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Russian on Verge of Moral 'catastrophe" — Filmmakers
Interfax - 4.16.12 - JRL 2012-71

MOSCOW. April 16 (Interfax) - Russia's Union of Cinematographers came out with a statement on Monday in which it lashed out at the standards of Russian cinema, lambasted the Russian media and claimed that Russia is on the verge of a cultural and moral "catastrophe."

"There is nowhere to retreat. Behind us are a great history and a great culture that the new generation of Russians has practically no interest in. Ahead of us is, without any exaggeration, a catastrophe of a country that is incapable of coming up with an intellectual, cultural or demographic response to the challenges of the modern world, a world that will not forgive us for our lack of willpower, primitive thinking poverty, weakness and confusion," said the statement, approved at a meeting of the union's leadership.

"Our country is in danger!" the union warned.

"Sad though it is, one has to admit that the people who have produced Pushkin, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky have degraded to primeval, base goal setting - grab, take advantage of others, push those who fall," it said.

It is essential to "strengthen the cultural and intellectual component of school curricula, introduce new compulsory and optional courses, such as 'One Hundred Best Books and One Hundred Best Films of Russia and the World,' give all forms of support to the teaching of the fundamentals of traditional religions of Russia," the document said.

The union appealed to President-elect Vladimir Putin to intervene. "It is not just about local problems but literally about the cultural and physical survival of the nation," it said.

The union said illiteracy, degradation of gender relationships, and depreciation of family values are features of modern Russian society. "All these diseases put Russia on the verge of disappearance," is said.

Russians find Russian films humiliating and have stopped seeing them, the union said. "Generally speaking, modern Russian cinema is destructive. Not only does it fail to generate love for one's country, for one's near and dear and for other people - it in principle kills off one's desire to live, work and raise children in Russia," the statement said.

The union also attacked the Russian media. "Television, the Internet and the press are becoming tools for of mass-scale immoralizing," it said. "Media that cynically make money on the propaganda of vice cannot be supported by the state, no matter what political line they pursue."

The head of the union, film director Nikita Mikhalkov, insisted at the meeting on the earliest possible appointment of a working group to develop a national cultural and educational strategy.

Keywords: Life in Russia, Culture, Arts - Russian News - Russia