Report creation date: 14.10.2008 - 09:40
Countr(y/ies): Armenia
Chapter(s): 1,2,21,22,23,24,241,242,243,244,245,246,3,31,32,33,4,41,42,421,422,423,424,425,426,427,428,429,4210,43,5,51,511,512,513,514,515,516,517,518,519,52,53,531,532,533,534,535,536,537,538,539,5310,6,61,62,63,64,7,71,72,73,8,81,811,812,813,82,821,822,83,831,832,84,841,842,9,91,92

Armenia/ 1. Historical perspective: cultural policies and instruments

Armenian culture has a history of thousands of years and is a direct and indirect reflection of all those events that impacted on the Armenian people over time and, particularly, in the 20th century. As a result of the genocide and forced deportation of the Armenians that resided in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, many Armenians are spread all over the world, forming the Armenian Diaspora. For those residing far from the homeland, it was the national culture that became the main factor for preserving their national identity. The Great Disaster was followed by a short period of independence (1918-1920) in the eastern smaller part of historical Armenia. Then a 70 year long Soviet regime was established in the country, which had both positive and negative implications. Yerevan Anniversary Church

In 1988, a struggle to recover the Armenian territory of Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan started, which resulted in the war of 1989-1994, a severe socio-economic crisis, emigration, as well as the blockade of Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan, which is still continuing. On 21 September 1991, the Republic of Armenia became independent through a referendum. The privatisation and decentralisation processes, which started after independence, included the cultural sector. A private sector started to evolve as well, initially in the form of movie theatres, parks, some concert halls, and small theatres; these were followed by galleries, libraries and museums. However, the economic blockade, the energy crisis and the newly forming market relations became a serious impediment, and the process that had been started naturally was stalled, even fading away in some fields.

On 25 January 2001, Armenia joined the European Council, thereby entering a new phase in the development of its culture.

During the independence years, Armenian cultural policy was mainly directed, not at the development of the infrastructure of the functioning cultural organisations, but was concerned foremost with their preservation. There was a tendency to increase the financing of culture by the state in comparison to previous years, but this was not based on specific strategic programmes, nor was it guided by a specific policy.

The cultural life was increasingly centralised in the capital Yerevan where, after independence, the opportunities for conducting cultural activities flourished. As a result, there was an outflow of specialists from the Marzes (regions) to the capital. The cultural exchanges between the capital and Marzes decreased considerably, which has had negative results for the cultural development processes in Armenia. A state programme on cultural development in the Marzes is being implemented currently to tackle this issue.

During recent years, the link between Armenia and its Diaspora has also been promoting the preservation and development of the culture of Armenia. Thus, since 1992, the AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union) has been sponsoring the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and, since 1997, Vache Manukyan has been sponsoring the Armenian Chamber Orchestra. Since 2000, numerous cultural centres have been re-established, annual rewards have been presented, books and albums have been published, monuments are being restored, and performances have been produced, with the assistance of the state and the Armenian Relief Society, the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, and the American-Armenian billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's Lincy Foundation.

The Armenian cultural policy of recent years has been characterised by frequent changes of culture ministers, resulting in various changes to cultural policy. In order to introduce a systematic approach to the cultural management field, the present minister Hasmik Poghosyan (appointed in May 2006) established a group of experts to work on the 2008-2013 Strategy on Cultural Development. Currently, this strategy is being implemented as a core instrument of cultural policy.

Armenia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.1 Organisational structure (organigram)

The present structure of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia is being modified and is at the stage of ratification by the government. Those changes are called forth by the implementation of the requirements of a number of strategic programmes adopted in the culture field during the recent years, by the switch to the programme budgeting process, by national programmes in the culture field (Poverty Eradication, National Security Strategic, Children's Rights Protection National Programmes), by the programme on Culture Development in the Marzes of the Republic of Armenia, and for the purpose of implementation of actions envisaged by the Programme on Non-Material Cultural Heritage Preservation.

The reforms are aimed at the increase of the work efficiency at the ministry as well.

The Structure of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia

Armenia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.2 Overall description of the system

The authorities responsible for cultural policy in the Republic of Armenia are at two levels - state (regional ones included) and local authorities; each has a definite role in the implementation of cultural policy.

According to Article 88.1 of the Constitution, state policy in the field of culture is implemented by the government, and the corresponding departments of Marzpetarans (regional administrations) implement the regional policy of the government and coordinate the activities of regional services of the executive bodies.

The National Assembly passes laws concerning the cultural area and ratifies the state budget where there is a separate part on the state financing of the cultural field. There is a Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs operating in the Parliament, which passes opinions on the draft laws of the cultural sector.

The government ensures the implementation of the state cultural policy, for the purpose of drawing additional financial means for the preservation, promotion and development of culture. It also establishes a cultural development foundation and ratifies its statute and defines by law, for some levels of the population (preschool children, schoolchildren, students, pensioners, disabled people and compulsory duty servicemen), the benefits of using the paid services of cultural organisations; and implements other powers defined by law.

The state competent authority in the cultural field is the Ministry of Culture. The main functions of the ministry are as follows:

In association with the Minister of Culture, councils on cultural policy and planning for art forms (cinematography, dramatic art, classical music, folk music, book-publishing) function mainly in an advisory capacity.

According to the Law on Cultural Legislation Principles (2002), the Marzpetaran (bodies for ensuring the implementation of state programmes and programmes on cooperation between the local self-government and the government) ensure the cultural state policy in the Marz areas. At present, the subdivisions responsible for culture in the structure of Marzpetarans are affiliated with the directorates on education, youth and sports affairs, thus complicating the implementation of cultural policy. In order to solve this problem, the government plans, in the 2007 Programme on Cultural Development in Marzes, to separate the culture departments and to specify their functions.

The head of the community ensures the implementation of the state cultural policy in the community area.

The Law on Local Self-Government (2002) authorises Armenia's cities and 10 Marzes to regulate the activities of cultural establishments that are under their jurisdiction.

The biggest funds of state significance are the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and the Social Investments' Fund, which makes large investments in the cultural area. The Social Investments' Fund renovates cultural organisations that are under community jurisdiction, while the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund assists cultural and social programmes. Every two years, the "One Nation, One Culture" Fund organises the Pan Armenian Cultural Festival, as well as assists different cultural activities.

The activities of all the agencies and national authorities dealing with cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and social solidarity are coordinated by the Coordination Council Adjunct to the President and by the Directorate on National Minorities and Religion of the government and by the Culture Ministry.

Armenia/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation

Besides the Ministry of Culture, inter-ministerial co-operation in the cultural field is handled by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education and Science, Urban Development, Trade and Economic Development, Finance and Economy, and Justice. The Ministry of Culture cooperates with these ministries, in the form of discussions and solving of current issues and organisation of joint activities. The Ministry's Directorate on International Relations and Diaspora works with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Financial-Economic Directorate - with the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Legal Department - the Ministry of Justice, etc.

All the programmes on the ratification of the budget of the Ministry of Culture are coordinated with the Ministry of Finance. Every draft law drawn up by the Ministry is firstly introduced to the Ministry of Finance and Economy. If there are no comments, the draft law is submitted to the Ministry of Justice; only then it is submitted to the government.

Some structures that are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture have similar functions with other ministries. Thus, six artistic education establishments functioning under the Culture Ministry jurisdiction have common functions with the Education and Science Ministry. The museums that are under the jurisdiction of the Culture Ministry, which are partly scientific establishments, cooperate with the Ministry of Education and Science.

In the artistic education area, the Ministry of Culture cooperates with the Ministry of Justice and with the RA Police. Particularly, the Special Creative Centre of Juvenile Offenders, a state non-profit organisation under the jurisdiction of the Ministry, organises arts and craft education in reformatories (the Justice Ministry jurisdiction). Similar education is organised outside the reformatories, in cooperation with the RA Police. There is also the Children's Special Creative Centre, a state non profit organisation operating under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture, which organises arts education for the socially insecure and disabled children in special boarding schools and facilities (the jurisdiction of the Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs and Education and Science).

The Ministry of Culture also cooperates: in the information technology field - with the Ministry on Transport and Communication; in the area of the protection of children's rights and the improvement of women's rights and their role in society - with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs; in the area of craft development issues - with the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development; and in the area of preservation of historical-cultural monuments, the Ministry of Culture also cooperates with the Ministry of Urban Development.

The Ministry of Culture cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign Relations when carrying out any interstate activity. The invitations for Armenian artists to participate in any international cultural activities are received through the Ministry of Foreign Relations. When organising any international interstate activity in Armenia, foreign guests are also invited through the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

For the purpose of implementation of specific programmes, interagency committees are set up with the involvement of representatives of different ministries or local self-government bodies.

The Marzpetarans elaborate social-economic programmes in their jurisdiction, with a separate section for programmes in the cultural field. In these programmes, the issues of the community in the cultural field are taken into account as well. The programmes serve as a basis for submission of applications for triennial state medium-term programmes.

According to the legislation, in particular the Law on Local Self-Government Bodies, the local self-government bodies themselves form the community budgets and ensure their implementation, including expenditure for the preservation of cultural organisations and for the organisation of cultural life. However, some communities have difficulty in carrying out these functions due to a shortage of funds and therefore the state budget offers programmes to enable communities to provide the necessary cultural services and to enable their citizens to participate in cultural life.

Armenia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

After gaining independence, one of the most important components of Armenian foreign policy in the cultural area became the formation of new relations aimed at the strengthening of cooperation and mutual understanding, as well as the establishment and development of equal and mutually beneficial partnership relations with other states. It was in the area of those relations where the first results of the democratisation and decentralisation processes in the field of the culture were reflected. The relations with a number of countries considerably improved, gradually involving deeper (regional, Marz and inter-city) levels (with Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Vendee regions and Marcel City in France, with Saxony-Anhalt Land in Germany, with different cities in the USA, and with Rostov, Komi and Astrakhan Oblasts in the Russian Federation, etc.).

During recent years, a major priority of the international activity by the Ministry of Culture is integration in the European and CIS structures, the extension of the cooperation to other areas, the promotion of Armenian culture, and the extension of the Armenia-Diaspora relations.

Since gaining independence, the Republic of Armenia has established bilateral relations with state and non-state structures and organisations of different countries. In the area of culture, international activities are carried out within the framework of signed interstate, intergovernmental and interagency agreements on cultural cooperation, memoranda and exchange programmes, according to the main directions and priorities of Armenian cultural policy.

