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Awarding of Presidential Prizes for Young Culture Professionals and for Writing and Art for Children and Young People

March 24, 2017, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin awarded the 2016 Presidential Prize for Young Culture Professionals and the 2016 Presidential Prize for Writing and Art for Children and Young People. The ceremony took place ahead of Culture Worker’s Day, which is celebrated on March 25.

The 2016 Presidential Prize for Young Culture Professionals is awarded to artist and critic Vera Lagutenkova, actor Anton Shagin, and Director of the Arseniev State Museum, Primorye Territory, Viktor Shalai.

The 2016 Presidential Prize for Writing and Art for Children and Young People is awarded to film director Vladimir Grammatikov, children’s writer Anastasia Orlova, and animation artist Leonid Shvartsman.

The Presidential Prize for Young Culture Professionals was established in 2011 and is awarded to Russian citizens up to the age of 35 for creating talented works of literature and art and carrying out creative and cultural research projects.

The Presidential Prize for Writing and Art for Children and Young People was established in 2013 and is awarded for creating talented works of literature and art and carrying our creative and research projects aimed at the civic, patriotic, ethical, cultural and aesthetic education of children and youth.

Three winners are selected for each prize and each receives an award of 2.5 million rubles. The prize can be awarded to an individual or to a team of up to three people.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends, prize winners,

Let me start by conveying my heartfelt congratulations on Culture Worker’s Day to all who work in this area, all those who pursue their talent and vocation in the theatre, cinema, literature, artwork, at concert venues and rural clubs, libraries and museums.

Culture serves as a beacon in our lives, providing a foundation and determining the environment in which we evolve. Culture epitomises a nation’s historical memory and the spiritual energy, which makes the culture worker profession a special, noble and responsible endeavour.

The key purpose in this area is to preserve and expand Russia’s unique cultural heritage, shape and strengthen values that bring together our society, promoting morality, taste, knowledge and behaviour patterns. All this is related to culture. Those who work in this area have a direct impact on the current cultural landscape in our country, its diversity not only in major cities, but also in smaller towns and rural areas.


There is a good tradition to mark Culture Worker’s Day by awarding prizes to young culture professionals and for writing and art for children and young people.

At all times, it was important to search for and find creative language that would appeal to the young generation and help children understand such values as patriotism, justice, generosity, friendship and human decency. These are the qualities that can be attributed to most characters created by Leonid Shvartsman, a veteran of Russian animated cinematography. His filmography includes over 50 films, a huge legacy of hand-drawn and puppet animation that preserves the warmth of this outstanding artist’s hands and soul.

Cheburashka, Gena the Crocodile, Shapoklyak, The Kitten Named Whoof and many other inimitable, moving characters full of kind humour have won millions of children’s – and adults’ – hearts, without exaggeration. These characters stay with us throughout our lives and we pass them on to our children and grandchildren. They remain compelling to every new generation.

Thank you, Mr Shvartsman, for your hard work and for creating an entire universe of animated films so loved by our people.

Among today’s winners is Vladimir Grammatikov, a renowned film director and representative of the top league of Russian cinema. His films always have a clear, open and honest message. They are interesting to both children and adults thanks to their stories about relationships, talented production, sincere and captivating themes and subtle irony.

Mr Grammatikov believes the purpose of art is to give people healing and hope. The same goal connects the participants of the Boomerang National Forum of Screen Arts. This unique cultural project brings together young creators and established masters of filmmaking, television and journalism.

Books for young children are a special area of literature. Funny, kind and imaginative poems and fairy tales by another prize winner, Anastasia Orlova, are well loved by both little kids and their parents. Her writing is highly regarded by fellow writers and followers of Agniya Barto, Samuil Marshak and Kornei Chukovsky.

Vera Lagutenkova has been awarded a prize for her contribution to developing art education in Russia. Ms Lagutenkova is a distinctive and delicate artist capable of portraying the joys of everyday life. She is also an art critic, teacher and exhibition organiser and curator. She finds new and fascinating ways to introduce people to the arts, and she does it with great professionalism and joy. A talented representative of the respected Russian school of painting, she helps talented children and expresses her proactive position in life through her paintings and social work.

Anton Shagin is a young and very talented actor who has proved his ability to play different characters in the theatre and cinema. He has won popularity with his virtuoso portrayal of these characters and a deep understanding of their inner world and the motives for their behaviour and actions.

Viktor Shalai has made it his goal and meaning in life to preserve and popularise Russia’s cultural and historical heritage. He has created many interesting permanent exhibitions at the Arseniev State Museum in Primorye Territory and initiated several important exhibitions and collection exchanges with other regional museums. Mr Shalai’s work at the museum has turned it into a modern cultural, historical and local history space and one of the most popular museums in Russia.

Dear prize winners,

Each of you has convincingly demonstrated your talent, loyalty to your professional choice and your creative endeavour. You have scored impressive results and have proved that this is only possible when you work hard and love your job.

I wholeheartedly thank you for your great contribution to Russia’s cultural development and wish you success and new achievements. Thank you for your attention.


Vladimir Putin: Friends, prize winners,

I would like to respond to what our colleagues have said. I agree with the honourable prize winner about the need to improve intellectual property protection. What we absolutely must do is ensure that this process is transparent. We are thinking about it, and the relevant legislative amendments are being drafted with this objective in mind. I think that we will keep moving in this direction and together, with the support of creative intellectuals, we will achieve results that will not face any criticism or raise concerns, and will work for the people of the arts.

I would now like to challenge what some of the award winners have said about art being the only type of activity where things cannot be done by simply following guidelines or instructions. Of course, guidelines can be used in any activity, even in art. However, I do believe that in any activity there is place for creativity. For example, isn’t there place for creativity in culinary art? Of course there is, I assure you, and you know this all too well.

That said, there is no doubt that in its essence art is all about creativity, to the great joy of those who are involved in this area. It is truly a great joy to be creative. Nothing in my opinion is more gratifying than creating something. When coupled with talent, as is the case for each and every prize winner here today, this creativity benefits millions of people, not only those who create.

For that, we are very grateful.

March 24, 2017, The Kremlin, Moscow