HistoryMajor International Projects Publications UNESCO IFAP
IFAP Russian Committee / History
The Implementation in Russia of the UNESCO Information for All Programme as a Project of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation (2000-2004) and the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography (2004 up to Now)
Tatyana L. Manilova,
Head of the Department of Libraries of the Board of Cultural Heritage, Art Education and Science of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography (2005 up to now), Deputy Head of the Department of Libraries, Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation (1997-2004),
Ìarks N. Usachev,
Head of the Department of Libraries of the Board of Cultural Heritage, Art Education and Science of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography (2004-2005), Deputy Head of the Department of Libraries, Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation (1997-2004),
Victoria Ì. Krasilshchikova,
Adviser to the Department of Libraries of the Board of Cultural Heritage, Art Education and Science of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography (since 2005), Adviser to the Department of Libraries, Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation (1991-2004), Executive Secretary, Russian National Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme (since 2000)
How It All Started in UNESCO
Work on the Information for All Programme started in UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in spring 2000.
It based on the UNESCO experience of implementing two essential UNESCO Programmes of the previous decades—the Intergovernmental Informatics Programme (IIP) and the General Information Programme. Launched in the 1980s, both Programmes promoted the establishment of a basis of international communications development, and determined the development of one of the UNESCO priorities of the 1990s—Communications, Information and Informatics at the Service of Mankind.
Three decisions of the UNESCO ruling bodies—the General Conference and the Executive Board—led to the launching of the Information for All Programme.
The 29th session of the UNESCO General Conference session of the UNESCO General Conference, in October 1997, determined to convene the meetings envisaged by the Regulations of the Intergovernmental Council for the General Information Programme and the Intergovernmental Committee of the International Informatics Programme, and of the Bureaus of those Programmes as joint sessions, thus promoting the adoption by the 30th session of the General Conference of a balanced decision on the tentative merger of those two intergovernmental Programmes or any other relevant decision.
In October 1999, the 30th session of the UNESCO General Conference adopted a resolution stipulating a new Programme to bring together the General Information Programme and the Intergovernmental Informatics Programme.
In April 2000, the 60th session of the UNESCO Executive Board determined to organize team efforts necessary to adapt UNESCO activities to the challenges of the information society, and to replace the General Information Programme and the Intergovernmental Informatics Programme by a new intergovernmental Programme.
By developing the experience and achievements of the previous Programmes, the new UNESCO Programme, Information for All, was to demonstrate its far more pronounced humanitarian character.
The motto of the Information for All Programme can be formulated as “support, preservation, increase and dissemination of knowledge”. The ideas at the basis of the Programme fully comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Okinawa Charter on Global Information Society, which the heads of state of the G8 countries signed during their summit in Japan in July 2000.
Essential premises of the Information for All Programme, connected with solving the global problem of bridging the electronic digital gap within and between countries, and promotion of international intellectual cooperation policies base on the development of the public information sector, whose infrastructure is made by libraries, archives and various kinds of information offices and institutions.
In conformity with the UNESCO regulations, the Intergovernmental Council of the Information for All Programme is responsible for general Programme management and coordination of the activities to implement it. UNESCO member countries establish relevant national committees to promote Programme ideas in their nations.
How It All Started in Russia
The world’s first National Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme was established in Russia toward the end of the year 2000.
Peculiarly, the UNESCO General Conference had not yet officially adopted the Programme by that time. It was confirmed as late as October 2001, when Russia had been actively implementing it for almost a year—a rare occasion on which Russia was outrunning other countries instead of lagging behind. In her report to the UNESCO General Conference of October 2001, Valentina Matvienko, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, approved the new intergovernmental Programme on her country’s behalf and told the gathering about creative development of IFAP ideas in Russia.
It all started in summer 2000, when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, asked Mikhail Shvydkoi, then Minister of Culture, to organize the formation of a national committee for a new UNESCO Programme, Information for All, and nominate its president.
Russia was customarily represented by the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Science in all major international Programmes related to communications, information and informatics. Why, then, did the Foreign Ministry determine to make the Ministry of Culture responsible for the new Programme?
First, because the UNESCO mandate makes the establishment of the information society mainly a humanitarian Programme, in whose center is the development of the public information sector, which guarantees dissemination of knowledge and free public access to information.
