The Code of the Republic of Belarus on Culture was adopted by Decree No. 413-Z of the President of the Republic of Belarus dated July 20, 2016, and it came into force on February 3, 2017. It was developed in accordance with the global core principles of cultural policy. The Code aims to establish the legal, institutional, economic, and social basis for cultural activities, in order to preserve and use the cultural heritage, to develop cultural institutions, and to ensure the accessibility of the cultural goods.
The Code on Culture accumulated all the pre-existing legislative and regulatory acts in the field of culture, including the framework Law on Culture in the Republic of Belarus, as well as a number of sectoral laws regulating the relations in librarianship and museum affairs, historical and cultural heritage protection, traditional culture and craft activities, visual arts and cinematography, artists creative activities, and etc. Today it is the main regulatory act in the field of culture, in which the basic principles and priorities of state cultural policy have been determined.
Thus, under the Code on Culture, the core principles of the cultural policy of the Republic of Belarus are as follows: recognizing the culture as one of the main factors of the identity of the Belarusian people and other ethnic communities residing in Belarus, as well as the basis for the formation and development of individuality; ensuring the accessibility of the cultural goods and the protection of the rights and opportunities of everyone, including people with disabilities, to participate in the cultural life; asserting the freedom of creativity; preventing unlawful advantages or privileges and the monopolization of cultural activities; promoting and protecting the copyright and civil rights of cultural workers and artists; ensuring the interaction of the Belarusian national culture with other cultures and its integration into the global cultural space.
Among the priorities of the cultural policy of Belarus, there are the preservation, development, and popularization of the Belarusian culture and language, the creation of conditions for the aesthetic education of citizens, the promotion of informational support in the field of culture, the support of talented young people and the creation of conditions for their fruitful activities, the social protection of cultural and creative workers, the formation and development of a competitive cultural environment, cultural diversity, support for the development of culture in rural areas, etc.
Among the positive changes in legal regulation in the field of culture approved by the Code of Culture, we can't but mention the provisions encouraging the development of craft activities, artists support, simplification of taxation for certain groups of creative workers, for example, for designers and artists, preferences to art patrons and sponsors, the development of production activities in the field of cinematography and performing arts.
1) The codification of legislation on culture made it possible to systematize disparate laws, to identify the duplication, inconsistency of certain requirements, to fill in some gaps in legal regulation, and ultimately resulted in more effective governance in the field of culture and transparency in the implementation of legal norms.
2) Many norms of relevant international laws relating to cultural policies were included in the Code on Culture. There is no explicit reference made to the 2005 UNESCO Convention in the Code on Culture, but certain principles and provisions of the Convention can be found in the Code. In addition, Clause 2 of Article 4 of the Code specifies that if an international treaty signed by the Republic of Belarus (these include the 2005 Convention) establishes other rules than those provided for by the Code, the rules of the international treaty shall be applied.
3) The Code contains a number of provisions that increase the participation of the civil society representatives in decision-making on the cultural policy issues (Chapter 7) through the right to freedom of creation and participation in various cultural associations, including artistic unions and associations, supervisory boards of cultural institutions, different advisory bodies of the Ministry of Culture and local authorities, formed to improve the regulation and management of cultural activities.
4) The adoption of the Code on Culture contributed to the creation of favorable conditions for the development of culture, the strengthening of the conditions for the development of partnerships and the protection of the civil and intellectual rights of artists.
The funding of the cultural sector is ensured by annually allocated government investments (see statistics above), sponsorship funds and funds of the State Program "Culture of Belarus", other state programs, and as well as from the Fund and Special Fund of the President of the Republic of Belarus for Supporting Culture and Talented Youth. The annual state budget for culture is 0.38-0.41% of GDP.
|Name of partner||Type of entity|
All cultural institutions
All cultural institutions
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
All cultural institutions:
The effectiveness of the implementation of the cultural policies and the practical application of the main provisions of the Code on Culture is annually monitored by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus and independent experts. The monitoring results are reviewed by the annual reporting panels of the Ministry of Culture and widely covered by the national media. In 2019, a wide campaign was held to discuss possible changes and proposals to the Code of the Republic of Belarus on Culture. They are planned to be implemented in 2020. Among the changes that should be made to this legislative act, the most important ones are as follows:
1) to work more thoroughly on the further implementation of the main provisions of the ratified international treaties, including but not limited to the UNESCO Convention in general and particularly the 2005 Convention, agreements regarding the freedom of cultural expression, creative industries and the ones expanding the capabilities of the non-governmental cultural sector, creating conditions for expanding the production and consumption of the national cultural products.
2) to link the existing provisions of the Code with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, ratified by the Republic of Belarus in 2019, to pay particular attention to such issues as creating a supportive and diverse environment for the development of the local cultural and creative industries, protecting and promoting the social status of an artist, promoting the cultural expression and traditions of the local communities.