Dear Mr Prime Minister,
We are addressing the Government of Ukraine in the light of the extremely difficult situation in the Ukrainian culture due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of quarantine in the country. Firstly, let us assure you that as experienced managers, we understand and support the expediency of restrictions to prevent the collapse of the medical system and preserve the health of the maximum number of citizens.
At the same time, institutions and generators of the cultural sector are primarily affected by the measures due to the inability to conduct public activities. The abandonment of public events - such as exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, performances, etc. - instantly results in the rapid decline in income of all those who have invested their time, efforts and funds to make the culture accessible, of high quality and well organised in Ukraine. The Ukrainian cultural institutions and independent producers are now facing the shortages of resources to pay salaries, fund emergency or restoration works, and even have such pressing needs as the protection of the state part of the Ukrainian museum fund. This does not merely threaten the development or freeze of the achievements of recent years which is a common threat experienced and overcome or counteracted by the cultural sphere. Today, the threat is much more serious: it is the collapse of the institutional system and the loss of the whole generation of talented creators and cultural managers. This situation is typologically similar to the situation in Ukraine during the 1990s.
Therefore, we urge to seriously consider these risks and, together with the cultural community, the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, make every effort to minimise them. First of all, we consider it necessary to redirect the development expenditures foreseen for culture or other purposes within the budgets of the main administrators managing the cultural institutions to the current institutional support. The jobs and the proper security of the institutions must be maintained. To this end, it is very important to forego the potential reduction in wage appropriation. It is essential to take the full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Ukrainian Cultural Fund and the Ukrainian Book Institute to address the problems arising from the current crisis. These are extremely important institutions from which are now expected the support as never before.
We call to listen to the suggestions of the Ukrainian Cultural Fund and Ukrainian Book Institute to reformat their programmes with a view to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, to preserve the financing of the projects by the Ukrainian Cultural Fund, which budget is primarily intended to support the cultural generators, and thus help them overcome the crisis. It is important to maintain and promote the programmes of the Ukrainian Book Institute to support the Ukrainian publishing industry which has made significant progress over the last decade. The same goes for the movie production: the success of recent years has been made possible thanks to the continued support through the Derzhkino's mechanisms given that filmmaking is a long-standing process. The abrupt cessation of support will devalue investments which have already been made (in particular, co-financing from international partners), provoking disqualification and loss of staff.
Convinced that, having analysed all the risks and taking decisive but balanced steps first and foremost aimed at protecting Ukrainians from the pandemic but also avoiding the devastating consequences for Ukrainian culture, we will overcome this challenge together.
Executive Director of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation
General director of the Mystetskyi Arsenal National Arts and Culture Museum Complex
Director of the Ukrainian Book Institute
Director General of the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre
Director General of the Ukrainian Institute