Award enlarges circle of laureates

People’s Artist of the BSSR and USSR Rostislav Yankovsky joins People’s Artists of Belarus Leonid Shchemelev and Georgy Poplavsky, and sculptor Sergey Gumilevsky in revealing artistic plans and explaining the importance of the Union State Award
By Vladimir Yakovlev

This year, the award celebrates its tenth jubilee and has so far recognised 22 poets, artistes, composers and painters, whose talents reflect the unity of Belarusians and Russians. “It’s clear why we’ve gathered here,” noted Mr. Yankovsky at the awards ceremony. “Nations exist when they have a defined culture; no nationhood is possible without this. The Union State Award highlights the proximity of Belarus and Russia. I’ve been awarded jointly with wonderful Russian actor Alexander Kalyagin, which I’ll remember for a long time.”

Of course, those awarded have many artistic ideas still to explore, as Leonid Shchemelev, 90, asserts; his personal show opens soon and promises to be fascinating.

There has been discussion as to whether criteria for proposing laureates may be changed, with a separate nomination for young authors perhaps introduced.Ivan Yanovich, who heads Social Policy Department of the Social Policy and Information Support Directorate of the Union State Standing Committee, tells us, “We are preparing an amendment to the Union State Award, aiming to enhance the quality of applications and open its doors to a wider variety of projects: all devoted to the establishment and modern development of our Union. We’ll probably decide that only proposals dating from after Belarus-Russia Union establishment can be submitted. The draft awards project has already been studied by our Belarusian and Russian culture ministries and is now being considered by our finance ministries, for onward viewing by Union State supreme bodies.

Candidates for the 2013-2014 Union State Award can now be proposed, with applications studied by the council of the Russian and Belarusian culture ministries. This features the most authoritative figures of art and representatives of artistic unions and state agencies, including People’s Artiste of Belarus Alexander Yefremov. He promises that all works are judged honestly, objectively and without bias.
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