Irada Ayupova: ‘Planned indicators were completely reset because of the pandemic’

Spectators went online while theatres and galleries stood empty

Irada Ayupova: ‘Planned indicators were completely reset because of the pandemic’

The pandemic had an ambiguous effect on the implementation of Culture national project in Tatarstan: planned projects were implemented, the budget wasn’t sequestrated, but the attendance plan failed, Realnoe Vremya found out. However, a spectator who missed high art went online — transmissions increased many times. Private theatres, museums and galleries were hit by the coronavirus the most — even grants the Tatarstan Ministry of Culture tried to support them with didn’t help.

Actual attendance fell, virtual one grew

Tatarstan Minister of Culture Irada Ayupova admitted that the current year is a crisis for the sphere of art. Nevertheless, this didn’t influence numbers of Culture national project in 2020.

“The state has fully fulfilled its obligations. The money aimed at the national project hasn’t been sequestrated, frozen, we have spent it as usual. I can’t say the coronavirus infection didn’t influence the national project, it influenced our numbers in the performance of the national project. If last year we had around 28 million real visits, this year we expect the number of visits will be lower. It is about 20 million at best if we have a smooth epidemiological situation. If some restrictions are imposed again, of course, we won’t have the 20 million. Today we say that we have had about 9 million out of 14,5 million scheduled for nine months.”

“If last year we had around 28 million real visits, this year we expect the number of visits will be lower. It is about 20 million at best if we have a smooth epidemiological situation,” Ayupova noted. Photo: Maksim Platonov

The minister admits that a catastrophic attendance of cultural establishments because of the coronavirus pandemic is reported not only in Tatarstan but also across the country:

“The indicators planned in the second quarter were completely reset at federal level. The third quarter had very low accuracy. So now the Russian Ministry of Culture is deciding on the plan for the third quarter, that’s to say, what numbers we must have because the situation in the regions is different.”

However, the people who are hungry for art rushed to the Internet. Ayupova noted that the number of virtual views of transmissions of cultural events increased many times: about 24 million requests in different online resources were registered in Tatarstan. For instance, transmissions of traditional folk celebrations on social media turned out in high demand.

The virtual demand will remain a priority for 2021 as well, as it provides a wide quantitative and geographic coverage. But the ministry hopes that they won’t anyway have to close theatres, concert and exhibition halls people missed during their stay at home and are visiting actively now.

Private establishments have suffered from the pandemic the most. If public establishments at least received subsidies, the non-public sector just calculated losses. Ayupova noted that the ministry tried to help them with grants, but this doesn’t compensate for all losses and expenses.

Private establishments have suffered from the pandemic the most. Public establishments at least received subsidies. Photo: Maksim Platonov

229,3 million rubles for 2020

Despite a difficult situation, according to the minister, all events in Culture national project planned for this year have taken place. Tatarstan has been given even more money from the federal budget to repair art schools — almost 250 million rubles.

Over 229,3 million rubles are envisaged for Culture national project in 2020. More than 137,2 million of the sum comes from the federal budget, over 92,1 — from the republican one. We should remind you that Culture national project includes three federal projects — Cultural Environment, Creative People and Digital Culture.

This year, Naberezhnye Chelny State Puppet Theatre was repaired, 14 educational establishments in culture received new musical instruments and equipment, 3 municipal libraries were created, 5 rural clubs were built with the money of the national project.

This year, Naberezhnye Chelny State Puppet Theatre was repaired with the money of the national project. Photo: chelny-puppet.ru

Five children’s art festivals were held, a thousand specialists upgraded their qualifications, 3 big festivals took place, 12 exhibitions were organised, five educational programmes were fulfilled in Creative People project.

5 virtual concert halls were created, the fund of digitalised papers of the National Digital Library was replenished with 500 books, 3 multimedia guides to expositions and exhibition projects were created within Digital Culture project.

“It isn’t just investments, improvement of the infrastructure of cultural establishments, instruments we supplied to art schools, it is a gesture from the state, priority setting — what the government considers important on the agenda,” the minister stressed.

Money after contest

Dry numbers in reports were complemented by the emotions of those who received the money. Director of the Oleg Lundstrem Children’s Music School No. 16 in Kazan Nataliya Protasova said that the school was specialised in jazz. It means they need rare expensive musical instruments. Thanks to the national project, the school received 40 types of instruments at more than 7,5 million rubles, including 6 Glinka pianos, which are worth 685,000 rubles each, sound and lighting equipment, a radio system with microphones, interactive and magnet boards, furniture.

“It isn’t just investments, improvement of the infrastructure of cultural establishments, instruments we supplied to art schools, it is a gesture from the state, priority setting — what the government considers important on the agenda,” Ayupova stressed.

“We bought saxophones for 200-300,000 rubles and give them to children. I am a director, I don’t have such instruments. While children are excited,” Protasova noted.

Director of Ilbukhtino Rural Culture Centre Yelena Paymilina from Tukay District said that a new rural club would open on 10 October instead of a ramshackle building erected in 1932. In the absence of a school and kindergarten, the Culture Centre is the only place where people can gather and spend their leisure time. The new Culture Centre has all utilities, the hall can house 200 people, there is a dressing room, library.

“Our happiness is indescribable, it is a big event for the village where about only 500 people are registered, while more people live there in fact,” Paymullina emphasised.

Director of Novy Kyrlay Rural Library Elvira Vafina said that 5 million rubles were allocated to modernise and equip the library. The fund of books has had almost 6,700 new books. An interactive floor and wall projector were installed for little readers in the library. The opening was on 19 September.

Director of Novy Kyrlay Rural Library Elvira Vafina said that 5 million rubles were allocated to modernise and equip the library. The fund of books has had almost 6,700 new books. Photo: tatar-inform.ru

Vafina admitted they directly worked with federal agencies whose office is in Kazan, in the National Library, while she compared the preparation of documentation to writing a dissertation.

Irada Ayupova explained that all projects were selected on a basis of content, the decision on their funding is made in Moscow. The contests are open, but the size of a settlement, number of cultural establishments and other criteria are taken into account. For instance, the main requirement for the supply of musical instruments is that not only Kazan schools but also schools in other cities of the republic should get them. As for rural clubs, culture centres can be built or repaired in a small village as well if it has local unique traditions.

By Eleonora Rylova
Tatarstan