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Culture requires funds

The Primorsky Theater of Opera and Ballet acquires a reputation as an unbearable burden for the regional budget, and the management of the Theater, meanwhile, does not lose hope to increase its target audience at the expense of tourists

Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater has become one of the unique social and cultural facilities erected in Vladivostok for the APEC-2012 summit. Like other objects of the Summit heritage (airport, bridges, guest track, student campus on Russky Island), the Opera and Ballet Theater was designed to stimulate the flow of tourists to the city and the region - that part of it that is primarily aimed at cultural leisure. But this task has not yet been solved.

Culture requires funds
The Temple of Art periodically experiences financial difficulties (there are problems with the payment of wages to employees and debts to counterparties in the economic part), which are mainly solved through subsidies from the regional budget. The population of Vladivostok and Primorye as a whole (about 600 thousand and 2 million people, respectively) is obviously too small to provide the Theater with the necessary influx of aesthetically and spiritually oriented audience.

“On average, the attendance at the Theater's events is now around 70%,” executive director Sergei Samodov said in an interview with East Russia, “But I would not rush to talk about the insignificance of the audience in Vladivostok. Gradually, it is being created. Most of the spectators are locals, but already now 10-15% from all spectators are tourists. Unfortunately, the tourism industry woke up too late. Projects that are now generated mainly by the Theater and are beginning to be implemented in conjunction with travel agencies should have started back in 2013. But the tourism industry frankly missed this period. Better late than never. Now attracting tourists to the Theater is one of our priorities. Theater events must be present in most tourist routes and products. I am glad that representatives of the tourism industry have finally realized this. And now our cooperation is extremely constructive and, which is important for business, mutually beneficial. "

While the tourism industry is swinging in terms of attracting audiences from other regions and countries to the Theater, the cultural institution is in a state of certain financial turbulence, however, happily avoiding falling into too critical "air pockets". Thus, in May this year, financial audits were initiated against the Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater by the Territory Control and Accounts Chamber, as a result of which an excess of subsidized annual expenses in the amount of over 200 million rubles was revealed. The case threatened to turn into a scandal and involve the management of the Theater not only to administrative responsibility.

But, as Sergey Samodov explained, the misunderstanding was successfully resolved: “It's just that the PCB initially calculated the amount of planned annual expenses for 2014 based on the fixed standard - the cost of one impression. We multiplied this standard by the planned number of impressions - here is the amount for the execution of the state assignment, excluding utility costs. But we, having a fixed regional subsidy for the execution of the state assignment, in 2014 exceeded the plan for impressions twice. The KSP employees multiplied the actual number of impressions by the standard - and received an amount exceeding the subsidy by 200 million rubles. However, the subsidy itself did not increase from the fact that we exceeded the plan. It's just that the de facto cost of one impression has decreased - we managed to carry out impressions for an amount that is less than the approved standard. Extra-budgetary sources were used for a number of events ”.
Today, according to Samodov, the Theater faces the task of ensuring its activities with the help of a consolidated budget: “It includes both the regional subsidy for the execution of the state assignment and extra-budgetary receipts. Donations from members of the Board of Trustees go to the targeted direction - to create performances and organize tours. Income from income-generating activities (cash receipts) are allocated to expenses, which in terms of financial and economic activities are referred to as extra-budgetary. Thus, we provide security and cleaning services for the Theater events, rent apartments for nonresident creative employees, purchase the necessary consumables for the current activities and operation of engineering systems ... ".

Requests of theatergoers do not convince deputies ...

At the last meeting of the Legislative Assembly, the deputies decided to allocate a subsidy to the Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater from the regional budget in the amount of 49,5 million rubles. At the same time, with the proviso - "for the last time." And the discussion itself - whether or not it is necessary to allocate money to the Theater to pay off all its debts - caused emotional discussions between parliamentarians on the one hand and officials of the regional administration, the leadership of the Theater - on the other. The first vice-governor of the Primorsky Territory Vasily Usoltsev, convincing the regional deputies to allocate additional funding to the Theater, reminded them that there is very little to be patient: from January 1, 2016, this cultural institution will become part of the Mariinsky Theater and will switch to federal funding, which will allow the regional budget free up funds in the amount of almost 350 million rubles.
At the same time, 49,5 million rubles allocated through additional funding went to the Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater to compensate for business expenses and pay off wage arrears - for July, August, September. There are still almost three months left until the end of the year, so the deputies do not exclude new requests for additional funding from the leadership of the Theater.

“It is very likely that at the end of December the management of the Theater will again ask from the regional budget for several tens of millions of rubles in subsidies to compensate for various expenses incurred by the creative team in October, November and December. And the very fact of the transfer of the Primorsky Theater to the Mariinsky, frankly, raises doubts. I have not seen a single official document confirming this. It is possible that the regional budget will not get rid of this burden next year. At the same time, neither me nor my colleagues in the regional deputy corps were convinced by the arguments of the management of the Opera and Ballet Theater that their expenses were justified. In particular, we were not provided with any intelligible information about how much money is spent on the remuneration of the theater's management staff. And the question also arises - why the Primorsky Regional Academic Theater, having a budget several times smaller than the Opera and Ballet Theater, manages to reduce debit to credit, and the newly-minted temple of art is unable to cope with this on its own, ”he said in an interview with ... "East Russia" critical position of the regional deputy corps Vladimir Bespalov, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Fiscal Policy and Financial Resources of the Legislative Assembly of the Primorsky Territory.


The State Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater in Vladivostok was opened on October 18, 2013. The theater is designed after the model of the opera house in Goyang (South Korea). A detailed acoustic design was used to create the interiors and equipment. Large stage pockets allow you to mount the scenery parallel to the course of the show. According to experts, the theater entered the top ten best halls in Russia. The theater is unique not only in technical equipment, but also in the composition of creative and technical specialists. The average salary of a creative team at the Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater is about 50 thousand rubles. At the same time, it is often necessary to attract artists from other cities, who have additional expenses for renting housing (in Vladivostok, there are no or almost no ballet dancers or opera soloists, and the city also experiences a certain shortage of musicians).
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