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    MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - Alexander Kalyagin, chairman of the Union of Theatric Workers, suggested during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin that the priorities of the regional cultural policy should be reviewed. "The cultural policy in the regions for us is a painful subject," said Kalyagin.

    Many festivals and events are held, with funds found somewhere. But the hard work in the regions is being done without financial assistance, said Kalyagin. The money spent on these functions and on routine work in the regions is incomparable, he said. The regions get barely a hundredth of the funds. "They should get more assistance from the state," believes the union chairman.

    Kalyagin told Putin that the Union of Theatric Workers can provide assistance, in particular by organizing master classes, director laboratories, and visits by theater critics.

    The president of Russia and the chairman of the theatric union also discussed the issue of Russian-language theaters working outside Russia. It is "a painful subject, as such theaters are closed down, like in Ashkhabad (Turkmenistan), crumble, or lead a beggarly existence."

    According to Kalyagin, the Union can provide assistance to such theaters, for example, by forming directing groups and organizing master classes. "They view themselves as Russian theaters but think they have been deserted," said the chairman.

    He asked the president "to encourage the discussion of this problem in the Ministry of Culture." When the president asked if he meant monetary assistance, Kalyagin replied that he was speaking about organizational and financial issues.

    Putin supported Kalyagin's idea of organizing a theater center at the museum house of Anton Chekhov in Yalta (Crimea, Ukraine). Kalyagin recalled that a year ago Putin visited the museum. "It has an audience hall where mono acting performances are staged," said Kalyagin. "There is a wonderful building built in Chekhov's time there but it has been ruined." He suggested organizing the theater center in that building, possibly jointly with Ukraine. "The state can help revive a brilliant theater."

    Putin replied, "I will soon meet with Leonid Kuchma [president of Ukraine]. I will discuss the issue with him. It's a good idea."

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