Second, the Department of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture was extremely active in the 1990s in the sphere of Russian information policies, and arranged effective partnership with the many agencies of UNESCO and Russia’s Foreign Ministry. In 1992, the Department of Libraries stood out among the organizations that initiated the UNESCO Programme to revive the Russian State Library, and was very active on that Programme. UNESCO turned an attentive eye to the department as it was drafting a Programme to establish an all-Russia library information and computer network—the LIBNET. We received interested support from Henrikas Juskevicius, UNESCO Deputy Assistant Director-General for Culture, in 1995. The UNESCO budget for 1996-98 included an item for work on the LIBNET Programme. UNESCO support mattered tremendously to us when the LIBNET Programme was still in the making, and when a great many skeptics surrounded us in Russia. They had an extremely vague idea of the goals, targets and content of the Programme and so did not think our country would ever implement it. At about the same time, the Department of Libraries and UNESCO joined hands to implement the Memory of the World Programme in Russia, and Evgeny Kuzmin, Head of the Department of Libraries of Russia’s Ministry of Culture, became member of its International Consultative Council.
That was when we won the confidence of, and authority with the UNESCO Secretariat and its Moscow Office, as well as with Russian agencies responsible for Russian-UNESCO partnership—the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, and the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO.
Importantly, the entire philosophy of the new Information for All Programme and its particular clauses closely fitted in the context of the goals and priorities of the government policy to modernize Russian libraries and librarianship, as initiated and successfully implemented by the Department of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture.
That was why the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO unanimously approved the nomination of Evgeny Kuzmin, Head of the Department of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture, for chairmanship of the Information for All Programme Russian Committee. It was extremely flattering and prestigious for the Department of Libraries to supervise Programme implementation in Russia. What mattered even more, it opened new vistas to the department and to the Russian libraries it was supporting and supervising.
Immediately after his appointment to the post, late in 2000, Evgeny Kuzmin was delegated to represent Russia in the UNESCO Interim Committee for IFAP.
The 2001 UNESCO General Conference elected Russia member of the Intergovernmental Council of the Information for All Programme for up to 2005, Evgeny Kuzmin representing our country.
The Information for All Programme Russian Committee had been formed, on the whole, by the end of 2000. Prominent specialists from all ministries, other central offices and leading agencies and organizations tackling the problems of introducing information technologies in Russia were invited to join the committee, which had its first meeting on March 20, 2001.
That was when the Russian Committee started large-scale efforts to promote the Information for All Programme in the many professional communities, explain its premises, disseminate its ideas in ruling bodies of various levels—federal, regional and municipal—and search for partners.
To translate the Programme into Russian, publish it and circulate it in Russia was the first project of the Russian Committee. We may take it for granted today, but at that time it appeared a truly daring effort.
The Department of Libraries told about the new Programme for a first time at the Crimean Conference of June 2001. It happened at a special roundtable named accordingly, “UNESCO’s Information for All Programme”.
Communications on the Programme were also made at an educational seminar on creating corporate library resources in Moscow, June 18-19, 2001, within the framework of partnership between the UNESCO Moscow Office and the Department of Libraries of the Russian Ministry of Culture. The annual international conference EVA 2001 Moscow, which was convened in Moscow in autumn 2001, also heard a communication about the new UNESCO Programme.
In September 2001, the Russian IFAP Committee was invited to a major forum—the 2nd international conference, The Present State and Development Prospects of the Internet in Russia. It was organized by the Association of Documentary Electronic Communications, or ADE, which unites Russian Internet operators. Arkady Kremer, Chairman of the ADE Executive Committee, has been a member of the Russian Committee from its very start.
One of the conference meetings concerned the content of the Russian-language Internet segment. The gathering discussed the formation of the related government policy and the opportunities to use the Information for All Programme to solve such problems as distance learning, the Internet offer of educational resources, and the development of telemedicine support technologies. Two communications were made on behalf of the Russian IFAP Committee—“Promotion of the UNESCO Information for All Programme in Russia” and “Government Policy and the Internet Information Resources”.
Almost all speakers pinpointed infrastructural and technological development, while the Department of Libraries called general attention to the problems of access to information, development of the content, and user training. It highlighted huge practical efforts by libraries and their tremendous potential in the cause of providing access to information and knowledge.
In 2002, ADE leaders again invited the Russian IFAP Committee to organize a roundtable on the access to nonprofit Internet resources at the 3rd conference, “The Present State and Development Prospects of the Internet in Russia”. The communications concerned the work of the Rosinformresurs (Russian Union of Scientific and Technical Information Resources) and the Russian Cultural Heritage Net, Internet services by the Russian National Library, and the work of the Department of Libraries of the Russian Ministry of Culture to develop a Programme for the establishment of a library-based All-Russia Net of Public Centers of Legal Information. This Programme has been among our top priorities since 1997.
