Ilya Lagutenko is keen to show how creative enterprise deserves to be considered an industry. Tunes can fuel international trade.
"My favorite example concerns the solution of a similar problem in Sweden... How could people counter the influence of foreign rock 'n' roll or boogie-woogie after WWII? The government decided to fund nationwide musical education programs and institute music schools or orchestras, literally in every village. Unemployment was on the rise, and people preferred playing in those orchestras to standing in employment exchanges. This meant that the 1970s witnessed the growth of an entire generation of musically literate citizens... That led to bands like ABBA laying down a path for many other professional outfits. They all moved together onto the world stage. Music became an important part of the national economy."
The same could be true at home, if measures were taken to protect artists from copyright abuse.
At a time when songwriting appears to have little legal or "stately" worth, Ilya Lagutenko is making a case for an opposing value system. He is responsible for the V-ROX festival in Vladivostok, which this August will again offer a melange of Russian and Asian bands. This year, in fact, was the fourth anniversary of V-ROX, staged on each occasion with a similar goal: to show how popular music can be of cultural and commercial benefit to an entire region. If Moscow has scant interest in such matters, then the entertainment industry on Russia's Pacific coastline with take things into its own hands - and look southwards.