Sergei Kapkov, Moscow’s culture minister, resigns

Sergei Kapkov, Moscow's culture minister, resigns

10 March 2015

Sergei Kapkov, Minister of Culture in the Moscow government, has announced that he has resigned from his post. Kapkov’s resignation, announced this morning, confirmed rumours which circulated following a cryptic Facebook post from the minister last week, which read: “True love doesn’t die and it doesn’t let go. This is all I have to tell you for now. The rest is for Tuesday.”

On his Facebook page this morning, Kapkov thanked Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, his colleagues at the Moscow government, and “agents of change” who had a hand in developing the urban projects instigated by Kapkov during his time as culture minister. “First, I’ll gather at home with friends, go on holiday with my family and girlfriend, and think about what will happen next, after a reboot,” Kapkov’s post reads.

Kapkov will be succeeded by Alexander Kibovskiy, former head of the Moscow government’s department of cultural heritage. In a statement, Kibovskiy said: “Our main task is to use the city’s great cultural potential for the interests of Muscovites. Sergei Alexandrovich [Kapkov] and I are long-time colleagues. All the developments, all the undertakings that have been made, will be carried forward, developed and continued.”

While many attribute the success of Moscow’s urban regereration to Kapkov, his tenure as Moscow’s culture minister was not without its scandals. Throughout his post as culture minister, rumours over Kapkov’s resignation periodically circulated online. Today, journalists and cultural figures have speculated over the reasons behind his resignation, with some citing friction between Kapkov and Sobyanin, Kapkov and Vyacheslav Volodin, deputy head of the presidential administration, and the changing cultural landscape as possible grounds for his departure from office.

Kapkov, 39, took up the post of culture minister in September 2011, and has since become a household name in Moscow thanks to his prominent role in modernising Moscow’s theatres and transforming Gorky Park — a dilapidated Stalin-era amusement park originally designed to celebrate the proletariat. Since the park’s multi-million dollar makeover, its plethora of cafes, restaurants, cultural centres, and other amusements has established its reputation as a hipster hangout, earning Kapkov the unofficial title of “Moscow’s hipster minister”.

Kapkov’s Facebook post this morning ended: “I ask that whoever comes after me to remember one thing — that our patrons are citizens, not officers. Muscovites are self-sufficient, they don’t have to have decisions made for them, you don’t have to teach them — it’s enough to respect them and their choices. The city is different, complex, diverse. Listen to [Muscovites], and you’ll realise how easy it is to arrive at the right decisions.”