At present, cooperation is conducted with nearly 50 countries, in particular, with the Russian Federation, Georgia, Kirghizia, Khazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Finland, Hungary, Greece, Korea, India, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Great Britain, Croatia, Estonia, Romania, Slovenia, France, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, the USA, Canada, China, Germany, Kuwait, Qatar, Cyprus and Japan.

One of the fruitful forms of international cooperation is the establishment of multilateral relations. Since 1991, Armenia has established cooperation in the area of culture with international organisations and structures such as UNESCO, CoE, different structures of CIS, UNO, EU, INCP, BSEC etc.

According to the strategy in the cultural field, all forms of culture and art are considered as elements of international dialogue. For the purpose of developing this dialogue, Armenia has signed a number of international documents during recent years, which substantially furthers large-scale exchanges with different countries. In particular, in October 2000, Armenia joined the Bern Convention on WIPO Literature and Art Works; in 2005 - the European Convention on Joint Cinematography Production, the European Convention on Ancient Heritage Preservation and, by the Faro Declaration - the European Cultural Convention; in 2006 - the UNSECO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Convention on the Protection of Non-Material Cultural Heritage; in November 2006, the government ratified the Convention on Non-Material Cultural Heritage Preservation. The CoE framework Convention on Cultural Heritage Importance to Society is in the process of ratification by Armenia. As a logical continuation of the processes on joining the international instruments, Armenia has participated in international cultural events such as Days of European Heritage, Museums' Night, Music Day annual events, and the implementation of the programme on the Armenian Duduk Music supported by UNESCO and the Japanese government. The Ministry of Culture is holding negotiations on the possibility of joining Eurimage.

Armenia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

The Ministry of Culture is the main actor in international cultural cooperation, ensuring the participation of Armenia in different international cultural programmes. This cooperation is executed by the Ministry's Staff Directorate on Foreign Relations and Cooperation with the Diaspora. It is the Ministry of Culture that develops and carries out the state cultural policy in Armenia. The international cultural policy is a part of the country's foreign policy. In this area, cooperation is executed according to procedures that are coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In Armenia, culture and education are important and efficient instruments that broaden interstate relations. Cultural centres of various countries operate in Armenia, including the British Council (established in 2001) and the Cultural Centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Goethe Institute functioning in the region. These centres, besides presenting their national culture in Armenia, promote also Armenian culture in their countries. They also provide educational and technical assistance, carry out joint programmes, seminars, and cooperate with other international organisations.

On the initiative of the British Council, a festival of British films, exhibitions and other events has been held in Armenia. As series of seminars, entitled Dialogues of Cultures, Literary Bridges, and Dialogues of Civilisations, took place in Yerevan on the initiative of the IRI Culture House.

At present, the Treaty between the Republic of Armenia and the Kingdom of Spain on the Establishment of Cultural Centres and Implementation of Activities is under consideration, which envisages the opening of a Cervantes Institute in Yerevan.

The issues of joint film production with different countries and international structures are in the negotiation process.

The conditions for organising exhibitions are included in the documents that are being signed in the specially designed interstate agreements.

The Ministry of Culture attaches importance to education issues in the sphere of culture that are reflected in the Ministry's strategic instruments. On the basis of instruments signed in this sector, specialists and students of different fields in the cultural sector are training in Italy, France, Great Britain, the Russian Federation, and Egypt.

During recent years, foreign students from Syria, Iran, and China are training in cultural establishments of higher education in Armenia (especially in the Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and the Cinema and Yerevan State Conservatorium) .

In 2006, international cultural cooperation received a budget of 33 884 200 AMD (nearly 72 000 euros), and in 2007, this amount was increased to 78 000 000 AMD (nearly 168 000 euros).

The financing of international cooperation in the cultural area is carried out via programmes. The principle of co-financing is also implemented, involving SNPO's (state non-profit organisations), and sponsorship is also encouraged.

Armenia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

European Union

EU cooperation is conducted on the basis of partnership and cooperation agreements between the EU and the Republic of Armenia that were signed in 1996 and entered into force in 1999. Since June 2004, Armenia, along with Azerbaijan and Georgia, has been participating in the European Neighborhood Policy, which is an important step for the region towards European integration. Cultural cooperation and promotion of the Armenian cultural heritage are priorities of the cultural policy in the EU-Armenia joint actions programme. In this framework, the Ministry of Culture has implemented a number of programmes; in particular, in 1999, Armenia joined the European Heritage Days programme initiated by the CoE and the European Commission.

In 2006, within the framework of the European Commission's "Culture 2000" programme, a programme on the restoration of musical instruments was implemented jointly with the French Culture and Cooperation Association and the Ministry of Culture.

At present, negotiations are being held on the possibility of Armenia joining the European Commission's "Twinning Instrument" programme, which will operate in the countries of European Neighborhood Policy, giving opportunities to develop administrative skills and to ensure the efficiency of state management.


The Ministry of Culture actively cooperates with UNESCO. In this framework, the Ministry of Culture regularly submits nominations for inclusion in the UNECSO calendar of prominent people and historical events.

In the framework of the Convention on Non-Material Cultural Heritage Preservation, the Ministry of Culture organised annual symposia entitled: "Knowledge and Symbol, Belief and Customs" (2005) and "Dialogues of Cultures" (2006). In 2005, the music of the Armenian duduk was declared a masterpiece on the UNESCO list of "Humanity's Oral and Non-Material Heritage".

Council of Europe

Cultural cooperation with the Council of Europe is one of the main directions of Armenian cultural relations. Prior to joining the CoE, Armenia participated in its cultural programmes. Armenia successfully participated in "Stage" up to 2005, which was aimed at establishing cooperation and exchange mechanisms between the Southern Caucasus countries and assist them in implementing their own cultural policies.

The National Report on Armenia's State Cultural Policy was elaborated in the framework of the above programme, which, however, because of controversies in the historical part of Armenia, was not published in the framework of the CoE.

Since September 2005, the Ministry of Culture has been participating in the Kiev Initiative Programme initiated by the European Council for 2006-09 and implemented with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Initiative is aimed at the development of cultural policies and strategies for the benefit of strengthening democracy, intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity in the region.

INCP (International Network of Cultural Policy)

Since the establishment of INCP (1998), Armenia has been a full member of the network and has been participating at the ministerial level. This cooperation gives the opportunity to study and exchange views on cultural policy issues together with the culture ministers of other countries. One example of this co-operation is the recent action directed at the ratification and implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, as well as intercultural dialogue.

BSEC (Black Sea Economic Cooperation)

Armenia actively participates at the sessions of the BSEC organisation's working group on cultural issues. In the framework of BSEC, Armenia attaches particular importance to cooperation on the implementation of programmes in the field of monument preservation jointly with other countries, as well as conducting intercultural dialogue with the countries of the region.

CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States)

The Ministry of Culture participates in the CIS Cultural Cooperation Council, as well as in the Humanitarian Cooperation Council and in the Interstate Humanitarian Cooperation Fund. With the support of the latter in October 2007, the symposium of CIS and Baltic countries' publishers on "Translation as a Cultural Interaction Attraction Field" was held in Armenia. The Ministry of Culture participates in a number of projects and activity programmes of the Cultural Cooperation Council, for example, the "Kupola Sodrujestva" programme, the programme on "The main activities in the culture field of the CIS member states till 2010" etc. Activities are being carried out as part of the Interstate Council for Book-Publishing, Book-Distribution and Periodicals and the Expert Group for the Inter-library Exchange System. Within the framework of cooperation with CIS member states, Armenia signed a number of agreements including the Model Law on Culture and Agreements on Cooperation of State Members of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Book-Publishing, Book-Distribution and Polygraphy. Work has been carried out on a number of draft agreements and projects ("On Joint Film Production", "On Creating Favourable Conditions for Mutual Exchange of Printed Products", "Interregional and cross-border cooperation" agenda and etc.).

Armenia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.4 Direct professional co-operation

Direct professional relations operate in different fields (cinematography, dramatic art, exhibition exchanges, exchanges of students and experts in the culture field), both at the level of state, non-governmental organisations and creative unions. Today, Armenia hosts international festivals in different areas of art, with a large geographic inclusion: conceptual art (Gyumri biennale); dramatic art ("Armmono", "Hay Fest"); cinematography ("Golden Apricot", "Woman", "It's Me"); musical art (Aram Khachaturyan International Competition, Violoncellists' Contest, Romance Contest, "National Gallery Festival", "XXI Perspectives" Festival), etc.

Armenia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

Intercultural dialogue is one of the priorities of Armenia's state cultural policy. According to the Armenian cultural strategy, all types of culture and art are considered as elements of intercultural dialogue. For the purpose of developing and strengthening intercultural dialogue in recent years, the Republic of Armenia has joined a number of major international instruments (see chapter 2.4.1).

Within the framework of principles and norms of international law, Armenia promotes: the preservation of Armenian historical and cultural values that are in other states and the preservation of historical and national values of other nations that are on the territory of Armenia; the development of educational and cultural life; as well as the implementation of articles of the Law on Preservation and Use of Immobile Monuments of History and Culture and of the Historical Environment, according to which "political, ideological, religious, race and national discrimination is prohibited".

The Republic of Armenian conducts active cultural dialogue with those countries that have elements of Christian and Islamic culture in its own territory, as well as protecting them at state level. According to Article 5 of the European Cultural Convention (provision on the preservation and availability of cultural values that are on the territories of different countries and that are a part of the European cultural heritage), the Republic of Armenia has proposed more than once to discuss the opening of a cultural corridor, on the one part, in the direction of Ani (in Turkey, including the Armenian historical-cultural monuments and historical places that are of Armenian interest - numerous ancient and medieval structures, Urartian fortresses and tombs, churches, sites of ancient and medieval cities and palaces and temporal structures). On the other hand, the cultural corridor could be extended in the direction of the Islamic historical-cultural values that may interest the Turkish people, particularly, the Muslim mosques, mausoleums, and caravanserais that are on medieval transit trade routes, bridges, the structures of mediaeval bath-houses and others that are in the various Marzes of Armenia.

A vivid example of intercultural dialogue at the regional level is the Caucasian Chamber Orchestra (headed by a German), whose members include the best musicians from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

In the annual budget of the Ministry of Culture, there is a special allocation for programmes presented by NGOs that give priority to the promotion of youth cultural participation and cultural dialogue and to the involvement of the youth in the local communities. The youth of national minorities are included in the youth activities conducted at the state and international level.

