Minister reduces Raudsepp's undersecretary for arts position

Taaniel Raudsepp.
Taaniel Raudsepp. Source: Aron Urb

Tuesday, Minister of Culture Heidy Purga (Reform) dismissed undersecretary for the arts Taaniel Raudsepp, whose column on theater funding had sparked considerable controversy.

ERR reports that undersecretary for the arts Taaniel Raudsepp received a restructuring action plan on Tuesday, according to which the arts department and the department for cultural heritage would come under the supervision of the undersecretary for cultural heritage. Ministry of Culture's undersecretary for cultural heritage is Merilin Piipuu.

Raudsepp published a column (link in Estonian) on June 2 on the ERR culture portal, in which he discusses the funding of theaters and suggests an action plan for the years 2023 to 2027. The publication caused much controversy in the theater community.

Raudsepp proposed, among other things, a reduction in the operational capacity of the Russian Theater in Tallinn (Vene Teater) and an increase in the company's workload to the average of state theaters. Depending on the decisions taken, he proposed to allocate an additional €250,000 to €750,000 to the private theater application call. In addition, preparations should be made for the Russian Theater's downsizing, which would necessitate changes to the board, a new competition for the managing director and, if necessary, a move to smaller premises.

On Monday, Culture Minister Heidy Purga distanced herself from the undersecretary's position (link in Estonian).

"Proposals forwarded to the media concerning the Russian theater have not been discussed, neither within the administration nor within the sector, it is the opinion of one official and most certainly not a political decision," Purga told "AK," adding that Raudsepp's action plan "is not the official position of the Ministry of Culture."

After submitting a proposal for theater action plan for 2023 to 2027 to the Minister of Culture on June 2, Raudsepp decided to make it public at the same time, as he explained on social media.

"My conviction that public disclosure is necessary is based on previous discussions and comments made at the most recent meeting. This action is motivated by my personal ethics and my responsibility as a senior public official in the arts. I expect that as many future discussions as possible will take place in public," he said.

Prior to becoming the undersecretary for the arts at the Ministry of Culture on May 15, 2020, Taaniel Raudsepp headed the Tallinn Art Hall. Until now, the undersecretary for the arts has been responsible for the advancement of architecture and design, creative industries, audiovisual, performing arts, literature, and art and music.


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Editor: Urmet Kook, Kristina Kersa

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