Polotsk has hosted an on-site session of the Social Affairs Commission of the Council of the Republic. The agenda was extremely relevant: application of a new revision of the “Museums and Museum Holding Law”. Senators did not visit Polotsk by accident: the city rightfully lays claim to the title of a museum city. Big money is invested in the city’s cultural, social, and tourist spheres. Yards, parks and the Dvina river riverside are accomplished. This year alone BYR 1.4 billion will be spent on road reconstruction. Last year saw the 11th Polotsk nature and environment museum open! According to official statistics, up to 300,000 tourists and the same number of pilgrims visit the city every year. Polotsk Mayor Vladimir Tochilo believes, adoption of a 2006–2015 Polotsk social and economic development programme will boost the region’s tourism industry and open sparkling prospects before the city.
The Polotsk project is unparalleled in Belarus. Experience of Russian Suzdal will have to be studied in detail, proprietary legal and economic bases will be developed. Director of the National Polotsk History and Culture Museum Nikolai Ilnitskiy reckons, a free economic tourism zone can be set up on experimental basis just like in Novgorod, for instance.
The project implementation will surely need huge money. But as Bishop of Polotsk and Glubokoye Feodosiy told the session, “There are no more profitable investments than investments in people”. Otherwise, we would not be able to avoid a crisis in culture and spirituality.
According to the commission’s chairperson Anatoly Novikov, the new revision of the “Museums and Museum Holding Law” is a good and important document, but for it to be of use to people, corresponding bylaws are required. The commission is ready to hear out any proposals on the point. Besides, the senators decided to approve the 2006–2015 Polotsk social and economic development programme, to suggest that the Cabinet of Ministers should assign the status of “indivisible historical and cultural centre” to Polotsk. Besides, the commission members agreed Sofia Cathedral and Spaso-Preobrazhenskaya Church should be listed as part of the world cultural heritage.
by Sergei Olesnik