As a result of changes that have taken place in the structure of the government, issues concerning youth were transferred to the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Armenia/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.6 Other relevant issues

One of the priority directions of Armenia's cultural policy is the preservation and development of relations with the Diaspora, which is carried out through cultural unions, NGOs and centres operating for the Diaspora. Armenian cultural centres function in Italy, France, Austria, the USA, Russia, Lebanon, Syria, Jerusalem, Iran and in other places. The Mkhitarists Order in Vienna and Venice, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the "Hamazgayin" Educational-Cultural Union, the Tekeyan Cultural Union, the Gafesjyan Foundation, the Armenian Relief Fund, the Haigazian University of Beirut, as well as many other foundations, are involved in the preservation of Armenian culture. To promote Armenia-Diaspora relations, performances of Armenian ensembles, individual performers, and art exhibitions are organised abroad under state sponsorship.

To further broaden Armenia-Diaspora relations, educational programmes have been developed and implemented jointly with other ministries, both in Armenia and in Armenian communities operating in other states, directed at preservation of the Armenian culture: teaching of the Armenian language and literature and Armenian culture. The biennial "One Nation, One Culture" Festival, conducted under the aegis of the President, has so far involved nearly 5 000 Armenians from 12 countries.

Armenia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.1 Main elements of the current cultural policy model

In Armenia, cultural policy is directed at the preservation, presentation, and spreading of the national traditional system of values; at the development of citizens in the newly independent state and the cultural environment; at the enhancement of the social-psychological atmosphere of society; and is also aimed at ensuring the national security of the state. The main goal of the state in this field is to ensure the rights of its citizens to carry out cultural activities, to enjoy cultural services and cultural fruits, to ensure their availability, as well as the recreation and development of the cultural potential of the society. Today, cultural policy in Armenia is being adjusted to consider new economic relations; a culture management model, a balance of market mechanisms and state guarantees is being formed. However, cultural policy still remains fairly centralised even though in 1995, after the adoption of the Constitution, the process of decentralisation in the cultural field was started (see chapter 7.1 for more details).

As a result of decentralisation, 1 586 cultural organisations (cultural houses, libraries, music and art schools, and theatre and concert organisations) have fallen under the jurisdiction of local-self government bodies. However, there are a number of gaps in the decentralisation policy that was implemented: the legislative field was incomplete, the framework of authorities of bodies and officials in the management system was not specified, there was no general personnel policy (the laws that defined it - the Laws on Cultural Legislation and on Local Self-Government - were adopted in 2002), as a result of which the communities faced difficulties in the organisation of the activities of the cultural organisations. With this in mind, the Ministry of Culture implemented a number of programmes providing state assistance to the Marzes and communities and conducted a number of activities that were aimed at, by continuing the decentralisation policy, ensuring the necessary legislative framework and at providing organisational assistance. The Government Programme on Culture Development in the Marzes aimed to provide solutions for the main concerns (improvement of the management system, the availability of cultural services, the possibility to carry out cultural activities, the ability to receive a cultural education etc.). Today's main issue is to help the local self-government authorities to implement their plans in the cultural field, bearing in mind the importance of direct participation of communities in the organisation process of cultural life. Major changes in the cultural policy of the Marzes are not envisaged.

Armenia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.2 National definition of culture

According to Article 6 of the Law on the Principles of Cultural Legislation (2002), the culture is considered to be "a set of modes of activities, perceptions and thinking in the material and spiritual fields of the society and their expression representing a stated value".

Armenia/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.3 Cultural policy objectives

The Law on the Principles of Cultural Legislation, adopted in 2002, defines that the main objectives of the state cultural policy are:

At present, the cultural policy of the Republic of Armenia is guided by the following principles:

Armenia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

In the past, the priority of the Armenian cultural policy was mainly directed at the preservation of cultural structures and major trends, but now cultural development and promoting Armenian culture are emphasised more.

The priority directions of the cultural policy today are:

1.   The formation of the legislative framework in the field:

2.   The preservation of cultural heritage:

3.   The development of a new model on decentralisation of cultural management and financing:

4.   The development of modern art and cultural infrastructures and the promotion of cultural processes:

5.   The use of information technologies in the cultural area:

6.   The provision of training and education for specialists in the cultural field:

7.   The development of cultural links inside Armenia and with foreign countries:

In 2007, the Ministry of Culture drew up the 2008-2012 Culture Development Strategy Project. It defines the mission of the Ministry as the main director of cultural policy in Armenia and the main actor in the progress of the Armenian nation through preservation and support for culture. Among the priorities of the document are:

Currently, the encouragement of projects by talented artists, youth cultural groups, broadening the outlook of young people by educational establishments and by the programmes of education on national culture, history, and civic education are among the priorities in the cultural field.

In the elaboration of the cultural priorities, discussions took place with cultural workers, representatives of creative unions and independent experts.

In implementing these priorities, some difficulties arise due to the absence of a comprehensive knowledge on the activities of the cultural establishments in the Marzes, as the data of the National Statistics Service does not correspond to the data received from Marzpetarans (regional administrations). In order to overcome this gap, monitoring is periodically conducted in the Marzes. In addition, the legislative field needs to be improved and personnel need to be trained and their training updated.

Armenia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.1 Cultural minorities, groups and communities

At the last census (2001), the national minorities in Armenia make up 2.2% of the country's population; Yazidis prevail (40%).

According to this census, the national composition of the population of the Republic of Armenia is as follows:

Table 1:     National composition of the population of the Republic of Armenia, 2001




3 145 354


3 409


40 620


1 176


14 660


1 633


1 519


4 640


3 213 011

Source:      Census 2001.

In line with the Constitution, citizens of Armenia who belong to national minorities have the right to preserve and develop their own customs, language, culture and religious liberties. These rights are reflected in a number of laws, which are being strengthened. The policy on national minorities is based on three fundamental principles:

The adoption of international agreements, the necessary amendments and insertions made to the laws of Armenia, as well as the operation of programmes promoting integration, are directed at the implementation of the above three principles.

Under the Law on Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation passed in 2002, Armenia supports the cultural identity protection and development of national minorities residing on its territory.

Armenia has joined a number of international and intergovernmental treaties that ensure and protect the multicultural environment of national and language minorities, including the Framework Convention on the Rights of National Minorities and the European Charter on Regional or Minority Languages. They are implemented in Armenia both by national legislation and by including them in cultural, educational, informational and other programmes. Armenia has also passed the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organisations. A number of non-governmental organisations operate initiatives to benefit national and religious communities.

At present, state support is provided for education in national (mother) languages, for the following minorities: Russians, Yаzidis, Kurds, Assyrians, partially Greeks, Poles, Germans, and Ukrainians - in the programmes of Armenian higher educational institutions. There are regular radio programmes in Kurdish, Yаzidi, Russian, Assyrian, and Georgian languages, which are realised with state support. In the cultural sphere, organisations that function in the educational-cultural development sphere also receive financial and organisational support. The legislative amendments for the protection and development of ethnic identity of non-Armenian residents are ongoing.

In recent years, a number of cultural institutions and cultural centres for national minorities were opened in Armenia.

Armenia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.2 Language issues and policies

The Law of the Republic of Armenia on Language was adopted on 3 March 1993, under which the state language of the Republic of Armenia is Armenian and the official language is literary Armenian. The second language is Russian, which the majority of the population can speak. Among the new generation, the number of people with knowledge of other foreign languages, particularly English, French and German, is gradually increasing.

The Language State Inspectorate, attached to the Ministry of Science and Education, manages the language policy, decides the criteria and controls the execution of the Language Law.

Compared with the Soviet period, the usage of the Russian language has noticeably declined, although Russian is still taught in secondary and higher education institutions, the Russian press and literature is published, Russian radio programmes are broadcast, and some private TV channels broadcast Russian-speaking films without Armenian subtitles. In Armenia, which is described as being a language homogenous country, many foreign language papers and magazines are published, such as the Russian "Respublica Armenia", "Urartu", "Golos Armenii", "Novoye Vremya" and other newspapers, "Literaturnaya Armenia", "Yerevan", "Afisha", "Armyanka" magazines, Yazidi "Lalesh", "Ezdikhana" ("The voice of Yazidis" in Armenian), Kurdish "Rya Taza" (New way), "Mijagetq" (Armenian-Kurdish), Ukrainian "Dnipro", "Magen David" ("The star of David" in Russian) of the Jewish community and the Greek "Byzantine inheritance".

Currently, there are no major issues in Armenia relating to foreign languages and other cultures. During the Soviet period and, especially, following 1988 there was a struggle against the use of the Russian language although, following independence, this struggle ceased (at present, the Russian press in Armenia is even stronger than it was during Soviet years). Besides the English language, a number of other foreign languages are taught in the institutes of higher education and the centres operate for teaching French, Spanish, German and Italian, and cultural unions operate.

The existing legislation does not prohibit the language usage of minorities; the state language supremacy is in harmony with the language preservation of national minorities, the international right of mutual respect towards all cultures and the language-political norms of the European Union. In general, each non-Armenian resident of Armenia freely enjoys the entire international and national rights provided for national minorities, but the state offers additional financial support only to the national minorities that meet certain guidelines. These guidelines are developed on the basis of the main principle that if a national minority in any settlement is 15% or more of the population and, if in any small settlement with a population of 2 000 people, the national minority is represented by at least 300 people, then this minority will receive financial support from the state budget to realise their educational, identity protection and other programmes. In Armenia, the Russian, Yazidi and Assyrian ethnic communities meet these guidelines.

Armenia/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.3 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes

The government pays great attention and takes appropriate measures in the local communities and regions to support cultural variety, intercultural dialogue and the issues of social unity. This support is confirmed by law every year, according to the Law on the State Budget. With the aim of enlargement and dissemination of intercultural dialogue, major programmes are organised at local and regional community level in Armenia.

Among the strategic policy issues of recent years carried out by the government in the cultural sphere, special attention is given to developing participation in the international level actions on intercultural dialogue. The main agencies in Armenia responsible for intercultural dialogue are the bodies that carry out cultural policy at all administrative levels (see chapter 2.2).

One of the main objectives of the NGO union activity for national minorities is the support for intercultural dialogue in Armenia and they organise a number of measures, which include representatives from different nations.

One important measure is a fine arts and crafts exhibition of national minorities (for the past six years) organised in Armenia with state assistance, as well as a music festival for national minorities (for the past eight years). The 2008 programme envisages the realisation of 2 new programmes with state assistance: "an anthology of literary works of the representatives of national minorities" and "scientific-cognitive visits to the monuments and historical places of national minorities". The programme of expenditure in the book-publishing field provides for a special programme for the "publication of literature of national minorities".