The Russian Ministry of Culture launched successful cooperation with the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications, the Federal Communications Agency, the Russian Security Council, and the Ministry of Science in implementing the Information for All Programme. They held joint conferences to discuss the opportunities of using common strategies and IFAP instruments to create a united national information environment, and put an end to information inequality between Russian regions and citizens in the access to information.
The financing of IFAP pilot projects by the Ministry of Culture started in 2001, practically parallel to the start of Russian IFAP Committee activities.
The Kemerovo State Academy of Culture and Arts became the first institutional partner of the Russian IFAP Committee. The desire of its Rector Ekaterina Kudrina and Vice-Rector Natalia Gendina to take part in Programme implementation led to the establishment, in 2000, of the Research Institute of Information Technologies in the Social Sphere, affiliated to the Academy. The institute was established on a joint decision of the Kemerovo regional administration and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. Thanks to efforts of the Department of Libraries, and with financial support by the Ministry of Culture, work started in a field thoroughly new and extremely topical in the era of information society emergence—the formation of personal information culture. Institute research bases on two sections of the Information for All Programme—“The Development of the Human Potential, Habits and Abilities in the Information Age”, and “Information Technologies for Education, Science, Culture and Communications”.
Initiated in 2001 thanks to the Information for All Programme, the Russian-Kazakh project Meeting of Frontiers aimed to pool in library resources of the two countries’ border regions with prospects for an electronic library reflecting the information and cultural environment of those multi-ethnic areas, and the mutual influence and interpenetration of the many cultures and civilizations.
That was the Russian Committee’s first transnational initiative. The Russian State Library and the National Library of Kazakhstan started working on the project with support from the Department of Libraries in 2001. Another three libraries joined in later—the Omsk Regional Comprehensive Research Library, on the Russian side, and the Petropavlovsk and North Kazakhstan regional libraries on the Kazakh. Concept elaboration, material selection, preparations to digitize the material, and other preliminary works on the united electronic library took start.
We went on disseminating the content of the Information for All Programme among specialists in diverse professional spheres, with an emphasis on the library community. As we had expected, the library infrastructure proved its high effectiveness in popularizing and promoting IFAP ideas and premises.
Programme ideas inspired the Krasnodar Regional Youth Library, in 2001, to organize annual international conferences Through Libraries—to the Future. The PIK Center, organizer of the widely acclaimed EVA Moscow conferences, became permanent partner of the Russian IFAP Committee after they jointly organized the 2001 conference under the Committee aegis. The name of the Information for All Programme was the thematic motto of the 7th annual conference of the Russian Library Association, which gathered in Yaroslavl in May 2002.
In June 2002, the Russian IFAP Committee, the Russian Foundation for Legal Reform, the Russian State Library and the PIK Center jointly organized in Moscow the all-Russia forum, “Power and Society: The Problems of Public Access to Official Information in the Russian Federation”. Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov and Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi greeted the forum.
As it became clear, the premises of the Information for All Programme were fully consonant with the government policy of library modernization, which the Department of Libraries of the then Ministry of Culture was implementing. According to the UNESCO and IFAP mandates, the policy of developing “the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” focuses on promoting the public information sector and developing the online interaction of its essential institutions—mainly libraries and archives. That was why the Department of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation placed IFAP events on its priority list. Top ministry officials granted them support, and they were funded by the federal target Programme “Culture of Russia (2001-2005)”.
Department of Libraries grants to the many agencies organizing IFAP-related efforts amounted to 750,000 rubles in 2001-02, and made an annual 3 million rubles (roughly $100,000) in 2004-05. The department offered support to projects by libraries and educational and other establishments to implement the ideas of the Information for All Programme. Those events included regional, interregional and international conferences, training seminars, publishing projects, research, IFAP Days in Kuzbas, and participation of Russian IFAP Committee delegations in many forums and in meetings of the Intergovernmental Council for IFAP.
The Start of Public Acclaim
In 2001, the Department of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation reached an agreement with the Kamchatka Regional Culture Committee and the Kamchatka Regional Research Library for the Kamchatka Peninsula to host a large international conference within the Information for All Programme framework. The conference was successfully held in September 2003 under the name, “UNESCO Information for All Programme: Development of National and International Information Policies”.
Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, the UNESCO Director-General, approved the idea of the conference. The Department of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation spent a million rubles from the fund of the federal target Programme “Culture of Russia (2001-2005)” to finance the conference, and the Kamchatka regional administration spent 1.5 million rubles. The Pushkin Library Foundation sponsored the participation in the conference of many regional research library directors.
That was the Russian IFAP Committee’s first major international venture with such high representation—suffice it to mention, among its participants, Natalya Dementyeva, First Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation; Bryansk regional governor Yury Lodkin; Kamchatka regional governor Mikhail Mashkovtsev; Antonella Fresa, Technical Coordinator of the European Commission projects Minerva and Minerva Plus; and Robert Willard, Executive Director of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. Deserving special mention was Philippe Queau, Director of the UNESCO Moscow Office, who had previously led the UNESCO Information and Informatics Division for many years. He stood at the cradle of the Information for All Programme, and supervised its drawing.
Among other essential events jointly organized by the Russian IFAP Committee and the Department of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, we find the following especially noteworthy.
In June 2004, the Department of Libraries, the Russian IFAP Committee, the Russian National Library and the PIK Center arranged in St. Petersburg the international conference, “Information for All UNESCO Programme: Universal Access to Information”. It gathered representatives of the national UNESCO commissions of the United States, Canada, Germany, Poland, Italy, New Zealand, and CIS and post-Soviet Baltic countries. Prominent among the participants were Rossella Caffo, Director of the Informatics and Statistics Department of the Italian Ministry of Culture, and Robert Martin, Director of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Deserving special mention was Elizabeth Longworth, Director of the UNESCO Information Society Division, who succeeded to Philippe Queau on the post.
In autumn 2004, Bryansk hosted an international conference on “Environmental Culture and Information in the Interests of the Sustainable Development”. The forum was convened on the initiative of Bryansk regional governor Yury Lodkin, who made the suggestion during the Kamchatka conference of the year before.
Since 2003, Russian National Library activities to implement the Information for All Programme have been financed under the aegis of the Russian IFAP Committee to translate into Russian and publish a series of UNESCO brochures on the key humanitarian aspects of the emergent global information society—in particular, the elaboration of general guidelines for the policies of improving government information of the public domain, and the preservation of cultural and linguistic pluralism in the information society.
As the IFAP Intergovernmental Council held meetings in Paris in 2003 and 2004, the Russian delegation, which consisted of Russian IFAP Committee members, arranged presentations of Committee activities and projects—in particular, for a network of public legal information centers on the basis of public libraries, and the formation of personal information culture. These events earned an enthusiastic appraisal of foreign colleagues.
As he evaluated the work of the Russian IFAP Committee in an official message to Mikhail Shvydkoi, the Russian Minister of Culture, toward the end of 2002, Vladimir Kalamanov, Russia’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, wrote: “The Russian Federation has honorably contributed to the elaboration of an effective legal mechanism of access to information and the preservation of the global information heritage.”
Standing in the foreground of the cooperation of UNESCO, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, the Russian IFAP Committee, the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, and the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography was the preparation and organization of a major global forum in St. Petersburg, May 2005. That was the international conference “UNESCO between Two Phases of the World Summit on the Information Society”.
The conference won support from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, and attracted great public attention to its host country. The conference idea was a brainchild of Evgeny Kuzmin, Head of the Department of Libraries of Russia’s Ministry of Culture and Chair of the Information for All Programme Russian Committee. Francoise Riviere, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, made a tremendous contribution to the conference.
Letter of UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura to Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, summing up the international conference “UNESCO between Two Phases of the World Summit on the Information Society”
To: H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin,
President of the Russian Federation
June 6, 2005
Dear Mister President,
Allow me to express heartfelt gratitude for your support of the organization in St. Petersburg of the International Conference “UNESCO between Two Phases of the World Summit on the Information Society”.
Please accept my congratulations on the landmark event, which received wide acclaim. The conference brought together outstanding experts representing fifty countries and all continents. They discussed an extremely wide range of essential problems including the freedom of opinion, equal access to education, universal access to information, extensive public use of information, and the preservation and development of cultural and linguistic pluralism. The conference offered major support to the essential principles on which rests the concept of building the knowledge society, elaborated by UNESCO.
I should like to point out the contribution to the conference and its preparation by the Information for All Programme Russian Committee and its Chair Evgeny Kuzmin, Head of the Department of Archives and Libraries of the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, who advanced the idea of this international forum, which is so important to Russia and for the promotion of those essential issues in your region.
