- Javanshir muallim, you must have watched a meeting between President and First Vice President with workers of culture and art of the country. Participants of the meeting raised questions of their material welfare. Are material conditions of our actors, artists, writers, etc. so hard in reality?

Cavanşir Quliyev- Their living conditions are no worse than those of other citizens of the country; however, these persons want to live better and try to avail of the situation. They see that the authorities under pressures of meetings and public opinion have "grown softer", squared up to ask for material privileges, honorary degrees even for members of their families.

The above-mentioned proves that there is not a state mechanism regulating welfare of workers of art and culture; everything depends on top functionaries. In particular, material position of some figures increasingly improves; however, social principles to make any changes for the better are lacking.

- What are reasons of their material difficulties?

- Have it your way: the head of the state provides scholarships to all creative unions, and these scholarships are much higher than average wages across the country. There are two types of scholarships - for youth and grown-ups. Financial aid to senior wortkers of art and culture is rendered in the form of the so-called Presidential scholarship. Allowing for the fact that most workers of art and culture have their honorary titles, they are also encouraged materially. Besides, many of them of professors of higher educational institutions receive additional payments. At any rate, financial status of the meeting participants is not bad.

It should be noted that Afaq Bashirgyzy"s proposal dealt with wages of ordinary theater actors, very miserable indeed. However, an overwhelming majority of the country receives the same miserable wages; no profession has a status providing high wages. To increase wages, it is essential to issue a decree, order or appropriate law. This law must be fair for all; otherwise, actors have no right to receive wages higher than teachers and other specialists. In other words, it is crucial to increase wages for all across the country, including actors and other workers of art and culture.

- A question arises; a category of people deep-pocketed in Azerbaijan includes also singers (hanende) who earn rather higher at weddings and restaurant banquets. Also, composers sell their works to the same singers. But there is also a category of creative specialists whose material conditions are rather hard. Just a few go theaters today, no movies are made, serials are very poor. Isn"t it fair for citizens to speak about their problems? They are forced to ask President help them out of their problems?

- As a matter of fact, both composers and music performing artists with their audience are well off. I mean serious kinds of creative work, arts. Indeed, a profession of hanende is a serious art but it"d be wrong to speak about them now because they rely on their own, peculiar methods of sustaining themselves.

Performers of entertainment music also earn much, primarily at weddings, banquets, corporatives, etc. However, the situation around composers is different. The reason of today"s dissatisfaction with quality of songs lies in the fact that singers decline from performing works of professional composers in favor of songs by avocational musicians. For they pay less than do with professional composers. As a consequence, professional composers are faced with financial problems as opposed to your words.

In the meantime, it is the responsibility of the state to deal with material conditions of representatives of other kinds of art with their not numerous audiences. However, the situation is different: the above-stated meeting showed that our government downplays the issue and misconducts its obligations. It is no mere coincidence that meetings of this sort focus not on questions of art and culture development or vital cultural problems of society but on material position of art representatives, their country-cottages, monuments, wages and honorary titles.

- Why do people in Azerbaijan set little store by serious art?

- The reason lies in incompetent work of propaganda, TY and concert activity departments. The essential point to remember is that all these departments are led by rating-minded persons ready to give up principles of genuine art. It is impossible to feel, realize and love the serious art within one day only. In other words, it is essential to conduct propaganda work for years, so that people could enter into its spirit. In this case concert and exhibition halls will be overcrowded and financial position of art representatives will be much better. However, we witness primitive works of art for years, and as a result we have a young generation not knowing a thing about Nasimi, Vahabzadeh, Mozart, Uzeyir Hajibeyli, etc. I insist the state is a chief culprit of the current situation: cultural departments are headed by persons appointed by the state.

- Is that one of the causes of your residing abroad?