For more information, see:
Database of Good Practice on Intercultural Dialogue and our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Armenia/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.4 Social cohesion and cultural policies

The state has the key role in ensuring the right to create and to make available its citizens' cultural activity, of ensuring access to cultural services and benefits, and of encouraging society's cultural potential. At present, in Armenian society, there is a noticeable social polarisation which has an impact on culture. In particular, not everyone is in a position to access artistic education, despite sufficient availability. The average monthly fee is between 3 000 and 5 000 AMD (about 6.5-10.5 euros) excluding expenses connected with the purchase of materials or tools. According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, the average monthly wage in Armenia by January 2008 was 84 000 AMD, which equals 185 euros.

To ensure social unity, one of the main tasks of the cultural policy is the link between the provision and availability of cultural services. To ensure the availability of cultural education for socially disadvantaged families, since 2007, the music and art schools receive extra payments from the state budget (in the form of refunds). The refund system was applied initially in the education of folk music instruments; it is anticipated to extend this benefit to other professions as well. In order to expand access to museum, library and theatrical-concert services, a new tariff policy and reduction system for socially disadvantaged groups is being developed. Today there are fixed days to visit museums free of charge. Concert tours of state theatrical-concert organisations are presented in the regions, financed by the state budget.

Another main direction of cultural policy is the enhancement and development of the cultural potential of society. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Culture carries out the training of specialists at medium and highly specialised educational institutions with the goal to ensure the necessary quantity of specialists. There is state support for educating young people from socially disadvantaged families and there is also support to ensure that the cultural organisations functioning in the regions are replenished with necessary specialists.

The officials responsible for ensuring social cohesion at all the levels of power are the bodies that control the cultural policy (see chapter 2.2).

Armenia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.5 Media pluralism and content diversity

In the mid 1990s, private radio and television broadcasting began to develop. However, the regulation of this field began only following the adoption of the Law on Television and Radio (2000) and the formation of the National Committee for Television and Radio on 19 March 2001. Today, in Armenia, there is one Public TV Company and one Public Radio Company. There are 54 private broadcasters, 11 Radio companies (9 in Yerevan, 2 in the regions), and 43 TV companies (17 in Yerevan, 26 in the regions). Unlike the printed press, the advertisement incomes of radio and TV companies are very large. The correlation between the Armenian programmes in television broadcasts (including the Armenian translation of foreign programmes) and foreign ones varies, depending on the TV channel, but averages about 55%-45% (see also chapter 5.3.8).

According to the Law on Television and Radio, the same legal entity may not obtain a broadcasting license for the same geographic location for both radio and television. The same law also stipulates broadcasters to guarantee a certain proportion of local content - 65% of air time for all broadcasters and no less than two thirds for Public Television.

There are press agencies in Armenia that cooperate with CIS member countries and similar world major agencies disseminate everyday information. "Armenpress" is the oldest press agency in Armenia, operating since 1921. Two other agencies that have been formed since 1991 are "Noyan Tapan" and "Arminfo", a private agency. There are also photo agencies: "Mediamax", "De Facto", "Arka", "Regnium" media, "Photolur" and "Patker".

5 daily newspapers are published in Armenia, including "Aravot" (Morning), "Azg" (Nation), "Haykakan jamanak" (Armenian Times), and "Hayots Ashkharh" (Armenian World) private newspapers. The former official newspaper of the Parliament, "Republic of Armenia", has special state status and the publisher is "Hanrapetutyun" (Republic), a closed joint-stock company, with the state as stockholder. The Russian "Respublika Armeniya" is published twice a week and the publisher is again a state company. There are Russian private newspapers "Novoye Vremya" and "Golos Armenii" (published three times per week). Among the political weekly newspapers are the official weekly newspaper of ARD "Erkir" and UCR official newspaper "Iravunq", as well as the private "Ayb-Fe", the founder of which is the "Melteqs" company - the founder of "A1+" TV company.

Since Soviet times, there have been publications of children's and youth periodicals ("Kanch" and "Akhbyur"). After independence, new publications emerged - "Khatutik" and "Manana". There are also social, political, literary and cultural newspapers - "Yerevani Hamaynapatker", "Noyan Tapan" in English, the newspapers "Grakan tert", "Grqeri Ashkharh", as well as the magazines "Garun", "Nor Dar", "Norq", and "Literaturnaya Armenia". There are also specialist periodicals (comic, scientific, philosophical and so on). The newspaper "Qristonya Hayastan" is published by the church, the monthly newspaper "Ne" is published for women and "Football Plus" serves sports enthusiasts. There are also game publications of a trade nature. Russian commercial and social-political periodicals have a great number of readers in Armenia also.

In 1995, "Aragil" (in English) information electronic agency was established (by Internet). Two information agencies also specialise in the area of the economy - "Arka" and "Mediamax"(in Russian).

In 1991, together with the adoption of the Law on other Means of Press and Mass Media, censorship officially disappeared in Armenia and freedom of the media was declared.

When becoming an EC member, Armenia stated that it would pass a new Law on Mass Media within a year and reorganise the TV national channel into a Public channel, with an independent administrative council management. Both of the plans have been accomplished. In 2000, the Public Television and Public Radio Company were established and, in the same year, the Law on Television and Radio was passed. In 2003, following a number of discussions and decisions of experts (including the experts of Armenia, EC and Article 19 organisation) a new Law on Mass Media was passed, which came into force in February 2004. Compared with the previous law, this one is more progressive and complies with international standards. The most important part is that the compulsory registration of mass media has disappeared and the principle of legal protection of the mass media was confirmed.

The Law on Freedom of Information was passed in September 2003 and came into force in November 2003. The law guarantees the transparency and promotion of state and local self-governmental bodies and the transparency and promotion of private company activities that implement public functions, as well as the protection of the right for everyone to be informed, including the legal mechanisms of ensuring the information availability.

Subscriptions to newspapers and periodicals are low, due to the high prices related to expenses for publication and dissemination and a weak market for advertising. The lack of financial investments for the control of media groups and the small salaries of the journalists also hinder progress in this field.

Network (Internet) media was initiated in Armenia in 2000 by the Pan Armenian Network. Today, there are a number of similar newspapers, such as "Antsudarz", "Hetq", "Armenia now" and "Taregir". Parallel to the dissemination of these periodicals, the information from various media also flows to the Internet. All the radio channels, 55% of the printed media and 26% of TV companies have web pages. In 2002, the state role in information provision disappeared though, until now, the financing of state and non-state media, "Armenpress" agency and "Mir" TV company, is realised by the Ministry.

The cultural media is has a limited circulation. They are published both in the form of separate publications (eg. Armenian-English magazine "Hay Arvest") and supplements to the newspapers ("Azg", "Golos Armenii"). There are also web pages devoted to Armenian culture and its separate administrations (eg., The radio channel "Vem" has a cultural theme, whereas there is no TV channel relating to culture (although Armenian's have access to the Russian "Cultura" TV channel).

There are no serious debates in the country over EU competition policies.

The Media Diversity Institute Armenian office has conducted several training programmes and has published guidebooks on diversity reporting, which highlights cultural diversity issues among other sensitive issues.

Armenia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.6 Culture industries: policies and programmes

In accordance with the Law on Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation (2002), cultural services and cultural products (goods) that meet the cultural demands of the population are considered to be cultural welfare.

When considering state budget programme applications (including applications relating to the cultural industry), they must first comply with the major tasks of the cultural policy.

The illegal usage of audio-video production (piracy) has reached major scales (about 90%). This is an economic crime that causes damage not only to the development of cultural, scientific and educational potential, but also to the organisations of the cultural industry sector. The Ministry of Interior Affairs has formed a specialised unit which investigates the production and circulation of illegal audio and video production. As a result of several raids among underground recording studios and shops, the volume of pirated content has significantly decreased. However, these measures are sporadic and systematic solutions need to be implemented.

Cultural policy is organised through programmes where private and public organisations, local self-government authorities and individuals on contractual stipulations can act as partners. They can produce programme applications which can receive partial assistance from the state e.g. every three years, the Ministry of Culture organises a contest of young piano players (named after A. Babajanyan), where the public organisations are co-organizers (the Union of composers and musicologists, A. Babajanyan Foundation, all-Armenians youth foundation), including the regional administrations and the authorities of self-government.

No detailed observation was carried out yet for receiving information on independent cultural industries.

Armenia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.7 Employment policies for the cultural sector

In the cultural sphere, those employed work for state and community non-commercial organisations, private cultural organisations, and cultural foundations and are self employed. In 2006, the total number of cultural employees and artists of state non-commercial cultural organisations, within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture, was 5 231.

There are 34 theatres in Armenia, 16 within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture, 11 are within the community jurisdiction and 4 are private theatres. There are 22 music organisations in Armenia: 11 within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture, 4 within the community jurisdiction and 7 are private organisations. There are 16 dance organisations in Armenia: 3 under the Ministry of Culture, 1 under community jurisdiction and 11 are private organisations.

The number of employees in the cultural sphere, according to the various sectors, is listed below:

There is no statistical data yet relating to independent cultural workers. Some of these workers are calculable via their membership of creative unions; in 2006 there were 2 478 (Union of Composers and musicologists - 125 members, Union of Theatre Workers - 708 members, Union of Painters - 1 092 members, Union of Art of Dance Workers - 50 members, Union of Cinematographers - 171 members, Writers' Union - 332 members).

The average salary of workers in cultural organisations under Ministry of Culture jurisdiction is 40 443 AMD; within community jurisdiction, the corresponding salary is 27 000 AMD, which is due to the lack of finances in the communities.

Salaries in the cultural sector are the lowest in comparison with other social spheres. In the education sector, a teacher's salary is 60 000 AMD, while in the healthcare sector the average salary is 40 000 AMD.

The absence of legislation on public services in Armenia means that there is no regulation of employees in libraries, archives, museums, cultural houses, music and art schools, the professions, the system of training and retraining, work admission and advancement, or for payment and rewards. As a result, non-professional workers are now sometimes employed in cultural centres.

Today, cultural management skills are being obtained indirectly, rather than institutionally in Armenia. Several current cultural managers obtained their knowledge either independently or through different international organisations. Currently, cultural management is taught only in the Komitas Conservatory and in the Institute of Theatre and Cinema, whereas other cultural spheres are also in need of managers.

In accordance with the Culture Development Strategy of 2008-2012, the goals for personnel policy in the culture sphere are:

The following actions are stipulated to enhance the personnel strategy:

Armenia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.8 New technologies and cultural policies

A major direction of Armenian cultural policy is investment of modern informational-communicative technologies and systems of electronic management in the cultural sector, as well as stimulation of digitalisation of cultural objects. The provision of electronic information equipment is still far from satisfactory in Armenia.

