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#12 - JRL 7220
BBC Monitoring
Putin praises Russian democracy as catalyst of cultural development
Source: Radio Mayak, Moscow, in Russian 1100 gmt 10 Jun 03

[Presenter] Vladimir Putin presented state awards for literature and art today. In his speech at the ceremony, Putin said that creative victories are of no less importance to Russia than economic ones.

[Putin] I would be glad to present the state awards for literature and art to you today.

[Passage omitted: Putin congratulates Russian composer Tikhon Khrennikov on his 90th birthday.]

It is good to see that the list of people to be awarded consists not only of famous big names from the capital, but also people from the regions, and these are young people. Among the winners are people working not only in classical types of art, but also in new creative fields, such as aircraft design.

Russian musicians and painters today have an opportunity to work in the way their talents dictate, in accordance with their own views on beauty and justice. Your success is the best proof of it. It is also the proof of the fact that today Russian culture is reviving, living dynamically to its full extent.

Democracy and freedom opened new opportunities for creativity in our country. First of all, an opportunity to develop one's talent. It is older people who understand the value of this opportunity especially well, the older generation of artists. They had to go through severe censorship and ideological barriers. From their own experience, they know what it is to be subjected to mediocrity and have their free artistic spirit rejected.

Today, bright premieres, new popular publications and books, modern architectural complexes and unorthodox designer solutions became an integral part of the nationwide rise of Russia. These creative victories, I want to stress this point, these creative victories mean for us all no less than the numbers of economic growth, or our country's success in the international arena. These victories are needed for people, they allow them to take pride in their country and its achievements.

Once again, we are reassured that spiritual and cultural values have always been and always will be the basis of the authority of a state and the dignity of a society.

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