Russian kids are to have a happy childhood

Russian President Vladimir Putin strictly criticized the situation with childrens' upbringing in Russia. Much was said about the problem during yesterday’s session of the Sports and Culture Committee attached to the president (it was created in November’2001). Russian society is now experiencing an ideological vacuum: the previous Soviet system of values has been destroyed, but no new system has yet been created. In Putin’s words, children suffer the most of all.

The problem “Culture and Children” was the key issue discussed at the council’s session. The problem has been pressing over the whole period of the post-Soviet era.

ORT Russian television reported on the president’s reports at the session. Vladimir Putin says that it is very important to settle “the problems that hamper the creation of a normal spiritual milieu for children and youth on the whole. The creation of the milieu is extremely important for the upbringing of a normal generation in Russia. Today, our children meet a complicated world face to face. The loneliness of children, neglect of families, devaluation of cultural values, and a deficit in upbringing cause juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, and runaways. A new pedagogics, new system for school, and family upbringing are to be created.

On the whole, we need a new state policy in the cultural sphere. This is to be a policy aimed at creating programs (not finding the reasons in the break-up of the Soviet Union) that will meet the traditional values of the Russian people and Russian civilization. Creative intellectuals should “create a system of cultural values in accordance with the present-day demands," but it should not be influenced by the mass culture invading Russia from the West. The new culture is to oust negative heroes and poor topics from mass media.

The president paid special attention to broadcasting for children in the country. Indeed, we have a situation where children need to be kept away from the TV to be well educated and mentally healthy. Russian television with its Pokemons, Potters, Telebubbies, Batmen, Sesame Streets and Disneys and other awful inventions for kids causes serious damage to them. Vladimir Putin thinks that, instead of these characters, good native heroes and personalities of Russian fairytales should appear. More educational programs for kids are to be created. The popular TV program “Good Night, Children” will soon appear on TV again in its new, improved form.

Russia’s Press and Media Minister Mikhail Lesin will take up the problem with licenses for TV programs designed for kids. The president said, “Many central and public TV channels do not observe the license conditions concerning programs for kids. This means control over the observance of the license requirements is to be introduced in the sphere. The Ministry for Press and Media is to pay special attention to it. On the whole, national TV broadcasting for kids is to be developed.” In addition to the problems with television broadcasting for kids, theatres, cinema, and books for children are experiencing great problems as well. A national state program for the support to children's literature will be developed within the nearest time.

The statistics is terrible: only 2% of Russian families spend over 500 rubles monthly on the intellectual upbringing of their children. Even worse, the majority of Russian families can't spend more than 50 rubles each month on theatres, cinemas, philharmonic societies, and books for children.

President Putin admits that “integration into the market” is an important condition for a culture a the modern society. It is not to be a primitive market of culture but “a modern cultural industry that will make for the consolidation of the national self-consciousness." The new culture will strengthen Russia’s position in world civilization.

The president expects that the session will bring results. However, the attitude of the session’s participants to the problem and resistance to the innovation will be rather strong.

The presidential administration, the government, the RF parliament, and even some local authorities do not share Putin’s views on the problem, not to mention the national media, which are expected to be the main performer of the presidential initiatives. Lots of caustic remarks followed appearance of Vladimir Putin at yesterday’s session.

Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian:

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