With the purpose of creating an electronic depository of museum objects under the patronage of the World Bank "Museum", a computer programme was developed, which is used in 7 museums. In 2000, the technical re-equipment process for libraries began. With finance from the state budget and remunerations, the automation process of collections has started in all state libraries; 7 libraries carry out an electronic service and 5 libraries are included in the joint automated net of Armenian libraries. The production of a combined electronic catalogue programme has started, with the participation of the Armenian National Chamber of books. Library collections are enriched annually with 16 000 units of information material to meet current reading demands. The effectiveness of the library-informational services needs to be improved in order to meet modern reading demands and to provide an adequate electronic service level. The Armenian Higher Technological Centre and the Information Technologies Foundation are working on cultural initiatives.

The automation of the informational-search system for archive collections was initiated in 2001. Since 2004, work on digitalisation of the photo collection and, since 2006, the cinema collection has got underway. A special fund was established to carry out this work.

To date, the digital data catalogue includes about 400 000 documents, 11 900 photos and 40 film pictures.

Armenia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.9 Heritage issues and policies

The key law that regulates this sphere is the Law on Preservation and Utilisation of Immovable Monuments of History and Culture and of the Historic Environment (1999), which defines historical and cultural monuments and the responsibilities of state governing and local self-governing authorities in the field of monument protection, usage and so on.

From 2002-2007, the government has approved the state lists of historical and cultural monuments in 10 Marzes of Armenia and in Yerevan city, where 24 152 monuments are included, as well as the list of "immovable monuments that are state property and are not subject to amortisation", which includes 18 935 monuments.

The monuments registered on the territory of the Republic are grouped in approximately 4 500 territorial protection units; 700 of them are historic, ancient and medieval capitals of Armenia, strongholds and habitations, while another 1 200 are monastic complexes, churches and temples. There are hundreds of tomb fields, historical cemeteries, secular buildings, memorials and monuments registered also.

The cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and the EU in the heritage field continues. Since 1998, the Haghpat and Sanahene monastic complexes, Geghard monastery and the Valley of River Azat, Echmiadzin Cathedral and the archaeological place of Zvartnots have been included in "World Heritage List" of UNESCO.

Since 2004, the state has been allocating funding for the protection of historical monuments. However, the heritage works, particularly the excavation-designing-protection stages, still need to be regulated.

Following the independence of the Republic of Armenia, the communist ideology museums, devoted to party figures, were closed. In 1997, about 18 museums in the state system were passed to regional jurisdictions, while preserving the state property right for the collections.

As a result of decentralisation policy, financing of museums within the regional and community jurisdictions was reduced. The museums of distant, bordering, high mountainous communities are in need of methodical and professional information and consultations.

In 2004-2006, new permanent exhibitions were organised in 11 museums, exhibiting more than 4 000 museum items that were not displayed previously. More frequently organised exhibitions and diverse undertakings have increased interest in museums among Armenian and foreign visitors. In 2005, the number of visitors was 275 031, which exceeded the 2004 figure by 35.5%.

Since 2006, the "Museum on Wheels" programme has been operating, which aims to familiarise the distant and bordering population of the Republic with their museum heritage.

The "Union of Armenian Libraries" was created to improve international cooperation, ensure innovation, compare the work of Armenian libraries, and to exchange best practice. There are currently 25 Armenian libraries that are members of this union. In 2006, the Union became a member of IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations).

The Armenian National Archive (SNPO) was established on the basis of the archive department attached to the government and the central and Marz state archives. In 2005, the national film library also joined this SNPO. The same year, the Armenian archive system transferred to the Ministry of Territorial Administration. In 2004, the National Assembly adopted the Law on Archives Business, which regulates the most important key issues of the archives sector, particularly the issues connected with the replenishment, finances, reservation and usage of archive documents by state governing bodies, state institutions and organisations. During 2005, archives were established in many bodies of state governance and the improvement process is ongoing.

One of the main directions of state cultural policies is the preservation of non-material (spiritual) cultural heritage, which includes preserved, implemented and verbally transferred traditional cultural values in three areas: folklore, ethnography, and national art and handicrafts. In 2006, the government approved the "conception on preservation of non-material cultural heritage and improving its viability". The adoption of a law in this area is in the development stage.

In the field of cultural heritage, the main disputes concern the protection of cultural values. The most recent example is the broad public discussions concerning the digitalisation of cultural values and, particularly, of Armenian manuscripts. The problem is that the digitalisation of those manuscripts was to be realised by a private foreign organisation, with a loss of copyright, to which the majority of society objected. The public demanded that the work should be carried out by the state even though it would take a longer period and that the copyright should be reserved by the state in cases where manuscripts are recognised as national cultural items of particular importance.

Armenia/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.10 Gender equality and cultural policies

Armenia has joined the UN Convention on "Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination of Women".

In accordance with the Constitution, all people are equal before the law and gender discrimination is forbidden. The National Statistical Service lists the average number of women in culture and science in 1999 as 111 800; in 2001 - 116 600; in 2002 - 105 300; and in 2003 - 98 600 people. The present Culture Minister and Deputy-minister, Deputy-speaker of the National Assembly, Chairperson of the Permanent Commission on Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports are women, as are 62% of ministerial employees (5 231 people, 1 975 of whom are men and 3 228 are women). The number of women in cultural NGOs and in institutions engaged in cultural production is also high.

The Republic of Armenia has adopted the "National Programme of 2004-2010 on Improvement of the Situation of Women and the Elevation of their Role in Society" and the list of undertakings anticipates radio-TV programmes devoted to the improvement of women's status, organisation of courses for business women in the cultural sphere and consultation provision.

Armenia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

Information is currently not available.

Armenia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.1 Constitution

Under the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia (Articles 8.1, 11, 31, 40, 41) :

Armenia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction

In the field of culture, state policy is carried out by the government. According to the Constitution, the Marz (regional) governors realise the territorial policy of the government and regulate the activity of the territorial services of executive bodies. In the cultural sphere, state governance is realised by the state body authorised by the government which is the Ministry of Culture. The responsibilities of this body are determined by the Law on Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation (2002).

In the cultural sphere, the authority of institutions for local governance, the legal, economic, financial bases and guarantees for their realisation, as well as the relations between state and local government bodies are regulated by the Law on Local Self-Government (2002). In the cultural sphere, the responsibilities that are authorised by the state body are determined by Article 22 of the Law on Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation (2002). The Ministry of Culture implements the state policy on culture, participates in the development of educational criteria, produces manuals and programmes in the cultural sphere, creates a unified information system, keeps statistical records for the cultural sphere and the registration of cultural organisations, as well as organises professional training and retraining of workers in this sector.

In the organisation of cultural life in the Marzes, the authorities of Marz governors and community leaders are determined by the Law on Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation. Articles 23 and 24 of this Law ensure that the Marz governor and the community leader ensure the state cultural policy in the territory of Marzes and communities. The Marz governor organises the construction of cultural facilities in the marz, their preservation and exploitation, and contributes to the restoration and dissemination of folk ceremonies. The Marz governor also has responsibilities determined by the Constitution in the field of heritage protection and use of historical-cultural monuments located in the Marz territory.

The funding for the realisation of these responsibilities is mainly provided by the state budget. The community leader, as a mandatory authority, organises the activity of the cultural organisations created by the community (community and non-profit organisations), including their reconstruction and exploitation of the work of the cultural facilities. As a voluntary authority, the community leader contributes to the development of folk handicrafts, folk arts and amateur art activities. It is anticipated that the financial means for this activity will be allocated from the community budgets however the communities still have no real capabilities for full and effective realisation of the tasks outlined above.

Armenia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.3 Allocation of public funds

The allocation of public funds is carried out in accordance with the annual State Budget Law. Funds are allocated to the Ministry of Culture in the form of mid-term programme expenditure and in the form of current year expenditure. The funds in the ministry budget are distributed in accordance with the infra-legislative acts. Amendments to the law are regulated by government resolutions and by orders of the Finance and Economy Minister.

The Ministry of Culture announces annual tenders for the various cultural fields (e.g. theatre, cinema) and carries out fund allocation programmes. The purchase of capital outlays, devices and equipment for cultural facilities is carried out through tenders announced by the State Agency of Purchases, which is attached to the government.

The Minister of Culture distributes funds in accordance with supremacy defined by the State Council. Deputy Ministers of Culture and heads of departments are members of the Council.

Armenia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.4 Social security frameworks

In 2005, the official unemployment level in the Republic of Armenia was 8.2%, however there is no separate data concerning cultural workers.

The social welfare criterion in the Republic of Armenia applies to the cultural sphere as well. No legislative changes have been made in the sphere of social welfare.

(See chapter 8.2 for information on pensions.)

For more information, see also our Status of Artists section.

Armenia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.5 Tax laws

There are no legal tax benefits in the Republic of Armenia relating to cultural patronage. The VAT for cultural services and goods is 20%.

There is not yet any privilege to free cultural workers or facilities from income taxes or from any other taxes. There is no tax-free system in the Republic of Armenia; only international organisations functioning in the Republic (including the organisations realising cultural activity) are released from paying VAT during the performance of their programmes, under agreement with the government.

Although there is no law fixed in Armenia, creative workers do not pay value added taxes on the sales of their art work.

Despite the fact that during the last decade a number of cultural undertakings have been realised under private patronage, there are no tax laws to stimulate these kinds of activities by freeing donors from paying taxes or by applying a reduction system. There are no special privileges defined by the Laws on Income and Profit to benefit cultural institutions or individuals.

At the same time, there is a commission attached to the government which allows some benevolent programmes, once recognised, to be freed from paying taxes. A number of programmes are carried out by donors in Armenia in the sphere of arts and culture (e.g. "Armenia" All-Armenian Foundation, Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation, Gafesjian Foundation, Izmirlian Foundation).

Armenia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.6 Labour laws

Institutions, including cultural ones, are guided by the Labour Code (2004). Labour relations between individual art workers and cultural organisations are regulated both by law and by the provisions of agreements signed between them, in the form of typical labour or service agreements. Regarding the regulation of payments, cultural workers do not differ from other workers.

The Labour Code does not provide any separate provision for voluntary work and unintentionally considers it as a job too. Volunteers work in different fields, but without any legislative protection.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section.