- No , the main cause of my departure from Azerbaijan is that I criticized the authorities of the country and was declared an oppositionist even despite my non-partisanship. I was dismissed from my job, and all TV-channels were prohibited to do business with me. Then the authorities pressed singers who ceased performing my songs. By verbal order of the authorities, musical collectives and organizations refused to perform my works, ceased to invite me to concerts and other cultural events, deleted my interviews from TV broadcasts, etc. My pupils and other musicians were awarded with honorary degrees while I was excluded from cultural-concert life of the country.

None of my colleagues and art representatives tried to protect my interests, support me, even the Union of Composers which under its own charter was to vindicate my honor and dignity, it remained silent. Things of this sort in other countries are considered to be an offence. Half-jokingly I said that I was popped from the country like toothpaste. I was forced to leave Azerbaijan.

- As a rule, the Azerbaijani art and culture have always been famed from arts and culture of other countries. Why cannot we avail ourselves of this circumstance?

- It is worth pointing out that the Azerbaijani art is at rather high level. We fail to benefit from this for our inability to properly arrange means and forms of propagandizing our art abroad, because all these are the hands of functionaries. Suffice it to say that these functionaries dictate our hanende abroad to appear on stage in medieval peasant clothes as if rural amateur performance. It was Alim Gasymov only who dared to select clothes of his own and sole discretion. It should be added that propaganda of iur music abroad is based primarily on mugam which, in my view, is too one-sided and prejudice. In the meanwhile, we cannot present our opera "Leyli and Majnun" to the world spectators and listeners inn line with international standards. In the meantime, this opera is one of the most radical reforms in the world opera art and one of the greatest discoveries of Uzeyir Hajibeyli. There is still much work to be done.

- What are ways of reviving art and culture of Azerbaijan? What should we do to attain this goal?

- It"s rather difficult and labor-intensive work. To remedy the situation, time and program of activity are required, so the meeting with President was to deal with questions of this sort. Everyday, enduring, well thought-out propaganda is capable of promoting love to arts. Unfortunately, the meeting said nothing about it, nor assess TV-channels demoralizing activity.

As for workers of art and culture, I"d cancel honorary titles because they are all symbols of socialist life our people declined from long ago. Even worse, these titles do not contribute to the development of modern art; they divert workers of art from genuine art. When undeserving persons are awarded those deserving are disappointed in art and as a consequence their works of art are of low quality. Even worse, they are not interested in art issues but in obtaining honorary degrees only which, in turn, plagues the life and activity out.

When adjusted for the fact that honorary titles are granted by the authorities, artists cannot criticize them as they are dependent upon their will. Testifying to this is the meeting quoted above: those watching it in mass media were shocked by manifestations of blandness and cowardice of workers of art and culture. Suffice it to add that they declined from dealing with a single social problem, said nothing about nation"s difficulties, did not demand from the authorities to release 127 political prisoners. If they are are people"s artists, people"s writers, why didn"t they tell the authorities about complaints, wants and needs of the people?

When it is talked about honorary titles, they are doing their best to attain their long-wished goal. In so doing, they give up on their own people who are none other than a real source of all their awards. So I repeat that all honorary tiles must be cancelled.

Second, the so-called Presidential scholarships (pensions) must be legalized adjusting for the fact that they are none other financial aid. So a worker of art or culture consistent with necessary requirements should receive this aid automatically. However, a functionary acting on his own whims makes a decision on granting this scholarship. In other word, if this functionary has little liking for an applicant, the latter will never receive aid he needs. If the head of the state dislikes somebody, he will not sign an appropriate decree and the applicant remains unprovided. That"s not fair!

My view is as follows: after workers of art and culture have been financially endowed, they are to be exempted from their dependence upon all these honorary titles, privileges and scholarships. In this case genuine votaries of their native people would be engaged in arts and culture properly to create their new works. It"s time to come to your senses and take a look around the world!

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Taksi sayı azaldılır, bəs köhnə taksiçilər nə ilə dolanacaqlar? – Rauf Ağamirzəyev Çətin sualda

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