The Cultura Foundation began its operations on 1 January 2013. The foundation is governed by private law. Its establishment is based on the Programme of the Finnish Government, which states that the “status and responsibilities of the Institute for Russia and Eastern Europe will be investigated”. The institute previously operated under the Ministry of Education and Culture. The objective was to establish a foundation that would be able to serve special groups more flexibly than the institute. As an organisational structure, a foundation would make it possible to reform and modernise the institute’s operations in a manner that would better meet the needs of the Russian-speaking population.
The investigation on converting the institute into a foundation began in December 2011 and was completed at the end of September 2012. In its interim and final reports, the working group suggested that the purpose of the foundation should be to develop and strengthen the linguistic identity of the Russian-speaking population and to facilitate the development of Russian-language culture in Finland in an effort to promote integration through art and culture and to improve interaction between the Russian-speaking and the Finnish-speaking population.
The working group also addressed the need to make the collections of the library maintained by the institute more widely available. As a result, the library was transferred to the Espoo City Library at Sello on 1 January 2013 as a special task assigned by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The purpose of the library is to support the language and culture of the Russian-speaking population in Finland and to provide information for those interested in Russian culture and society. In conjunction with the transfer, the collections of the library were integrated into the HelMet online library, which makes them accessible to a wider audience than before.
The charter of foundation for the Cultura Foundation was signed by Paavo Arhinmäki, Minister of Culture and Sport, as a state representative, and by the other founding members at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on 23 October 2012. The founding members are the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Turku, Tampere, Lappeenranta and Joensuu as well as the Federation of Russian-speaking Associations in Finland (FARO) and the Finland–Russia Society. The Government Bill for the Act on Converting the Institute for Russia and Eastern Europe into a Foundation was passed in November 2012. The Ministry of Education and Culture appointed Janna Puumalainen, Director of Culture for the City of Joensuu, as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Cultura Foundation.
Reports on the Institute for Russia and Eastern Europe (in Finnish):
Report on the development of the Finnish Institute for Russian and Eastern European Studies
From an institute into a centre of activities: Report on the status and responsibilities of the Institute for Russia and Eastern Europe
From an institute into a foundation: Interim report of the working group preparing the conversion of the Institute for Russia and Eastern Europe into a foundation
From an institute into a foundation: Final report of the working group preparing the conversion of the Institute for Russia and Eastern Europe into a foundation