From its very first days in Voronezh, VSU has been the centre or, in the very least, a centre (alongside with Koltsov Voronezh Drama Theatre) of cultural life of the city and the whole region. Why is it so? The university has been home to many prominent scientists and researchers of the time. It brought from Tartu an immense scientific library. The university property imported from Tartu also included a fabulous art gallery. As a result of this influx of culture, life in Voronezh immediately became more eventful and interesting. Among other things, VSU professors gave lectures in Voronezh and the towns of Voronezh region and published books and brochures dedicated to various cultural events that took place in the Soviet Union. Then there was a tradition to celebrate anniversaries of cultural importance. For example, the 100th birthday anniversary of Petr Tchaikovsky or the 150th birthday anniversary of Victor Hugo. Voronezh newspaper Kommuna would never fail to publish a long article dedicated to the event. And who would write the article? It was professor Alla Botnikova. Her first Voronezh article that was published in Kommuna in 1952 was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Victor Hugo. However, there were more commemorative dates and university academia always responded to them eagerly, thus extending the cultural horizons of the city.
Additionally, Voronezh State University has always offered workshops on Pedagogy, Psychology, and Literature. The Day of Poetry has been held by the university for a number of years. Outstanding university lecturer, Sergei Obtemperansky, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Biology and Soil Sciences, hosted a musical club in the art library. A great number of people attended the club’s meetings. What is more, university academia contributed to a higher level of education in Voronezh schools – they taught some subjects, consulted teachers, and constantly participated in advanced training courses for teachers, thereby helping teachers to broaden their mind and learn more about the scientific achievements of the time. University museums are another important cultural component of our region. Their main target audience is young people.
It should be noted that the second half of the 20th century was a heyday for university art. The VSU cameo theatre was well-known not only in Voronezh but also all over the country. Supervised by actors of the Koltsov Drama Theatre the students produced plays. Students’ Springs also attracted a lot of young people who were eager to take part in the cultural life of the city. Interestingly, the chairman of the jury of these contests was the chief conductor of Voronezh State Opera and Ballet Theatre, Anatoly Ludmilin.
There are a lot of other facts that prove that Voronezh State University and its library, that held brilliant conferences, events, and meetings, triggered and contributed immensely to the development of the cultural life in Voronezh. For this reason, VSU has always been, and I am sure will always be one of the most powerful centres of cultural life in our region. I think it is no coincidence that upon the initiative of VSU regional universities have recently discussed opportunities for the enhancement of their role in the cultural life of the region. And there is no doubt that Voronezh State University is a flagship in this area.