Category: Allgemein

Egor Ivanov. Short live of culture destroyers

26.01.2018

Today, the International Center of the Roerichs is preparing to export its property from two main buildings of its Non-Governmental Museum named after N.K. Roerich, located in the Moscow Lopoukhins’ estate near the Kremlin. For almost nine months the new owners of the estate, the leaders of the State Museum of Oriental Art, did not allow the workers of the ICR to enter the territory to take their personal belongings and the property of the organization, explaining this by the fact that all the buildings along with the property were transferred to safe custody.

It will be recalled that, on April 28, 2017, several dozen guards of the State Museum of Oriental Art entered the Non-Governmental Museum named after N.K. Roerich and blocked the entrance. The next day, with the participation of the adviser to the Minister of Culture Kirill Rybak, the estate together with all the buildings was transferred to the State Museum of Oriental Art for safe keeping allegedly in the framework of the criminal case against the bankrupt Master Bank. Together with the property of the Roerich Center, the personal belongings of the Museum staff also fell into prison. The workers were allowed to get their belongings only recently, after filing numerous claims in courts against the illegal retention of personal belongings by the leadership of the State Museum of Oriental Art. The State Museum of Oriental Art was forced to start giving the property back to the ICR workers. It’s getting really tough because the workers missed their documents, electronic media with personal data, manuscripts.

                  

                Kulu Valley Hall before the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum Destruction   and after the Destruction

But what the ICR workers saw in the cellars and offices of the museum caused a shock. The new owners from the State Museum of Oriental Art, under the leadership of his Deputy Director Tigran Mkrtychev, while mastering Non-Governmental Museum named after N.K. Roerich did not stand on ceremony with the control of the premises. One can see such a picture there: the expensive museum equipment, that of shop windows and stained-glass windows were broken and piled up in heaps. The friezes, once adorning the museum halls, were deliberately broken and disfigured by the vandals. They are not subject to restoration. Things from all the offices were piled up in ugly heaps. Safes were hacked. The computers of the organization were piled in the toilet rooms. The picture resembles a documentary chronicle of the ruin of Yasnaya Polyana or Peterhof by the fascists during the Great Patriotic War. And the leadership of the State Museum of Oriental Art and the Ministry of Culture called such actions as “the custody” of the ICR equipment! The Prosecutor’s Office and the police also seem to share this opinion. The staff of the ICR have unsuccessfully filed complaints there about the actions of “officials from culture”, each time receiving the same answer “no violations are seen.” Although, apparently, there is an unpunished mockery of the law and the right of high-ranking officials, confident that they will get away with it. But all this is done against a world – famous social organization of culture, which created a unique museum with a world collection of paintings of the Roerichs. The organization was founded and cared for by Svetoslav Roerich, the youngest son of the Great Russian artist Nicholas Roerich. However, for the destroyers of the Non-Governmental Museum, the names of the great representatives of Russian culture are nothing more than a sound. Today they are easily misrepresenting the will of Roerich’s son concerning the preservation of his parents’ heritage in the Non-Governmental Museum housing at the Lopoukhins’ estate, arguing that Svetoslav Roerich actually dreamed of creating a State museum.

                   

The Central-Asian Expedition Hall before the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum Destruction and after the Destruction

At the same time, the position of the youngest Roerich is well known. In his documents and public appearances, he repeatedly testified that the Non-Governmental Museum named after N.K. Roerich in Moscow should not be subordinate to the State Museum of Oriental Art. He, if to believe the portal save-roerich-museum.ru, expressed it even more definitely in his letter to President Yeltsin.

“In 1990, together with the rest of the heritage, I handed over to the Center (the International Center of the Roerichs as the successor of the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs) a large exhibition of my father’s and my own paintings totaling 286, which for a long time was under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture of the USSR. Now this exhibition is illegally kept by the State Museum of Oriental Art. I beg you to assist in transferring it to the International Center of the Roerichs.

