture.''

''Now we think if we suit the new project, in the NCC. But nobody kicks us out of the old building.'' Photo: culture.ru

About move of National Library to Kazan NCC's building

''It had been discussed until yesterday how it should be. In the concept we insist on, it must be a European model. Most funds are in depositories today, not in the public domain. The model in Europe is different: a person approaches a shelf, takes a book, reads and the puts the book back. We go to the library when we study at school, university, do scientific research. I liked the slogan I saw in Petersburg: 'Library, career, growth'. When we switch to the concept 'Study for life', the role of the library changes – you go there to develop. It's the library we need to create.''

If National Library will go on possessing the building on Kremlin Street

''Now we think if we have enough room in the new project, in the NCC. But nobody kicks us out of the old building. I'm madly in love with this building. There is a magnificent Oak Hall, which is made of papier-mâché. If Krupskaya didn't give this building for the library, we wouldn't probably see this papier-mâché: the hygroscopy of books saved it from destruction… This needs to be shown to people, this beauty must be available!''

About museum exposition of Kazan NCC and new museum buildings

''Undoubtedly, we have neither legal foundation nor desire to divide this collection. It has many exhibits that aren't in the public domain today… Most part of this collection will move to the Kazan Kremlin Museum. But we understand it was exhibits linked with Shalyapin's name. For instance, it's the part we can give to Gorky Museum and Shalyapin Museum for temporary use.''

''Most part of this collection will move to the Kazan Kremlin Museum. But we understand it was exhibits linked with Shalyapin's name. For instance, it's the part we can give to Gorky Museum and Shalyapin Museum for temporary use.'' Photo: nkc-kazan.ru

''We're getting ready to move to the Contemporary Art Gallery [on 57 Marx Street] in early November, it's a new building I like very much… Almost all the Kremlin is given for the library, all public offices. Now we're creating the concept of the Kazan Kremlin Museum. Please, write us if you have offers, what you'd like to see in this museum.''

If Kazan will lose Tatar culture centre when NCC closes

''Everything must be balanced. We can't say a big number of cultural establishments of Kazan aren't Tatar culture centres because it's centres of the city. For example, the Galiaskar Kamal Theatre, I think the republic doesn't have a more advanced and visited Tatar culture centre than the Galiaskar Kamal Theatre today. Could you name the brightest, large-scale event linked with the promotion of Tatar culture that has been in Kazan NCC in the last years?''

''There will be created at least four areas for communication in the National Library – an event hall and another three additional rooms where some events can be held. And, of course, the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan must be a centre of communication of all national communities… We need to expend the cultural space!''

About outside perspective

''We will probably create a site where one can have a blog, for example, on the ministry's portal. We often don't see the good things we have… While people – tourists, students – come here with certain expectations. It's very indicative how much their expectations are met and what they expect, which we need to hear. And if someone wants to have a blog about Kazan being in Saint Petersburg, it will be interesting for me, I will know where I don't work enough.''

''I think the republic doesn't have a more advanced and visited Tatar culture centre than the Galiaskar Kamal Theatre today.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

About conditions for creative growth

''We can't be good for everyone, not creating a comfortable environment for everyone. Demography has such a term as western drift. People try to move to the West. We need to create such conditions so that people will come here, not the conditions to make our youth look for a place for creative self-expression somewhere.''

About Tatar Song festival's tasks

''The main task is to make the Tatar song understandable outside the republic too… The problem is where to move. There must be a quality repertoire. And Tatar pop culture, the contemporary Tatar song – they are all similar to each other, this 'untz untz untz' that fills everything. Today the pop world is very segmented. There is a problem of creating a musical repertoire that would be designed for all generations, that would unite people.''

About 'the most important art'

''What is cinema? Cinema is an ideology. Today we are developing the Muslim film festival. What a gimmick should it have to be distinctive, not to be lost in a series of a big number of film festivals held today? Cinema must answer questions, it's what we wait. And pop cinema won't survive. And we can invite others' directors. But, first of all, we need to save our own staff. Why should we transmit others' thoughts? Isn't it better inviting our young directors, promoting our own staff?''

About cultural development strategy

''The consumption culture that's actively inserted in our life and our consciousness led to the situation where we live with very brief periods of time. The world changes very fast. And there must be a long-term strategy, we should understand what we want to see in the end. And this strategy can't be imposed, a uniting element is needed here. We've undertaken this job, and the Ministry of Culture is among those ministries that chose priorities considering the public opinion.''

''What does to save us as a people, as Tatar people mean? To save the language? To save the culture, costume, food, mentality or the system of values? What is a system of values? Today a big number of people base it on the religious component. It's very important that different forms of identity don't contradict each other. It's a very complicated task – to see yourself in the future.''

By Inna Serova
Tatarstan

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