Finnish-Russian Cultural Forum

Forums since 2000

The Finnish-Russian Cultural Forum is a unique form of activity developed by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture and the Russian Federation Ministry of Culture to activate and promote direct cultural cooperation between civic organisations, cultural institutions and artists.

The Forum is a continuing process comprising two tasks: continuous partnership activities, including an annual Forum arranged alternately in Finland and Russia, and cooperation between the Finnish and Russian cultural administration. Both forms of action were initiated in 2000.

Forums 2000-2021 and attendance


Forum Year Attendance
Helsinki, Finland 2000 144
Novgorod, Russia 2001 159
Lappeenranta, Finland 2002 300
St. Petersburg, Russia 2003 270
Turku, Finland 2004 350
Vologda, Russia 2005 227
Kajaani, Finland 2006 307
Tver, Russia 2007 280
Jyväskylä, Finland 2008 340
Syktyvkar, Russia 2009 274
Hämeenlinna, Finland 2010 327
Saransk, Russia 2011 256
Joensuu, Finland 2012 310
Novgorod, Russia 2013 318
Oulu, FInland 2014 363
Petrozavodsk, Russia 2015 400
Tampere, Finland 2016 362
Saint-Petersburg, Russia 2017 450
Savonlinna, Finland 2018 360
Tula, Russia 2019 300
Virtual forum (Finland) 2020 320
Virtual forum (Russia) 2021 611

The 23rd Forum 2022 will be held in Lahti, Finland.


Growing cooperation between cultural administrations

The Forum activities are also geared to develop new forms of flexible and transparent cooperation between the Finnish Ministry and the Russian Federation Ministry and between regional and local administrations in Finland and Russia. At the 2005 Forum in Vologda, the Ministries signed a cooperation agreement with a view to promoting the implementation of cultural partnership in the northern regions.

One important aspiration in the Forum from the outset has been to create conditions for cultural cooperation between the EU and Russia and to strengthen the northern cultural partnership. Alongside the seventh Finnish-Russian Forum in 2006 Kajaani, the Finnish EU Presidency arranged an EU-Russia Expert Meeting on Culture, which launched a process towards creating a cooperation action plan for EU-Russia cultural cooperation.

A partner from the other side of the border

The second task in the Finnish-Russian Cultural Forum is direct cooperation between cultural actors. The Forum helps them in finding a partner and launching joint ventures. In the Forum, cultural and art professionals, amateurs and institutions have a channel for finding a suitable partner in the neighbouring country.
These activities have not been limited to given forms of art, but comprise the whole spectrum of culture, including education. A partner may be sought by an art gallery, a theatre troupe, an orchestra, a punk band, a conservatoire, a school, a university, a circus, a tourism enterprise, or even an individual artist or researcher if they have sufficient resources for cooperation.
Finnish and Russian partners may propose joint projects themselves or respond to a proposal made by a cultural actor in the neighbouring country. Between 2000 and 2021, altogether 3379 project proposals have been made within the Forum.

The annual Cultural Forum offers a meeting place for those working in the cultural and art field in Finland and Russia. The prospective partners participating in the Forum are given time to discuss with one another in order to explore ideas and develop cooperation through interpreters.
The field-specific sections in the Forums provide an opportunity to find out about other projected or ongoing joint ventures, make new contacts and expand cooperation. Partners can also consult experts about sources of financing and participate in seminars on topical issues in cultural cooperation.


In geographical terms, the whole of Finland takes part in the Forum activities. In Russia the Forum covers 12 regions in the northwest Russia - the Murmansk Region, the Republic of Karelia, the Leningrad Region, the City of St Petersburg, the Tver Region, the Pskov Region, the Novgorod Region, the Vologda Region, the Archangel Region, the Kaliningrad Region, the Republic of Komi, the Nenets Autonomous District. In 2006 Moscow and the Moscow Region also joined the Forum. Since 2007, each year several new regions in Russia join the Forum.


The Forum activities are led and coordinated by working groups in Finland and in Russia. Since 2005 both working groups have been chaired by the Minister of Culture. The working groups steer the Forum activities and cooperation between the Finnish and Russian cultural administrations.

In Finland, the Finland-Russia Society has taken care of the partner activities, the practical preparation and organisation of the Forums and relevant information since 2004. In Russia, these tasks have been assigned to the Russian Cultural foundation since 2020. In Russia, the search for partners is assisted by the regional cultural administrations and in Finland by the provincial state offices and regional art councils.

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