The present situation with the Non-Governmental Museum created by the ICR under the leadership of the authorized representative of Svetoslav Roerich Lyudmila Shaposhnikova can rightfully be called a kind of revenge of the officials to Svetoslav Roerich, who almost thirty years ago expressed an open distrust to the state-bureaucratic system of culture and therefore was steadfast in making in Moscow a Non-Governmental Museum on the basis of the Roerich family heritage, which included hundreds of Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich paintings, rare collections and a unique family archive with priceless philosophy manuscripts of Helena Roerich. For 25 years of active cultural activity, the Non-Governmental Museum named after N.K. Roerich of the ICR has done much to study and popularize the philosophical and artistic heritage of the Roerichs in Russia and abroad. And now, apparently, we are witnessing a day of reckoning of the Non-Governmental organization for a multifaceted activity of developing and protecting Russian culture, the organization which for many years has been conducted its work outside the subordination of the officials of the Ministry of Culture. This, in my opinion, was the result of the arbitrariness of ignorance, the triumph of which we are witnessing today in our country in the field of cultural policy, when culture is replaced by ideology, moral values by slogans. The value of a cultural institution is measured not in its educational and scientific activity, but in the amount of the profit it receives. The soulless mere degree holders are trying to turn Russia’s culture into a business, replacing its original role of “honoring the light” (Sanskrit’s “cult” as a veneration and “ur” as a light are meant), in other words, to replace development of spirituality and morality by entertainment and leisure.

                

              George Roerich Hall before the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum Destruction and after the Destruction

The illegal, as I see it, seizure and defeat of Roerich’s largest non-governmental museum in Russia gives us much pain and shame to witness. It gives us still much pain and embarrassing that the actions of the officials would be impossible with the active citizenship of national culture figures. But they shyly remained silent, watching the destruction of the museum. Against the backdrop of this ominous deathly silence, bad news about new disasters of our culture become increasingly frequent. Just the other day the news from the “front” arrived about the gradual destruction of the All-Russian Art Research and Restoration Center named after Grabar, the staff of which in despair turned for help to President Vladimir Putin.

Still, I would like to hope that the age of the destroyers of our culture is not long, that their actions will certainly receive a fair assessment and will serve as a lesson to understand the necessity for Russia to move from totalitarian State culture to its actual universal development and preservation based on its social forms dissemination. The experience of the Non-Governmental Museum named after N.K. Roerich of the International Center of the Roerichs showed that it is not only possible, but also necessary if we want to see our country a truly Great Power, but not a country of popcorn and beer.

Source: Nasha Versiya. 23.01.2018

Alexander Stetsenko: “In Russia one can take anything off of anyone”

26.01.2018

The authorities make up laws in order to interpret them in their own favor. If things do not work out in a good way, “people in black” come and do lawlessness in the “interests of the state.” The capture of the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum is a vivid and very sad example of this.

Numerous lawsuits, mutual accusations of the parties, the furious Ministry of Culture for whom the International Centre of the Roerichs is a sort of irritant… The Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum throughout its existence was holding down the fort, fighting off state and security officials. Finally, at the end of April 2017 the fort fell as a result of a hostile takeover. Does this mean that the Roerich Museum is destined for a sad fate and a $ 1 billion heritage to be plundered?

 

Alexander Stetsenko

We are talking now with the Vice-President of the International Center of the Roerichs (the ICR) Alexander Stetsenko about how the State deals with undesirables and whose who are too independent.

– Alexander Vitalyevich, let’s begin a little with the end. So tell us about the events of the night when the museum was taken over.

– On the night of 28 to 29 April 2017 the State Museum of Oriental Art with the support of law enforcement agencies entered the territory of the Lopoukhins’ estate, where the International Center of the Roerichs was located for more than 25 years, insulated the perimeter of the estate, and seized all its buildings, its territory, all museum collections and other property belonging to the ICR, including personal belongings of its workers.

The reason for the invasion was allegedly in the fact that Arbitration Court has granted the claim of the State Museum of Oriental Art to terminate the contracts for the uncompensated use of the Lopoukhins’ estate and evict the ICR from its three buildings. It is worth mentioning that at this time the court’s decision did not enter into legal force, because earlier we filed an appeal and it was not tried by the court. It was to be tried only 4 months after the capture.