Armenia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.7 Copyright provisions

Implementation and preservation of copyright provisions are ongoing in the Republic of Armenia. The formation of the newly independent Armenia gave rise to new institutes in the field of intellectual property, particularly in the copyright sphere, along with the necessity for compliance with international legal acts. In the sphere of video-audio production, piracy is a major issue. The Law on Copyright and Related Rights and the Civil Code regulate the issues of intellectual property and copyright, including copyright relating to works of literature, science and the arts.

The Law on Copyright and Related Rights was adopted on 15 January 2006. The main goal of the law is to define copyright works and subjects, to regulate more productively legal interrelations, and to ensure guarantees for the implementation of provisions in the law. Particularly, the works' list in the cultural sphere was filled up and developed, including new directions connected with the use of information technologies (calligraphy, electronic cultural products and so on).

Recently, there was a dispute with regard to the preservation of copyright and related rights for computer typefaces, involving the creators, publishers and designers, the organisations acting in the IT sector and representatives of scientific organisations, as well as the Armenian representative of Microsoft. More efficient mechanisms for the use of documents in the legislative field were proposed, as well as standardisation and authorisation issues.

The Armenian Copyright Law is based on the European model, though it has specific local approaches. There are policies for "fair use" of copyright material, particularly for educational purposes, which is reflected in the law. 

Armenia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.8 Data protection laws

In accordance with the Constitution, the state guarantees the existence and activity of an independent and public radio and television service offering a variety of information, cultural and entertainment programmes.

Armenia/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.9 Language laws

Under the Constitution, Armenian is confirmed as the state language of the Republic of Armenia. Regulation of language use is carried out by the state Language Inspectorate of the Ministry of Education and Science.

The language used in broadcasting radio and television programmes in Armenia depends on the status of the broadcaster (state or private) and the nature of the programme, although programme language is mainly Armenian. TV programmes in foreign languages, foreign language episodes of Armenian programmes, as well as the films of the Public TV Company are broadcasted in simultaneous Armenian translation. This does not include the TV programmes that are broadcasted for foreign countries and for national minorities. Since there are no state cinemas in Armenia, films are mainly shown in Russian, because the majority of the Armenian population speaks Russian and the films are distributed mainly through Russian companies, which avoid extra costs on dubbing. This practice is not in line with the requirements of the legislation on the state language. The exceptions are only the films shown during Yerevan international film fest "Golden Apricot" and within the frameworks of different cultural days, when films are presented with Armenian oral or written translation.

There is a Russian Dramatic Theatre in Yerevan and its performances are in Russian. The performances during the "Hayfest" international annual festival of theatrical troupes are performed in the languages of participating countries.

Books in foreign languages are published in Armenia under state patronage including books in the languages of national minorities.

Armenia/ 5.2 Legislation on culture

The key normative-legal act regulating the cultural sphere is the Law on Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation (2002), which determines the tasks of the Republic of Armenia's cultural legislation, principles of the state cultural policy, goals, approaches to the cultures of national minorities, fundamental human and civil rights and freedoms in the cultural sphere, cultural wealth of the Republic of Armenia, relations between the state and the creative workers' unions, state activities in the cultural sphere, powers of the state and local self-government bodies, financing of culture and cultural activities, types of activities of cultural nonprofit organisations, and the main directions of international cooperation in this sphere.

Analysis of the Law on Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation shows a necessity to adopt legislation to regulate the separate cultural sectors (protection of cultural heritage, cinematography, works of amateur art, museums, libraries, archives, publishing businesses, artistic education, folk culture, etc).

Some of the drafts regulating the cultural sphere are at the discussion stage in the National Assembly for several years. Work on drafting of some laws is under way at the Ministry of Culture. It is anticipated to develop and submit, for adoption to the National Assembly, the following legal acts: Draft Laws on Theatre and Theatrical Activity, on Museum Collection and Museums, on Library Activity, on Non-Material Cultural Heritage and new editions of old Laws such as Documents and Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation. It is also anticipated to develop and present the Law Draft on National Film.

The cultural sphere is also regulated by other laws and by-laws, including Laws on Preservation and Utilisation of Immovable Monuments of History and Culture and of the Historic Environment, Immovable Monuments of History and Culture Considered State Ownership of RA and Not Subject to Alienation, ArchivesActivity, as well as Regulations on the State Registration, Study, Protection, Mounting, Repair, Restoration, Utilisation of Immovable Monuments of History and Culture and Transportation of Immovable Monuments of History and Culture.

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.1 Visual and applied arts

Legal acts relating to these art forms have not been adopted yet.

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.2 Performing arts and music

Legal acts relating to these art forms have not been adopted yet.

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

The Law on Preservation and Utilisation of Immovable Monuments of History and Culture and of the Historic Environment (adopted on the 11 November 1998) determines the concept of monuments of history and culture, objects of preservation and utilisation of monuments, subjects, classification of monuments, powers of the state and local self-government bodies in the sphere of preservation and utilisation of monuments and the procedure on the state registration of monuments. It also ensures preservation of monuments and the historic environment and supports the study of monuments and archeological digs. The law determines the repair and restoration of monuments, ownership of monuments, utilisation of monuments, financing of monument preservation and utilisation, and responsibility in the sphere of monuments preservation and utilisation.

The Law on Immovable Monuments of History and Culture Considered State Ownership of RA and Not Subject to Alienation (adopted on the 11 April 2003) regulates the types of immovable monuments of history and culture considered to be in state ownership, as well as determines the forms of use of these monuments and the areas they occupy. On this basis, the Government Decree approved The List of Immovable Monuments Considered as State Ownership and Not Subject to Alienation.

The Regulations on the State Registration, Study, Protection, Mounting, Repair, Restoration, Utilisation of Immovable Monuments of History and Culture, and Transportation of Immovable Monuments of History and Culture regulate the cultural heritage sector.

The Law on Archives Activity (adopted on 08 June 2004) regulates legal relations concerning the stocking, registration, preservation, and use of the archives collection and other archival documents (despite the right of ownership), as well as relating to the archives sector. This sector is regulated also by the Government Decrees on Exemplary List of Archival Documents with Preservation Dates (N351-N of 9 March 2006) and the Procedure of Financing of Preservation of the Republic of Armenia Archives Collection (N33-N of 17 February 2005).

The Law on Export and Import of Cultural Values regulates the processes of export and import of cultural items, determining precisely the conditions and order of exporting cultural items that are considered personal and state property. This field is regulated by the Government Decrees on Procedure of Registration on a Voluntary Basis of Non-State Cultural Values Included in the Protective List of Cultural Values and Criteria Setting (N631-N of 19 May 2005), Approval of Expertise Licensing Procedure of Movable Cultural Values and the License Type (21 July 2005 N1115-N), and Establishment of the List of Especially Valuable Cultural Values Considered to be the Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Armenia (13 October 2005 N1643-N).

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

The Law on Mandatory Copying of Documents, adopted on the 04 October 2005, regulates the legal and financial-economic relations concerning the delivery, permanent preservation, registration of editions, electronic publications and unpublished material of all types, preparation of a bibliography and public use of the national heritage.

According to some Decrees adopted by the government in 1997, central libraries of the library system were reorganised as regional libraries, and other libraries under community ownership.

The coordinating link of works between the state and book-publishing sphere is the Agency on Publishing of the Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for the organisation and assistance to the book-publishing sphere, as well as for providing state assistance to the non-state press and regional TV companies. The Agency works out plans and programmes for sector development, renders assistance to the activities organised by NGOs, promotes the presentation of Armenian books at the international exhibitions, fairs, etc.

The priorities in the literature sector to receive state assistance are determined by the government as advised by the authorised body on cultural issues (the Ministry of Culture). The Ministry of Culture extends financing by evaluating and choosing applications-proposals with a group of experts.

On 1 November 2007, the government adopted Decree N1285 on Approval of the Procedure of Free Distribution and Realisation of Literature Published by the State Order. The Ministry of Culture carries out free distribution and realisation of the literature published by the state order through the "Book" fund, concluding a commission agreement with it. The Ministry determines which organisations receive free literature from the "Book" fund.

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.5 Architecture and environment

Legal acts relating to these art forms have not been adopted yet.

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.6 Film, video and photography

In 2002, the government adopted Fundamentals on Preservation, Distribution and Development of Cinematography, with the purpose of policy development in the cinematography sphere. This document approved the forms of organisation of state policy, fundamental principles and procedure for rendering state assistance, and the main activities and main directions of the strategy.

The main strategic directions in the cinematography sphere are film production, presentation and distribution, technology policy, international activities, and personnel training and retraining. The basic principles of the policy are the independence of cinema organisations, creation of available conditions for joining the cinematography sector, and rendering state assistance for the development of the sector.

The main purpose of the document is to ensure transition from the budget financing form of film production, distribution and presentation to the alternative financing system, which will give an opportunity to combine state assistance with different contributions from other organisations, the private sector and bank loans, under the obligatory condition to reimburse the funds given for film production, distribution and presentation by the state.

Separate legislation for regulation of the photography sphere is not envisaged.

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.7 Culture industries

There is no special legislation on the culture industries. The new Law on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (2006) and the Civil Code of the Republic of Armenia (1998) contribute to the regulation of relations in this sector. These relations include issues concerning intellectual property and copyright, as well as rights of authors of literature, science, art works and other sectors.

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.8 Mass media

In 1991, after the adoption of the Law on Press and Other Mass Media in Armenia, censorship was abolished officially and freedom of the press was declared. This is a key document in the broadcasting sphere as well.

On 9 October 2000, the President signed the Law on Television and Radio adopted by the National Assembly. On 13 December 2003, the Law on Mass Information was adopted. It contains several articles relating to the protection of national heritage during broadcasting. Broadcasting companies should provide 55% of airtime on average to "native programmes", including programmes on foreign languages translated into Armenian.

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.9 Legislation for self-employed artists

There is no separate legislation adopted for self-employed artists. Their fundamental rights and freedoms are prescribed by the Law on the Fundamentals of Cultural Legislation (2002). The fundamental human and civil rights and freedoms in the cultural sector are envisaged in Chapter 2 of the Law, by which every person has a right to participate in cultural life and carry out cultural and creative activity, participate in cultural values, receive appropriate education, as well as the right to export the results of their creative activity. The creators have a right to establish cultural organisations. The same law determines that the state supports the activities of the creative workers' unions, giving them an opportunity to participate in cultural policy development and takes into consideration their proposals in the course of elaboration of programmes in the spheres of creative workers' employment, professional training, job guarantees and social security. According to Article 3 of the Law, the principle of freedom of cultural and creative activity is envisaged.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section.

