New Russian Museums: Politics and Ideology of Cultural Reconstruction
Contemporary museology embraces a crucial re-charge moment for art institutions. Throughout the last century, art museums in their traditional form and level of social participation were rethought and altered following the ever-evolving vector of cultural development of society. As a result of this process, museums strengthened new focuses of their performance by giving their major attention to recreational, community-focused, and inclusive aspects. With the global neoliberal approach towards museums, Russia is a unique case which mixes political ideology and censorship limitations with a desire to "westernize" the system making it open to the public and free from suppression. The Russian art field inherited its socialist past from the USSR's cultural policy, having an "avant-garde museology" as a natural basement for its further development. That background makes the process of adaptation to the global trends complex and sometimes paradoxical. In February 2016, the Russian Ministry of Culture presented a new Cultural Policy Strategy to be fulfilled until 2030. At the same time, major Russian cultural institutions are planning a significant expansion, reconstruction, and reinterpretation of their content to reach global standards and simultaneously answer the needs of the new policy. In my research, I examine the way new museum strategies are adopted by these changing or brand-new institutions. Based on a series of case studies, I want to prove or confute the generic statement that the Russian cultural field has its unique and idiosyncratic way of development and examine how new neoliberalism overlaps with post-soviet cultural model and "patriotic" rhetoric of the modern "regime."