The force capture was carried out by a certain unmarked private security company. The non-departmental security service, which we called out, did not even dare to enter into a conflict with it. In order to make a certain legal status to this illegal capture a Moscow department group of Central Investigative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs arrived at the Lopoukhins’ estate on April 29. It should be noted that this particular group has been investigating the forced bankruptcy of the Master Bank. On arrival it transferred without any reason all the buildings of the estate, the Roerich’s property and heritage to the State Museum of Oriental Art for custody. However, neither the cultural heritage nor the property transferred were mentioned in their search record. There are strong reasons to believe that, thus, the heritage might be plundered.

Actually, the leadership of the Ministry of Culture committed an obvious robbery against the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the ICR in the center of Moscow, alongside the Kremlin, and the investigative bodies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs provided their cover for this crime.

It should also be mentioned that a month earlier, on 7–8 March 2017, the same investigation team at the request of the Ministry of Culture carried out its first raid on the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum with the support of several dozens of armed riot police in masks. Having broken down the doors of the museum, the group led by the adviser to the Minister of Culture K. Rybak and the Deputy Director of the State Museum of Oriental Art T. Mkrtychev took about 200 museum exhibits from the Lopoukhins’ estate, giving them an unreasonable status of physical evidence under the guise of investigation of the criminal case against Boris Bulochnik, the former patron of the Museum.

The investigation of the criminal case is carried out within the framework of fraud allegedly committed in 2012–2013 by the chairman of the Master Bank’s board, ICR’s sponsor Boris Bulochnik, including the outstanding loan of the bank, for which 9 paintings were bought and donated to the ICR in October 2013. They were seized as physical evidence of the criminal case. Together with these ones, they picked up the pictures donated to the ICR in the late 1990-es and early 2000-es, which clearly have nothing to do with the criminal case. The ICR’s archives of the early 1990-es were also withdrawn. All this proves once again that this raider seizure was initiated by the Ministry of Culture with the purpose to take over the Roerichs’ heritage handed over to the ICR by Svetoslav Roerich and other donors.

– What preceded the open seizure of the museum? After all, “fighting” did not begin immediately.

– The seizure of 2017 was preceded by the several-year company waged by Medinsky and his first deputy Aristarkhov to discredit the ICR and its leadership in the eyes of the country’s leadership and society. During 2014–-2016 they tried to present us as militants who are trying to overthrow the government (it was in Aristarkhov’s letter to the Interior Ministry in 2014); as extremists and foreign agents (it was in Aristarkhov’s letter to the Ministry of Justice of Russia in 2015); as religious extremists (it was in the letters of Aristarkhov and the State Museum of Oriental Art to the Khamovniky Prosecutor’s Office in 2015); as fascists who distribute swastikas (this was connected with the recall of the rental certificate for the ICR’s film “Call of Cosmic Evolution” by the Ministry of Culture for demonstrating newsreels fragments); as destroyers of the object of cultural heritage of the XVII–XIX centuries, that of the “City Estate of the Lopoukhins”; as violators of lease obligations (that was carried out by the officials by means of forgery and falsification related to facts and documents, “mysteriously appeared at their disposal” which testify to the registration of 17 commercial organizations at the estate; as those who ruined the estate. Here we should mention that this was the ICR that recovered the estate from the ruins without any support of state funding in 1990-es. And when the accusations in the emergency condition of the estate were claimed we requested to carry out a forensic examination to prove its excellent state. But the ICR was denied in it and the court decided to terminate the contracts and evict the ICR from the estate.

In fact, it was a well-conceived conspiracy of high-ranking officials of the Government of the Russian Federation, carried out by the Minister Medinsky and his team to deliberately destroy the Non-Governmental Museum and illegally seize the Lopoukhins’ estate, museum collections and other property belonging to the ICR. To this end, they sicced all supervisory and control bodies on the ICR. Khamovniky Prosecutor’s Office under the allegations set forward by the first Deputy Minister of Culture Aristarkhov, over the past two years carried out about 20 unscheduled inspections. The tax inspection at the request of the same Aristarkhov checked the ICR all the 2016 trying to discover unaccounted financial flows channeled, as he considered, through the ICR.

