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14 February 2023, 15:40

Lukashenko wants 50/50 financing plan for theaters

MINSK, 14 February (BelTA) – Theaters must be financed on an equal-share basis , Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting with the Council of Ministers, BelTA has learned.

Back in 2021, when visiting the Yanka Kupala National Academic Theater, the president instructed to transfer theaters to an equal-share financing (budget money + theater's own funds). In other words, a company will receive as much from the budget as it earns. However, it seems that this instruction has not yet been fulfilled. A draft of the new decree that was submitted to the head of state for consideration is at odds with his previously voiced requirements.

"What more money are you asking me for? We give 50% subsidies to theaters, the theaters that practically advocated for the destruction of the state in 2020. What did you do to carry out my assignment?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked. “Everybody was involved: the culture minister, the chairmen of the city and regional administration and Kochanova."

The document "provides for equal-share financing from the budget and own funds of theatrical institutions to finance wages of artists and staff, new productions, tours and royalties, remuneration."

"The second thing that you propose is that I pay for the maintenance of the state property of a theater, including salaries, utilities, maintenance of buildings and structures, landscaping (they want me to plant trees while they will be going around with white-red-white flags) and repair of equipment and transport. Will the theater be concerned about transport and equipment when these things will be financed from the budget,” the president criticized the proposals. "What kind of incentives are there?"

"We got together to make things better. Meanwhile, you are proposing to legalize this mess," he stressed.

According to the chairman of the State Control Committee Vasily Gerasimov, it is assumed that the state will allocate money to theaters to finance only hard costs. Everything else will be financed on an equal-share basis: the budget will allocate as much as the theater earns.

"We will finance hard expenses but we haven't even started yet sorting them out," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"I agree with this," Vasily Gerasimov replied.

"So why are you submitting such proposals? We agreed on an equal-share: you earn a million, you get a million from the budget. Then things will fair: you earn more, you receive more," the head of state emphasized.

The president agreed that it is not an easy matter. But in today's conditions, according to him, it is impossible to do otherwise: it is necessary to learn how to make money and be thrifty. Aleksandr Lukashenko once again stressed that it is impossible to recklessly pay all expenses of theaters. Approaches to this topic need to be more measured. Perhaps the state can additionally support theaters on some issues, but equal-share financing to be the most optimal option – 50/50, the president believes. It will be up to theaters to decide how they spend the money.

"Please think through the mechanism how we will work with them," the president summed up.

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