Armenia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.10 Other areas of relevant legislation

Information is currently not available.

Armenia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.1 Short overview

Currently, financing of culture by the state is seeing a period of growth in comparison with previous years. The main source of cultural sector financing is the state budget, from the section on "Culture, information, sport and religion". The financing is realised on 2 administrative levels: ministry and marz administrations. The basis of the financing structure is annual programmes on preservation, distribution and development of culture, which are still limited in number and addressed to concrete organisations.

The financing of legal entities from the state budget is realised in 2 ways: via grants and subsidies through providing state orders (Decree of the government N 1937- of 24 December 2003). According to the procedures, a subsidy is a reimbursement of the losses, or some part of them, sustained by the organisation as a result of the production, export and import of goods, execution of works and rendering of services by fixed prices (the lowest price as compared with a profitable price) from a given organisation.

At present, budgetary financing of cultural organisations is realised in the form of applications on the basis of the established cultural programmes. However, there is no precise division between the realised financing, grants awarded and expected results. On the other hand, this assistance has a targeted character and is directed to concrete state non-profit organisations functioning under the jurisdiction of the Ministry.

The Ministry of Culture is included in the Programmed Budgeting for approximately 3 years, which has been undertaken by the Ministry of International Development of Great Britain. According to this programme, the Ministry presents its programme in accordance with the conducted cultural policy.

The programme is a DFID project entitled "Support to the Roll-out of Programme Budgeting in Armenia" which is the continuation of the DFID project "Armenia: Assistance with MTEF". This is the second project in Armenia implemented by Atos Consulting (UK) in collaboration with the Armenian partner, International Centre of Human Development and Southern Cross International Inc. (New Zealand).

The goal of the project is to support the development and implementation of a strategy of introducing programme budgeting on a whole government basis. The programme budgeting project is also aimed at continuation and deepening of improvements to state agency budget classifications, specification of non-financial performance indicators, as well as at institutionalizing performance planning, reporting and monitoring systems and practices. As a result of these improvements, integration of government policies and budgets, as well as of different processes of the Government strategies, is anticipated.

At present, the project works directly with 32 budget agencies, including the Ministry of Culture. Programme budgeting work with the ministry started in 2005 with a primary focus on improving the budget classifications of the ministry in line with PB principles and development of volume indicators for services provided. Activities with the Ministry have included assistance for the preparation of MTEF submissions, performance specifications, as well as development of integrated financial and non-financial performance reports. As a result, a system of quarterly reporting has been introduced. In 2007, the ministry's annual integrated financial and non-financial report for 2006 budget programmes was prepared and submitted to the RA MFE and the National Assembly for the first time.

Support was also provided to the MoC in refining and finalising its revised budget classifications and in the preparation of their annual budget plan (which includes the ministry's strategy and performance indicators (quantity, quality, timeliness) for all budget programmes) for inclusion in the 2008 budget documentation. The aim of this work is to have better focus on services provided and performances achieved.

Armenia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.2 Public cultural expenditure per capita

It is impossible so far to present public cultural expenditure per capita in the cultural sphere, as the data from local self-government bodies is still in the process of being collected. The data from the state budget is shown below.

Armenia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.3 Public cultural expenditure broken down by level of government

Subdivision of spheres

The Ministry of Culture carries out financial transfers directly to cultural institutions. Appropriations to other levels of the government are not carried out.

The total cultural expenditure of the Ministry of Culture amounted to 10 279 846 AMD in 2007, which is a significant rise from 2005 when the figure was 5 842 587 AMD (see Table 2). (1 EUR = 480 AMD)

Armenia/ 6. Financing of culture

6.4 Sector breakdown

Table 2:     State cultural expenditure: by sector, in thousand AMD, 2005-2007

Field / Domain / Sub-domain


Direct expenditure in AMD




State administration

165 603.8

247 455.0

331 492.0


601 338.9

757 268.7

918 014.7

Museums and exhibitions

1 106 770.8

1 880 613.6

1 347 632.0

Cultural houses, clubs, centres

114 401.4

18 862.7

1 305 987.8

Other cultural institutions

311 968.0

605 960.0

506 661.5

Theatrical and musical entities, conducting cultural activities

1 680 891.3

2 989 747.7

3 334 759.3


447 628.5

482 928.0

653 739.8

Restoration and preservation of monuments and cultural values

603 299.7

782 198.5

715 553.2

Publishing houses, editorial offices

479 967.4

621 467.1

767 390.9


50 793.0

55 769.5

55 769.9

Youth programmes

279 925.0

316 223.4

342 845.6


5 842 587.8

8 758 495.0

10 279 846.0

Source:      Financial-Economic Directorate of the Ministry of Culture, 2007.

Armenia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.1 Re-allocation of public responsibilities

One of the steps taken since independence has been decentralisation of the cultural sphere, which was realised in 1995, just after the adoption of the Constitution. With the establishment of the new structure of regional governance and local self-governance, cultural organisations were passed to the jurisdiction of the community and regional governing bodies.

Strategically, this administrative decentralisation gave an opportunity to separate the role and place of the different authority levels in the cultural sphere. However, the policy carried out by the authorised body on culture (the Ministry of Culture), and financing, were not directed to the recovery of cultural life in the marzes (regions) and communities. As a result of the policy decentralisation, financing of cultural institutions under the jurisdiction of the marzes and communities decreased. Organisations located in the remote, border, high mountainous communities are also in need of methodical and professional information and advice.

The processes of governance of decentralisation in the cultural sphere caused several problems. In the relations between the Ministry of Culture and the Marz administration (the Yerevan city administration) the main issues are:

Funds provided from the state budget to the organisation of cultural activities in Marzes in 2004-2007 increased by 13.3%. However, these funds were not distributed sufficiently and proportionally to the population in the Marzes. In 2006, according to the cultural activities programme, 295.7 million AMD (about 620 000 euros) was granted, out of which only 11.6% was sent to the Marzes.

Privatisation of cultural organisations has not become a source for attracting investment. Thus, among 70 cinemas functioning in the past (out of which 50 operated in the Marzes), only 3 of them are functioning currently - 2 in Yerevan and 1 in Gyumri. As a result, serious obstacles in the process of distribution and development of cinematography have emerged. Similar problems arose after the privatisation of the bookselling network that existed previously. Before privatisation, the network included 38 bookshops in Yerevan and 10 units of 33 bookshops in the Marzes. At present, 7 private bookshops operate in Yerevan, and 3 in the Marzes (one in Hrazdan, Gyumri and Vanadzor). The study reveals that cultural organisations are in poor condition in the Marzes: 44.7% of buildings are in a satisfactory condition, 43.8% are in an unsatisfactory condition, while 11.5% are unusable. As regards repair, 60.3% of the buildings need capital repair, 27.8% need running repairs and 11.9% do not require repairs. On examination, it has been revealed that 5.3% of the cultural organisations don't function now and 8.7% of them are located in other buildings, in particular in the village administration buildings because of a lack of suitable alternatives. On the other hand, since 2003, programmes on the capital repair of the cultural houses were implemented with state funds.

Armenia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.2 Status/role and development of major cultural institutions

In Armenia, as in other former Soviet Republics, most of the cultural institutions underwent changes in structure and legal status. Under the authority of the Ministry of Culture, part of these institutions made changes in their internal regulations, while others conferred the right to make those changes to the Ministry of Culture as an authorised body. Since 2002, museums, libraries, and theatrical-concert organisations have been reorganised into state non-profit organisations. Large cultural organisations were awarded "National" status (National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, National Gallery of Armenia, National Library, National Television, National Book Chamber). The State Academic Theatre, named after Sundukyan, was not awarded national status, although it continues to be at the forefront in comparison with the other theatres. There have not been any budgetary reductions in the state organisations; on the contrary, there is a tendency for growth. In some institutions, separate projects access programme grants from different funds, as well as using the incomes received from their own services.

Armenia/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.3 Emerging partnerships or collaborations

The Ministry of Culture continues to finance the state cultural institutions, which, in their turn, are free to cooperate with any local and foreign donor organisations.

The Armenian Diaspora institutionalised structures (traditional parties, cultural unions, etc) and individuals are a financial source for cultural institutions. The local sponsors contribute mainly to popular culture and show business.

A number of NGOs, CJSCs and funds established in recent years have begun regional and international cooperation in the cultural sphere. They obtain assistance from the state and international organisations. In Armenia, NGOs were and still remain active participants in cultural life. Approximately 900 NGOs are registered in the cultural sphere, which makes up 33% of all registered NGOs. In the Marzes, there is 1 cultural organisation per 1 334 residents (the total population in the Marzes is 2 116 300, while the total number of cultural organisations is 1 586).

Armenia/ 8. Support to creativity and participation

8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

The Ministry of Culture supports creators by placing orders and purchasing their works. The Department of Art and Works of Folk Art of the Ministry coordinates this activity. Artists from abroad, who have invitations, can receive grants for travelling expenses from the Ministry for participation in professional activities.

A special grant programme of the Ministry for individual artists, institutions and art unions will start in 2008, the budget of which is 15 000 000 AMD (about 31 500 euros).

Artists who have been awarded the "People's" honorary title receive monthly payments from the state budget (the annual fund amounts to 35 433 200 AMD) (about 74 000 euros).

Armenia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.1 Special artists funds

The Literary Fund of the Writers' Union of Armenia supports book publication and the organisation of literary activities.

Legal guarantees on pension coverage for artists in the cultural sphere and conditions for pension entitlement, types of state pensions, procedures for awarding pensions and payment methods are determined by the Law on State Pensions (2002). A right to a partial pension is given to some categories of cultural workers upon reaching the age of 55 and having at least 12 years of professional insurance and to some categories of actors of theatrical and theatrical-concert organisations upon reaching the age of 50 and having at least 12-years professional insurance. A list of posts, conferring a right to some category of workers in the education and cultural spheres, to receive partial pensions for long-term service and of types of working activities has also been approved.

Armenia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.2 Grants, awards, scholarships

An institute for awarding titles to honoured and people's artists of the Republic is still in operation. In 2002, а title of "Honoured Worker of Culture of the Republic of Armenia" was approved. The Republic of Armenia President's Award, which is financed by Diaspora benefactors each year, is awarded also to individuals distinguished in the cultural sphere.

Separate cultural funds announce competitions for the most prominent works of art in a given year (e.g. Tekeyan Cultural Union or the Armenian Fund for Art Development).

Programmes for loans and travel grants do not function in Armenia. However, the Ministry of Culture often provides travelling expenses for individual artists to ensure their participation at international events.