Failing to discover any financial violations contrived by the Ministry of Culture, the Federal Income Tax accused the ICR of tax evasion for using the paintings of the Roerichs donated to us for museum activity imposing a fine totaling approximately 59 million rubles. That is nonsense! Now about fascist symbolism. One must try hard to invent such a thing. Although the goal of the Ministry of Culture is clear. If the ICR were recognized as an extremist organization, the State represented by the Ministry of Culture would confiscate all the property of the ICR. And there would be no need for them to prove any rights to the Roerichs’ heritage. They failed to destroy our organization due to the decision of the Supreme Court, which denied the Ministry of Culture to consider their complaint against the decisions of earlier courts, which had recognized the illegality of the rental certificate recall.

Now Aristarkhov is obsessed with another idea. He is bombarding the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Justice by demands to remove from the ICR’s Statute all the references to the Roerich heritage, to Svetoslav Roerich’s will. He demands even to remove any mention that in case of the ICR’s liquidation its property should still be used for the creation a new non-governmental Museum as required by Svetoslav Roerich. The Ministry of Culture does not like even the name of our organization and much more. When it failed in one way, it tries to harm us in other one.

The Khamovniky Prosecutor’s Office, as I have already cited the examples, has been for several years following all the instructions of the Ministry of Culture regarding its illegal demands against the ICR. In September 2017 it filed a lawsuit in the Khamovniky Court of Moscow to force the ICR and the Ministry of Justice to amend the ICR’s Charter.

On December 7, 2017 the judge at the court was openly surprised while considering the lawsuit of the Khamovniky Prosecutor’s Office. How could it happen that the Charter of the ICR with amendments, having been repeatedly checked and agreed by the experts of the Ministry of Justice in May 2017, a few months later was protested by the same Prosecutor’s Office and the same Ministry of Justice?

But neither the Ministry of Justice nor the Prosecutor’s Office announced in the court the names of the true puppeteers of this show, those of the Minister of Culture and his first deputy. Then the judge found an opportunity to stop the administrative case on the Khamovniky Prosecutor’s Office suit. But I think that the Ministry of Culture will not stop and go on putting pressure on both the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Justice. God knows how events will develop in the near future.

– But let’s step back for a moment from today’s events and focus on the start of the Non-Governmental Museum?

– Svetoslav Roerich set two conditions according to which the heritage of his parents Nicholas and Helena Roerichs was to be transferred to Russia gratuitously. The first one was that the legacy would be given to create a Non-Governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich. The second one was that the authorities were to provide the necessary premises in Moscow for the Museum housing.

These conditions were accepted and implemented by the Soviet state. In November 1989 a resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR was signed to establish a non-governmental organization that of the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs and the Center-Museum named after Nicholas Roerich as its main base. And some time later the decision of Moscow authorities was signed to transfer the Lopoukhins’ estate to this public organization to create a Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum in it.

When Svetoslav Roerich was convinced that his conditions were met, he chose Lyudmila Shaposhnikova as a director of the future Non-Governmental Museum and invited her to his place in India to prepare the legacy to be exported to the USSR. In 1991, Svetoslav Roerich considering the collapse of the USSR suggested to transform the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs into the International Center of the Roerichs.

At that time, the estate was in poor condition. The Moscow government, which earlier promised to provide the restoration of the estate financially, eventually declared that there was no money for it. The estate was on the balance of the Moscow government, but the Center was authorized to fulfill the works for restoration. And the estate was restored on public money. About 1995-1996 the first patron appeared, who financed 90% of the estate re-creation and the cultural activities of the ICR until 2013. This was the Chairman of the Master Bank’s Board Boris Bulochnik.

It is necessary to take into account one more point. Svetoslav Roerich transferred his heritage on the basis of the document “Archives and the legacy of Roerich for the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs in Moscow”, signed in 1990 and certified by an Indian notary. In fact, Svetoslav Roerich, during his lifetime, transferred the legacy to the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs but the Foundation was to inherit it only after Roerich’s death.

