On October 28, at the Korston Entertainment Complex, Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, State Counsellor of the republic, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Revival Reginal Foundation, UNESCO Special Envoy for Intercultural Dialogue Mintimer Shaimiev, Executive Secretary of Russian Federation Commission for UNESCO Affairs Grigory Ordzhonikidze, Deputy Chairman of the regional State Council, Executive Director of the Revival Regional Foundation Tatiana Larionova, Minister of Culture of the republic Airat Sibagatullin, President of Russia's ICOMOS National Committee (ICOMOS Russia) Alexander Kudryavtsev, heads of regional state agencies for the protection of cultural heritage, representatives of World Heritage sites, National Commissions for UNESCO Affairs, expert communities of Russian regions and CIS countries took part in the All-Russian Conference “Russia in the world culture and natural heritage”.
A plenary session held by Director of the Department of State Protection of Cultural Heritage Sites of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation Vladimir Tsvetnov discussed experience of Tatarstan in the implementation of international scientific and cultural projects, the inclusion of a number of sites in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List, the issue of creating mechanisms for the promotion of Russian cultural and natural sites in the UNESCO heritage list and cooperation with international experts and organizations. Also, a presentation of sites proposed by the Russian regions of Russia for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List was held.
Speaking at the conference, Vladimir Medinsky said that only 29 of 1073 sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, are located in Russia. Eighteen of them are cultural monuments, and the other sites are nature monuments. Our country ranks ninth in terms of the number of such monumnets among world leaders.
"The ninth place does not correspond neither to the scale of our country, nor to its role in the formation and processes of the development of world civilization. We provide overall support to those regions that pay attention to the preservation of cultural heritage sites and work to include them in the world list,” he stressed.
Medinsky noted that it was not a random choice to hold the forum in Kazan. There are three World Heritage sites, including the Kazan Kremlin, the ancient city of Bolgar and the complex of the Dormition Monastery in the island-town of Sviyazhsk in the republic.
The federal minister added that the inclusion of the site in the World Heritage List is not only a way to preserve the cultural monument, but also a powerful economic incentive because UNESCO sites attract tourists.
"Tatarstan has gained a lot of experience in preparation of sites, documentation, presentations of sites for their inclusion in the list. And we would like Tatarstan to share this experience. We are always ready to provide support to the regions that are moving in this direction,” Medinsky said, adding that there are five more Russian sites proposed for the inclusion in the UNESCO list.
Before giving the floor to the next speaker, Medinsky mentioned that he had visited the ancient Bolgar the day before and had been impressed by the world's largest Koran. "Let me give you a copy of one of the rarest editions of the Koran. There are only five printed copies of this book,” he addressed Shaimiev.
From this day on, the sacred book will take a worthy place in the Museum of the Koran in Bolgar, Shaimiev promised.
Shaimiev told participants of the conference about the seven-year activity of the Revival Regional Foundation, cooperation between Tatarstan and UNESCO, the World Heritage Committee, experts from ICOMOS, ICROM.
Shaimiev also touched upon the issue of Russia’s participation in the development of the UNESCO Silk Road transnational nomination. He noted that the Great Silk Road goes through those territories of Russia that have recognized cultural heritage sites. "These sites will beautify the Silk Road. We have already started this work. The Tatar-Nogai Corridor will apprear in Tatarstan," he noted.
Addressing the Minister of Culture of Russia, State Counsellor of the republic noted the need to set up a working group in this nomination at the federal level, with its centre being located in Kazan. "This is the right proposal. We have already discussed it. There is a saying: offer if you disagree, do if you offer, and be in charge of what you do. We fully support your proposal and suggest that you should head this group,” he answered. Shaimiev has not accepted the proposal yet, but promised to think about people who can be involved in this project.
Today Russia has officially started its participation in the Silk Road transnational nomination, which was confirmed by Medinsky during his meeting with journalists.