Armenia/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.3 Support to professional artists associations or unions

The government supports and promotes music and theatre arts through the purchase of works of art and social-creative orders (started in 2001), which mainly pursues two aims: the first aim is to include works by modern artists in the repertoire of theatrical-concert organisations and the second aim is to improve the social conditions of the workers. To implement the above mentioned goals, appropriations from the state budget increase year by year (in 2004 - 26 560 000 AMD, in 2005 - 25 200 000 AMD, in 2006 - 44 700 000 AMD, in 2007 - 49 000 000 AMD) (in 2004 - 56 000 euros, in 2005 - 53 000 euros, in 2006 - 94 000 euros, in 2007 - 103 000 euros). The funds provided from the state budget in 2004-2007 increased by 54.2%. However, these funds are not sufficient yet to implement the above mentioned goals and there is a need to expand the framework of the state purchase of works involving other fields of art, such as fine arts, choreography and photography.

Table 3:     Indices on purchase of musical and dramatic works, 2004-2007








Price (AMD)


Price (AMD)


Price (AMD)


Price (AMD)

Purchase of dramatic works


500 000


500 000


500 000


500 000

Purchase of musical works


4 860 000


3 000 000


3 000 000


5 000 000



5 360 000


3 500 000


3 500 000


5 500 000

Table 4:     Indices of the social-creative orders, 2004-2007








Price (AMD)


Price (AMD)


Price (AMD)


Price (AMD)

Music works


2 000 000


2 000 000


2 000 000


6 300 000

Drama works


19 200 00


19 700 000


39 200 000


3 720 00



21 200 000


21 700 000


41 200 000


43 500 000

Taking into account the significant number of artists involved in the creative unions (Union of Composers and Musicologists - 125 members, Theatrical Workers' Union - 708 members, Artists' Union - 1 092 members, Choreographers' Union - 50 members, Cinematographers' Union - 171 members), as well as those working in the 40 state theatrical-concert organisations, the present number of social-creative orders are not adequate yet to fulfil their mission.

At present, the following creative unions operate in the Republic of Armenia:

The total number of members in the unions is more than 4 750.

The Ministry of Culture does not subsidise these unions annually; instead, state support is carried out only by full or partial financing of applications.

Armenia/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.1 Trends and figures

Analysis of statistics between 2000 and 2005 shows a growth in the number of those who participate in cultural activities and who use cultural services. The temporary decrease in figures in some directions (especially in some libraries and theatres) is due to the major repair works in certain cultural institutions, being carried out by the government and other funds. The growth in figures is due also to the change in the tariff policy implemented in recent years, which was aimed at making cultural consumption more available to some strata of society, such as free entrance days, as well as considerable discounts for children and youth. The growth in the number of visitors to cultural institutions is due to the arrangement of theatrical-concert tours to the Marzes, with state support.

Table 5:     Statistics on the visits to cultural institutions, 2000-2005

Cultural institution








356 500

307 700

279 300

273 900

340 600

397 200


874 100

903 500

751 200

823 100

750 100

964 200

Concert organisations

139 900

168 200

84 200

172 100

446 800

227 000

Libraries (number of readers)

765 900

737 200

704 900

664 000

639 700

650 300

Music, art and fine art schools and art centres for children and youth (number of pupils)

27 200

26 700

29 600

29 600

28 700

35 200

Armenia/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.2 Policies and programmes

Taking into account social conditions of the population, some mechanisms operate to involve all strata of the society in cultural life. Thus, entrance to museums is free for war veterans, participants of the liberation movement and schoolchildren. The Ministry of Culture sometimes provides free concert and theatre tickets. Once a month, museums have "open doors days"; moreover, once a year, a "museum night" programme operates, when visitors can visit a museum at no cost and museums stay open until midnight. In the museums, "open doors days" also operate during the "Days of the European Cultural Heritage" monthly event, which has taken place for several years.

In 2007, the "Philharmonic for schoolchildren" has been reopened. One of its main goals is to implement educational and scientific programmes for children and youth, presenting to them the works of both world classical art and Armenian folk art. The Philharmonic also organises meetings with famous artists, as well as concert programmes in the Marzes. It is anticipated to include schoolchildren in performances, concerts and other activities organised by the cultural organisations, using a subscription system.

Armenia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.1 Arts education

The priorities in the field of arts education are as follows:

The main bodies responsible for arts education in Armenia are the Ministry of Culture, via the Department on State Programmes, Cultural Cooperation, Education and Science, and the Ministry of Education. Six state non-profit organisations provide arts education. Two state non-profit organisations function under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Science - the National Centre of Aesthetics and the Centre on Aesthetic Education and Culture for Children and Youth. The rest of the art educational institutions fall under the jurisdiction of, and are financed by, the communities.

During the past 5 years, the status of institutions providing arts education and additional education was specified. By their transformation to state non-profit organisations, separate regulations were elaborated and the state out-of-school educational institutions were renamed.

Four arts institutes of higher education in Yerevan (the State Institute of Cinematography and Theatre, Yerevan National Conservatory, Yerevan Art Academy, Yerevan Pedagogical University) had 931 entries on state scholarships. In 2005-2006, the number of post-graduate students with an arts specialism was 41, which comprises 2.6% of the total number (1 528).

The latest important initiative in this field, on the basis of the Decree of the Ministry of Culture, is to ensure the teaching of 2009 students of folk musical instruments, at the expense of the state budget from 2007.

In May 2005, Armenia joined the Bologna process, which has resulted in some changes to educational programmes and curricula. In May 2007, following a monitoring process, a positive evaluation was given to Armenia's activities in this field. Since September 2007, all Armenian institutes of higher education, including the arts sector, changed to a credit transfer system. In some institutes of higher education, the list of specialties was revised to bring it into line with the demands of the European market. There are mandatory alternative programmes in the cultural institutes and penetration of new technologies into educational programmes can be observed. In particular, a course on computer art design has been introduced in the Yerevan Art Institute.

Armenia/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.2 Intercultural education

There is no perceived requirement for intercultural education in the timetables of Armenian schools. Schools are mostly Armenian although, in the regions inhabited by national minorities, Assyrian, Yazidi, Kurdish, and Greek classes operate. There are also two Russian schools for the Russian-speaking population.

In the 2007 academic year, the Department on "Linguistics and Intercultural Relations" was opened at Yerevan State University, which will focus on general national values, cultural and language diversity, world culture, religion, tolerance etc.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Armenia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.1 Amateur arts

Of 200 formerly existing handicrafts in Armenia, only 14 are practiced today, increasing to 50 when their subtypes are considered. Groups studying folk art attend separate schools and centres under the jurisdiction of communities ("Hayordyats" houses - centres for intellectual development, and cultural clubs). However, there is no special policy relating to folk art education and there are no funds to support workers in this field either. The Yerevan Museum on Folk Art maintains interactive communication with craftspeople, stimulating continuity of handicrafts and supporting the emergence and development of new forms of amateur arts. The priority task in this field is to ensure a large market and connecting link with the world market. Today, there is a need for promotion of amateur arts and folk crafts, mainly outside Armenia.

Aesthetic centres functioning in Armenia contribute to the development of amateur arts. There are hobby groups of singing and dancing, handicrafts, theatre, circus, fine arts, arts and crafts, music, etc.

The samples of amateur arts and folk crafts are exhibited and sold mainly at fairs in Yerevan, where the works of individual creators are displayed.

According to the Law on Export of Cultural Values, there is no prohibition for export of cultural values created during the past 50 years.

Armenia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.2 Cultural houses and community cultural clubs

Cultural houses and clubs, inherited from Soviet times, continue their activities, with some restrictions. Cultural houses and centres function mainly under the jurisdiction of communities.

Preservation and reconstruction of cultural houses is considered to be a priority task among the cultural organisations of the marzes, because in the rural communities they have different functions (i.e. library, leisure centres etc), ethnographic groups and craftspeople work there, and, in general, they are the main places for organising cultural and public activities. There is an urgent need to reconstruct cultural houses of the frontier villages, because they will contribute to the resolution of some tasks, i.e. opening of new workplaces, reduction of the population flow, and promotion of national-traditional cultural values among the youth.

By order of the Ministry of Urban Development in 2003-2006, repairs to 21 cultural organisations was carried out (14 of them in the marzes), totalling 1 456 300 000 AMD (3 066 000 euros). In 2007, it is anticipated to repair or reconstruct 30 cultural organisations (26 in the marzes), with a total budget of 1 396 100 000 AMD (2 940 000 euros).

Under the Social Contributions Fund of Armenia, from 2003-2006, 17 cultural organisations in the marzes were repaired or constructed, totalling 600 675 000 AMD (1 265 000 euros), and in 2007-2008, it is anticipated to reconstruct and repair 9 cultural organisations, with a total budget of 748 664 100 AMD (1 576 000 euros).

The existence of cultural houses in the marzes remains important, because they are a conduit for implementation of cultural policy. On 5 April 2007, by Decree N589, a programme on cultural development in the marzes was approved, by which it is anticipated not only to establish cultural centres, but also to establish basic centres for art education.

The allocation of cultural houses in the marzes and by population is shown in the Figure below.

Figure 1:    Allocation of cultural houses, % of Marzes and population   

There is no data relating to Yerevan in the above-mentioned table as the cultural houses in Yerevan have been closed or privatised.

Armenia/ 9. Sources and Links

9.1 Key documents on cultural policy

Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia: The First International Conference: Traditional Oral Heritage, Intangible Culture. Collection of Essays. Yerevan, 2006.

Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, UNESCO Moscow Office for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation: The Second International Conference: Traditional Oral Heritage, Intangible Culture. Collection of Essays. Yerevan, 2007.

National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia: State Programme for Preservation and Development of Culture. Yerevan, 2004.

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia: 2008-2012 Strategy for Development of Culture. Yerevan, 2007.

Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia: Annual Report 2006. Yerevan, 2007.

Armenia/ 9. Sources and Links

9.2 Key organisations and portals

Cultural policy making bodies

The Ministry of Culture of RA

Professional associations

Writers' Union of Armenia

Architects' Union of Armenia

Artists' Union of Armenia

National Cultural Union

Armenian General Benevolent Union

Cultural research and statistics

Armenian Association of Film Critics and Cinema Journalists

National Statistical Service of RA

Culture / arts portals

Arvest (Art)

Museums of Armenia

The Armenian Centre for Contemporary Experimental Art: ACCEA

Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra


The Council of Europe/ERICarts "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 9th edition", 2008