There are two important points in this document that explain all the struggle of the Ministry of Culture against the ICR. The first one is that Svetoslav Roerich included in his will a provision obliging the Ministry of Culture to transfer to the public organization founded by him a collection of his own 288 paintings. In 1978 the collection in question was granted to the Ministry of Culture of the USSR for temporary use. The Ministry of Culture was to organize their exhibitions around the country. That of the second provision was that having transferred the legacy to the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs, Svetoslav Roerich retained all the rights to the heritage. And only after his death it became the property of the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs.

– But as far as I understand these aspects prescribed in the documents were not realized. What really happened?

– Problems began almost immediately. Firstly, Soviet officials did not want Svetoslav to transfer his legacy for a public museum establishing. They agreed to establish the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs as a public organization, but they insisted on transferring the Roerichs’ heritage to the State Museum of Oriental Art. Now the officials of the Ministry of Culture, in order to justify the destruction of the Non-Governmental Museum, tried to convince the public opinion that Lyudmila Shaposhnikova fraudulently made Svetoslav Roerich pass the legacy to a public organization. Naive and ignorant people think that such a lie can convince someone that Roerich could have been forced to do anything against his will, especially with regard to his parents’ heritage.

But Svetoslav Roerich put a strict condition for the heritage transfer. This was a non-governmental format of the museum. He spoke of this even with Gorbachev. His position in this respect was definitely expressed in his concept of creation and development of a Non-Governmental Museum. This concept was published in the newspaper “Sovetskaya Kultura” (“Soviet Culture”) on July 29, 1989. The article was titled “Inaction is not an option!” One of the reasons for this decision was a tragic history of Svetoslav Roerich’s elder brother George, who returned to the USSR in 1959 at the invitation of Nikita Khrushchev and brought the first part of the legacy. He asked the Soviet leadership to establish a state museum. The Ministry of Culture promised to do this, the pictures were accepted, but the museum was not established. But George Roerich insisted on the museum creating. He took the most valuable part of the paintings from the Tretyakov Gallery, where they were deposited, and placed them in his apartment in Leninsky Prospekt, and kept on demanding the Minister to fulfill the obligations.

In 1960 George Roerich died suddenly, being not married, having no children, leaving no will. His brother Svetoslav Roerich was recognized as his heir, but later he was surprisingly removed from the inheritance rights. This happened at the request of the Ministry of Culture by means of a scam carried out by the officials of the Ministry. They recognized George Roerich’s housekeepers as his dependents, who by virtue of the law of that time were first ones in line to inherit George Roerich’s property. Further, the situation developed even more strangely. These so-called dependents were entitled only to the royalties of George Roerich. You may ask who in this case got the rights to the priceless heritage, brought by George Roerich to Moscow from India. No one!

It is strange that even the almighty power did not take this valuable property to state recording. That is, there were created such conditions when the property had actually no owner. This was definitely done in order to seize everything. That’s the way it happened. It didn’t help that Svetoslav Roerich was writing a lot of letters to the ministers of culture and the leadership of the country. The proposals of the USSR Prosecutor General Sukharev how to avoid the heritage plundering were also of no use. Nonetheless the priceless heritage with about 200 paintings, the most valuable scientific archive of the Roerichs, unique collections of ancient Tibetan painting, Buddhist bronze and other cultural rarities was left in George Roerich’s apartment. And all this was openly and illegally sold out with the utter indifference of the Ministry of Culture and complicity of the Ministry of Internal Affairs by the people who had no right to do so. At the request of the public criminal procedures were initiated against the person, who was selling the Roerichs’ legacy from the apartment, that is, the national property of Russia. But the case was dismissed.

– Do you mean that Svetoslav Roerich passed his legacy on conditions to create a non-governmental museum? Did he make it in the light of the failed experience of violating by the State the obligations given to George Roerich to create a State museum?

– That’s right. Svetoslav Roerich while transferring his heritage was categorical. He insisted on founding exclusively a non-governmental museum. He had first-hand experience that the Ministry of Culture did not wish to create a State museum.

