Erklärung des Vorstandes des Internationalen Roerich-Zentrums zur Eröffnung der Roerich-Bilderausstellung des Orientmusems am 19.12.2017

25.12.2017 – On December 19, 2017, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation launched a broad PR campaign in the federal mass media about opening the Roerichs’ paintings exhibition by the State Museum of Oriental Art at the Lopukhins‘ Estate. Actually this exhibition is based on the art collection of the Roerichs’ heritage handed over to the International Center of the Roerichs (ICR) by Svetoslav Roerich which was illegally seized by the Ministry of Culture.
This overhyped media buzz is, in our opinion, an attempt to drown out the voice of the indignant Russian and international public, speaking out against the Roerichs’ will violation and the plans of the Ministry of Culture to establish in the Lopukhins’ estate a state museum as a branch of the State Museum of Oriental Art.
In accordance with the last will and testament of the last representative of the great Roerich family, that of Svetoslav Roerich, the Lopukhins’ Estate by the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of 4.11.1989, No. 950, and the decision of the Executive Committee of the Moscow City Council of 28.11.1989, No. 2248, was to house the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Center-Museum. Only after the leadership of the USSR had implemented this legitimate will of Svetoslav Roerich, he gratuitously handed over his part of the Roerichs’ heritage to Russia. The International Center of the Roerichs under the leadership of Lyudmila Shaposhnikova (1926-2015), an outstanding scientist and public figure, world’s largest scholar and promoter of the Roerichs‘ heritage, carried out the order of its founder, that of Svetoslav Roerich, to establish a non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Center of the Roerichs in the Lopukhins’ Estate. The Museum in its operation was governed by the concept set out in the article of Svetoslav Roerich “Action is not an option!” („It is impossible to delay!”), published in the newspaper „Soviet Culture“ on July 29, 1989.
The UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and the Ministers of Culture of the Russian Federation N.L. Dementieva, A.S. Sokolov, A.A. Avdeev and many other prominent cultural and public figures of both Russia and other countries highly appreciated the wonderful exposition and 25-year activity of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the ICR. Presidents of the Russian Federation have paid tribute to the contribution of the ICR to the preservation of Russia’s national heritage, that of the Roerichs‘ heritage and the Lopukhins‘ estate and the development of museum science. The Director-General of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum, the First Deputy President of the ICR Lyudmila Shaposhnikova was awarded State Honours, those of the Order of Friendship and the Order „For Merit to the Fatherland“, IV degree.
On the night of April 28 to April 29, 2017, the State Museum of Oriental Art with an active support of the Ministry of Culture seized the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum and all its foundations. Consequently, the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Center of the Roerichs was destroyed and stopped its activity. Through illegal means, using the interests of the state as an excuse, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation is trying to create the State Museum of the Roerichs in the Lopukhins‘ estate, contrary to the last will of Svetoslav Roerich, the owner of the heritage transferred to Russia.
At the opening of the exhibition Deputy Minister of Culture V.V. Aristarkhov in an interview with the TV channel „Russia 1“ has grossly distorted the facts to state that the creation of the State Museum of the Roerichs is fulfilled due to the will of Svetoslav Roerich. Actually, Svetoslav Roerich insisted on the non-governmental status of the Nicholas Roerich Center-Museum, as opposed to the state one, in his article “Action is not an option!” (“It is impossible to delay!”), published in the newspaper „Soviet Culture“ on July 29, 1989.
He also stressed that „subordination of the Center to the Ministry of Culture or to the State Museum of Oriental Art would unreasonably and wittingly narrow down the tasks and the opportunities of the Center.”
The desire of the Ministry of Culture to create the State Museum of the Roerichs deserves every possible support, considering that almost 60 years ago such a promise to create a state museum was given to George Roerich, who gave the state more than 300 paintings for this purpose. In addition, Russian museums for many years have been keeping canvases of the Roerichs stored, leaving them practically unavailable to the public. Therefore, the very fact of the state museum creation at the cost of a deliberate illegal destruction of the successfully operating non-governmental one by the officials of the Ministry of Culture is deeply disturbing.
The opening of the Roerichs paintings exhibition at the Lopukhins’ Estate by the State Museum of Oriental Art has demonstrated to the whole world a “special love” of the officials to the Roerichs’ art and the national culture in general. Their „love“ is expressed in the destruction and extermination of the largest cultural and educational Center-Museum dedicated to the Roerichs, that was created by the efforts of many people. The once beautiful interiors and exposition of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum, which was admired by thousands of visitors from all over the world for many years, turned into deserted premises painted grey. The destroyers of the museum, those of the heads of the Ministry of Culture and the State Museum of Oriental Art , were walking around this nondescript greyness in front of TV cameras broadcasting lies and slander against the Roerichs and the ICR.
President of Russia V.V. Putin in his speeches repeatedly said that one of the principal requests of citizens of our country is that of justice. A year ago, in a message to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, he said, „any injustice and untruth are perceived very sharply, and this is the peculiarity of our culture.“ Hundreds of open letters and addresses of representatives of culture and public organizations in defense of the ICR and the preservation of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum are a proof of these words.
The fundamentals of the state cultural policy were adopted three years ago based on state support and the development of public initiatives in the field of culture. The destruction of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Center of the Roerichs, which is actually the public domain of Russia, has convincingly demonstrated that the Minister of Culture Medinsky and his team are completely ignoring the instructions and orders of the President of the Russian Federation in the field of culture as well as the public initiative in cultural construction, which is the main factor of national culture preserving.
Today we can state the fact of deliberate and criminal elimination of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Center of the Roerichs by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in order to capture the Roerich heritage and the rest of its museum collections. The disinformation about the Roerichs, which the federal media are launching into public space at the exhibition on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and the State Museum of Oriental Art, we consider as the beginning of a state campaign aimed at discrediting the Names and the Roerich Heritage in Russia.
Despite these blatant anti-cultural and destructive facts, the Board and workers of the ICR, with the support of the international community, by all legal means, will work towards restoring the violated will of Svetoslav Roerich and the state’s obligations regarding the revitalization of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Center of the Roerichs on the basis of the Roerich heritage.
Translated by N.Shnaider

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