ARMENIA’S CULTURE DURING THE 20 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE – 2011-3

From the Perspective of the Protection of Artistic Heritage

Summary

Ruben S. Anghaladyan (St. Petersburg)

The article is a critical analysis of the difficult fate of Armenian culture during the existence of the 20 years of independence of the Third Armenian Republic. It is accompanied comments and recommendations of a professional nature. The author shows that at the time of the collapse of the USSR, the high quality of Armenian culture that was achieved, compared to the losses it incurred in the 1990s was conditioned largely by the irresponsible attitude of the ruling authorities of the day and by the lack of professionalism by the successive leaders of the Culture Ministry. By disclosing the reasons for the latter’s lack of policy, it is shown how Italy’s experience can be instructive for Armenia, where the state takes fundamental care of the protection of artistic heritage. Meanwhile, the existence of a Culture Ministry in Armenia, from the perspective of social and state interests, in fact provides no benefit, because it has turned into a means for satisfying the personal and collective interests of successive ministers.

The simplistic notions that have taken root in independent Armenia regarding the interchange of culture are subjected to criticism; concrete recommendations are presented to rectify these and to present Armenian culture to the world according to its worth. One of the most serious shortcomings in the country’s cultural policy is accorded a special place in the article and that is the fact of the millions of dollars of worth of cultural treasures that have been accumulated by Diasporan Armenian collectors and which have not been protected and a part of which are now found in museums in the United States, Portugal, Romania, Russia and other countries. To rectify this serious shortcoming, the idea of creating an Armenian Collectors Union is being put forth which could open the way to the establishment of new museums and to make Armenia a touristic center.

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