But there were some other reasons in addition to the tragic experience with the first part of the heritage, brought by George Roerich. Svetoslav believed that a non-governmental organization would have more opportunities than the Ministry of Culture in carrying out its cultural activities. A non-governmental organization is able to avoid all official barriers, and work for the benefit of Russia. And so it happened. In spite of all the difficulties, the ICR created an excellent non-governmental museum, recognized in many countries of the world. Over the past five years the ICR held a unique international exhibition project dedicated to the Roerich Pact, that of the first international Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments (Roerich Pact), in 17 countries, including the headquarters of UN and UNESCO. In Russia, this project was held in 150 cities. This is what the Ministry of Culture destroyed. This peacemaking work was so necessary for Russia. But back to our history.

Even when all the documents to found a non-governmental museum were signed, the behind-the-scenes struggle on the part of the officials did not stop. And when Lyudmila Shaposhnikova brought the legacy in May 1990, it was even intensified. A lot was written about that period, so I will not dwell on it.

The reconstruction of the estate and the creation of the museum began. Since 1992 the Roerich’s exhibitions were being organized. Since 1997, the museum has been working in full force. But greedy officials did not give up hope of taking away the legacy.

– What is the reason?

– One of the main reasons is to try to disguise the total theft of Roerich’s heritage. About looting of the first part of the heritage, brought by George Roerich, I have already said. No less tragic fate befell Svetoslav Roerich’s collection of 288 paintings, which since 1987 to 1990 was placed into temporary custody at the Ministry of Culture. Then the owner ordered to transfer it to the public organization. But the Ministry of Culture did not fulfill the request of Roerich to give it, and after his death illegally nationalized it. So the second seizure of the heritage took place. The first one, i.e. violating the obligations given to George Roerich, happened in the 60-es.

The reason was banal. The collection was partially plundered. On this occasion independent studies were initiated by the ICR. They were based on the owner’s official documents and those of the Ministry of Culture. Not once the ICR published the results of the study. Investigative journalism was also conducted. Their conclusion was unambiguous: at this moment in the State Museum of Oriental Art there are only 282 of 288 paintings. Let’s remind that the collection was at the State Museum of Oriental Art since the 1980-es. It means that 6 paintings have disappeared. The Ministry of Culture and the State Museum of Oriental Art are trying to prove that there was no loss of paintings and everything is legal. They say that it was Svetoslav Roerich who forgot to remove the pictures from his will. And that it was Svetoslav Roerich who earlier gave them to other persons. Such a blatant lie of the officials is astonishing. There were 296 paintings, which arrived from Bulgaria to the USSR. All of them in accordance with Act No. 4193 of November 2, 1978, (and the annexes to it) are listed as the property of Svetoslav Roerich. Svetoslav Roerich ordered to return back to Bulgaria a part of this composition of paintings after the completion of traveling exhibitions. This fact was recorded in the act. In 1990 Svetoslav Roerich included 288 paintings, remaining in the USSR, in his will in favor of a public organization.

The dynamics of the lie of the Ministry of Culture is very revealing. At first, they said that Svetoslav Roerich had forgotten to withdraw from his will the part of the paintings, which he had recalled from the USSR. Then the ICR demanded to produce the Roerich’s letter and the executive documents of the Ministry of Culture due to which the pictures were sent back to India. No response. Then they began to develop a myth that Nicholas Roerich’s pictures, those of “The Virgin of the Snows”, “Alexander Nevsky” and “The Song of Shambhala” never arrived in the USSR.

It is the history of these 3 pictures of 6 missing ones that is very indicative. The exhibition of the Roerichs’ paintings was held in Bulgaria. After which this collection was sent to the USSR. These 3 pictures in question were actually listed by the State Russian Museum as “not received” in the Acceptance Report of the Collection from the Bulgarian side in April 1978. Instead of these paintings, other pictures were put in boxes, as was also noted in Act No. 4193 of November 2, 1978. But in the acts of museums of Odessa, Lvov, Kiev and others, where this collection was exhibited, there were no notes that these three paintings were missing. In addition, the “Song of Shambhala” is now being exhibited in the State Museum of Oriental Art. Is this not a convincing proof that the missing pictures were still delivered to the USSR? Well, the other two are now abroad in a private collection…

– On what grounds?