The active and fruitful work of the Information for All Programme Russian Committee to promote and develop this intergovernmental UNESCO Programme in Russia and the neighboring countries has won international recognition and deserves every support.
Allow me to reassure you that UNESCO will use the recommendations elaborated during the conference in the preparations for the second, and concluding phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, which will be held in Tunis on November 16-18, 2005. At the same time, I deem it especially important and useful for those recommendations, which have become a consolidated stance of conference participants from Russia and other countries, to be introduced to the Summit by Russia.
I am convinced that your personal participation in the Summit would spectacularly prove Russia’s active interest in building the information society for all.
In conclusion, allow me to thank you once again for Russia’s active participation in preparations for the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, and express my hope that UNESCO and Russia will carry on their close and fruitful partnership for the sake of the development of the global knowledge society.
With assurances of the highest respect and consideration,
The Working Bodies of the Russian Committee
Naturally, the Department of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation has been the working body of the Russian IFAP Committee since its inception with support from the ministry leadership. In spring 2005, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation was abolished, and the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation and the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography were established, and the Department of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation was accordingly divided in two. The basic functions of the working body of the Russian Committee went over to the Department of Libraries and Archives (later, Department of Archives) of the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications, and the Department of Libraries of the Board of Cultural Heritage, Art Education and Science of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography. They were doing their duties in tandem.
In 2003-05, we delegated a part of Programme-promoting functions (mainly technical) to the Interregional Public Organization in Support of UNESCO Information for All Programme, or IPOS UNESCO IFAP (Russia), which was established for the purpose.
Alexei Demidov was appointed Head of that agency, which was established principally by staff members of the Department of Libraries of the then Ministry of Culture.
To our deep regret, we have to make a public statement now that this body has failed to cope with the duties for which it was established. The IPOS UNESCO IFAP started functioning as a working body of the Russian IFAP Committee gradually to cross the limits of its competences. It eventually stopped whatever coordination of its work with Committee activities. At present, it is an autonomous body, which has misappropriated the website ifap.ru, initially established as the site of the Information for All Programme Russian Committee—not of the IPOS UNESCO IFAP or of the Programme itself.
At present, we have to stop whatever cooperation with the IPOS UNESCO IFAP. We do not deny its right to act independently within legal limits, though we cannot but point out its baffling—even shocking—active attempts to misrepresent the work of the Information for All Programme Russian Committee and the development of the Programme in Russia, and extend at will its understanding and interpretation despite its thematic limits, which were adopted and recommended by UNESCO. No less baffling is its licentious treatment of the name of the Programme and use of the UNESCO logotype, which probably stems from those attempts.
The annual report of the IPOS UNESCO IFAP for 2006 has the ambitious name of “The Implementation of the UNESCO Information for All Programme in Russia”. Even when they merely look it through, the paper cannot but stun the people who have taken part in Programme implementation and in whose memory the true story is still fresh.
The Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO had to intervene, and addressed a letter to Alexei Demidov, Board Chair of the IPOS UNESCO IFAP (outgoing No. 321 of March 21, 2007). The message said, in part: “The Secretariat of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO expresses major concern over the content of information placed by the Interregional Public Organization in Support of UNESCO Information for All Programme on the website http://www.ifap.ru, which misrepresents both the Programme and Russian activities to implement it.”
Letter of the Secretariat of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO to Alexei Demidov, Board Chair of the IPOS UNESCO IFAP, of March 21, 2007
COMMISSION OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR UNESCO
Secretariat of the Commission:
32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya Sq.,
Moscow, 119200, G-200
March 21, 2007
To: ALEXEI DEMIDOV, BOARD CHAIR IPOS UNESCO IFAP
Copy to: EVGENY KUZMIN, CHAIR, INFORMATION FOR ALL PROGRAMME RUSSIAN COMMITTEE
Copy to: ELEONORA MITROFANOVA, HEAD, ROSZARUBEZHCENTR
The Secretariat of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO expresses serious concern over the content of information placed on the website http://www.ifap.ru by the Interregional Public Organization in Support of UNESCO Information for All Programme, which misrepresents the Programme and its implementation in Russia.
The official right to such activities was granted to the Information for All Programme Russian Committee, established under the Commission in 2001, and its partners on the grounds of competences which the Committee delegated to Evgeny Kuzmin, its Chair and member of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, whose membership has been approved by the Government of the Russian Federation. The Committee is functioning with political and financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography. Its activities are well known in and outside Russia, and have earned high appraisal by the Russian authorities and the UNESCO leadership.
Neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation nor the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO have partner relations with the Interregional Public Organization in Support of UNESCO Information for All Programme, which is also no longer a partner of the Information for All Programme Russian Committee.
In conformity with the above, references to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO among the partners of the Interregional Public Organization in Support of UNESCO Information for All Programme, the use of the UNESCO logotype and full and abbreviated name, and placing other materials containing unreliable information about the implementation of the UNESCO Information for All Programme and persons responsible for said implementation, on the website www.ifap.ru shall be qualified as illegal.
OF THE COMMISSION
OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Established in 2002, the website www.ifap.ru initially developed as the site of the Information for All Programme Russian Committee, and was financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation before 2004, and by the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography in 2004-05. Though Alexei Demidov was dismissed from his post of Deputy Chair of the Russian Committee in spring 2006, he went on acting on Committee behalf with no competences. The IPOS UNESCO IFAP de facto misappropriated the site in summer 2006 to remove all references to the Russian Committee, with token exceptions. The present owner has blocked the access to the many removed pages in the Internet archive (www.archive.org).
The Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications went through numerous reorganizations. The Department of Archives and Libraries was first disbanded. The Department of Archives shared its fate in summer 2005. Following the triumphal conference “UNESCO between Two Phases of the World Summit on the Information Society”, Evgeny Kuzmin left the ministry of his own accord. Naturally, which agency was to overtake the implementation of the Information for All Programme in Russia became a burning question. We embarked on an active search for new partners after all contacts with the IPOS UNESCO IFAP were severed in autumn 2005. As the result, the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography began to support the Russian Committee, which is not a legal entity, through the Foundation for an Information Society and the Interregional Center for Library Cooperation—the two agencies that played the part of the Russian Committee working body in 2006.
Russia and UNESCO are successfully developing their partnership in forming the humanitarian aspects of the policy of global information society building. Old projects have received a new impetus, and new ones are appearing one after another. Russia goes on promoting its interests and takes part in other prominent UNESCO Programmes and projects.
Major attention is paid to the explanation and promotion of the documents of the World Summit on the Information Society within the mandate of the UNESCO Information for All Programme. Experts of the Russian Committee took part in drafting UNESCO’s Major Programme V “Communication and Information” for 2008-09 and the UNESCO Medium Term Strategy 2008-13.
In November 2006, Moscow hosted another international conference, that time on “Personal Information Culture: Information Society Challenges”. Organizing the conference were the PIK Center, the Russian Center of Contemporary Art and the Kemerovo State University of Culture and Arts with support from UNESCO and the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO. Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, was prominent among the participants.
Numerous centers for public access to Russian legal information opened in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine) on the initiative and with active participation of the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme in 2006-07.
The Russian Committee is carrying on its publishing activities. The following out of the many editions put out in 2006 deserve special mention:
Major attention is paid to disseminating the Russian Committee experience within and outside the post-Soviet area, and to the development of the new committee website (http://www.ifapcom.ru ).
We have every reason to say that the implementation of the Information for All Programme has risen to a new qualitative level in Russia.
The Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography carries on funding the implementation of the Information for All Programme in Russia in 2007, as it considers the work exceptionally important to strengthen Russian positions in UNESCO, make Russian cultural, educational and research agencies better know and understand the formative problems and processes of the global information society, and step up their international partnership in culture, education and information exchange.
The Russian Committee has formed for today the basic fields of its activities to implement the Information for All Programme at its new stage. It has started smooth contacts with new partners—agencies, organizations and regions. Partnership with international organizations is getting ever closer.
The Interregional Center for Library Cooperation has won this year’s contest for a grant of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography to arrange events related to the Information for All Programme. Evgeny Kuzmin, Chair of the Information for All Programme Russian Committee, is presently Center President.
Works on the grant include the following:
The Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO and the UNESCO leadership have on many occasions highly appreciated the dynamic and fruitful work of the Russian Committee to promote Information for All Programme ideas in Russia and other countries.
Mikhail Shvydkoi, Director of the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, said in an address to the international seminar “The UNESCO Information for All Programme in Russia: Current and Future-Oriented Projects” within the annual international conference Crimea 2007: “We well know how highly the UNESCO leadership and the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO appreciate the activities of your committee to promote the noble ideas of the Information for All Programme in our country and worldwide. We fully share this appreciation, and are glad to offer you whatever support.”
© 2006 Russian Committee of UNESCO "Information for All" program