– Manipulators from the Ministry of Culture made one painting of two from the list of Roerich. So the picture “The Song of Shambhala” in Svetoslav Roerich’s list was mentioned under No. 8. But according to the legend of the Ministry of Culture, it did not arrive in the USSR, and at the moment it is absent.

Just think what kind of solution the smart guys from the Ministry of Culture find! They are moving this picture to the position No. 6 in the list, where there should be a picture “Tangla” and assign to the first picture a joint name “Tangla. Song of Shambhala.” And the picture under the name of “Tangla” has mysteriously disappeared. Is it not an interesting criminal history?! The painting “Song of Shambhala” is actually the original “Song of Shambhala”, there is no doubt in it, since it was identified by the author’s lists of paintings made by Roerich himself and by a careful description of its plot made by Helena Roerich.

And this is only one example of the machinations made by the officials of the State Museum of Oriental Art and the Ministry of Culture. If one scratches beneath the surface and compares today’s composition of the collection with its owner’s lists, the facts of pictures size reducing to 100 centimeters, technique changing and other magical transformations might come to light. These facts prove that the original composition of the collection was significantly “diluted” by their copies.

For many years, the ICR required to organize the most thorough independent examination, both of the composition of the collection and the paintings themselves, in order to compare them with the original lists of the owner. The inspections carried out by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation and Federal Service for the Supervision of the Observance of Legislation in the Field of Protection of Cultural Heritage unfortunately based their work not on the title documents of the collection owner, but on the lists of the State Museum of Oriental Art. However, their lists have long since failed to correspond to the original ones and are adapted to the existing pictures. In such state of things, the loss of paintings will never be established. Do you understand?

The attempt to find the truth with the help of the investigative authorities for dozens of years ended in banal formal replies. The last time it was like a total marasmus. The order to sort out the situation was assigned to a… neighborhood police officer. The neighborhood police officer came to the State Museum of Oriental Art and asked, “Have you lost the paintings?”. “No”, he was answered. And that is all. No criminal prosecutions were instituted.

Here is the main reason for Medinsky and his team to destroy our organization. And at the same time to put hands on the richest Roerich collection of paintings. I’m afraid that it will suffer the same fate. After all, the Illicit trafficking of cultural property takes the world’s third place after the illicit traffic in arms and drugs.

Last year I openly accused the Minister of Culture and his deputy, as well as the leadership of the State Museum of Oriental Art, of concealing the loss of paintings from Svetoslav Roerich collection, located in the State Museum of Oriental Art. Do you think they prosecuted me for slander? No, they did not. Why do you think? Because, well knows the kitten whose meat it has eaten…

– Who do you think is at the forefront of those willing to destroy the Roerich Museum and what motivates them?

– It is definitely today’s leadership of the Ministry of Culture. The biggest problems of the ICR began in 2012 with the arrival of Medinsky. This year he said in the State Duma after the museum capture, “The criminal history of how a certain public organization took away from the State its legacy in billions dollars came to an end.”

What an impudent and cynical lie! After all, it is well known that Svetoslav Roerich, the sole owner of the legacy transferred to Russia, insisted on transmitting the legacy to a public organization, but not to the State. A number of documents signed by Roerich and even certified by an Indian notary evidenced this. It is enough to read Svetoslav Roerich’s letter to the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin to reveal all the lie of the minister. In this letter, he asked to assist in transferring to the ICR his own collection, which was illegally kept by the State Museum of Oriental Art.

If to stick to the version of Minister Medinsky, then the former president of the ICR, Yu.M. Vorontsov and Ye.M. Primakov as a long-time friend of our organization, its trustee and member of the Board; as well as M.L. Rostropovich, the trustee of the Museum; and many other prominent public and cultural figures including D.S. Likhachev, who throughout our 26-year history supported the ICR; participated in this “criminal history” (?!). How dare the Minister blaspheme openly from the rostrum of the State Duma? As Shakespeare wrote, “There is no trust, no faith, no honesty”.

– What were the methods of the Minister of Culture?

– Medinsky approached those responsibilities of destroying the non-governmental museum with zealous inventiveness. To accomplish this task it was necessary to take away the legacy from the ICR and evict the ICR from the estate.

According to the law, the legacy cannot be taken away from the ICR, since the owner himself officially transferred it to the Center. That is why in 2013 all Moscow courts refused the State Museum of Oriental Art and the Ministry of Culture to appeal against the judgment of the Khamovniky Court, which recognized the ICR as Svetoslav Roerich’s successor. Then the Minister appealed to the President with a letter in which he unreasonably accused the ICR of trying to take away Roerichs’ legacy, as belonging to the State, from the State Museum of Oriental Art.

In fact, the minister pulled the wool over President’s eyes. And President, believing the Minister, appended instructions on the letter of Medinsky, as to “Take measures to ensure the interests of the State.” Medinsky and his team interpreted these instructions of the President in their own favor and presented an obvious robbery of the ICR as serving the interests of the State. By this they have “set up” President.

Due to this document, the Supreme Court cancelled all previous decisions that rejected the State Museum of Oriental Art and the Ministry of Culture to contest the court decision of the Khamovniky Court and sent the case to the Moscow City Court for consideration on the merits of the complaint of the State Museum of Oriental Art and the Ministry of Culture. It was there where the decision in question was cancelled. Having denied us the rights on Svetoslav Roerich’s inheritance, the Moscow City Court nevertheless has not decided that the ICR illegally owns the legacy of Svetoslav Roerich, transferred to us after his signing the will. It is necessary to give a short explanation on this item.

The fact is that property rights are acquired not only on the basis of a will, but also on an act of purchase and sale, a grant and many other actions, due to which the rights to this or that property are transferred. When the Ministry of Culture launched the company to announce the ICR as not a successor to the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs, for which a will was made, Roerich wrote letters to the leaders of the State, to President Yeltsin, to the head of the Supreme Soviet Khasbulatov and to the mayor of Moscow Luzhkov, in which he definitely expressed his will concerning the rights of the ICR to the heritage transferred to Russia.

But when he realized that this would not stop the greedy officials from taking possession of the heritage, he not long before his death legalized his signature at the notary in India on the document, which under Indian law was the document of transferring rights to the heritage to the ICR. In fact, this document cancelled the previously signed will, since Svetoslav Roerich, being the owner of the heritage transferred to the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs, ordered to transfer it to the ICR.

The Ministry of Culture is well aware of this document importance, so now there have been pathetic calls that the signature of Svetoslav Roerich was a fake, and the Indian notary turned out to be a fraud. Their insolence is just off the charts. They are ready to question even the notarial system of another state, apparently considering that fraudsters there can act in the same way as they used to do here.

As a result, it should be said that the rights of the ICR to the inheritance given to us by Svetoslav Roerich does not result from the succession to Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs, Medinsky’s or his team’s willingness or unwillingness, but from the will of Svetoslav Roerich, the owner of the heritage. They could not change his decision in his lifetime. And much less they could to do it after his departure.

Further more. For much of 2015 Medinsky spent on making the Prosecutor General’s Office take away the legacy from the ICR. The Prosecutor’s Office checked the ICR 5 times for the legality of the Roerichs’ heritage location at ours, but it never came to the conclusion which the Ministry of Culture demanded from it. It offered the Ministry of Culture, if it deemed it necessary, to do it through the court. But how does the minister in court prove that the legacy does not belong to the ICR, and that it should be transferred to the State? In no way. That is why the Ministry of Culture committed the obvious robbery on the night of 28 to 29 April 2017.

In 2015, the founder of the Non-Governmental Museum and its permanent director, Lyudmila Shaposhnikova, the confidant of Svetoslav Roerich and the executor of his will died. Primakov, a permanent member of the Board of Trustees of the ICR died a little earlier. They both were a strong deterrent against the outrage of the lawlessness of the officials against the ICR.

And the siege of the center began. The Ministry of Culture demanded repeatedly to give the legacy. They said, “You are not the heirs, you have no right to keep and manage the collections.” In 2016 the ICR was pressured in full. There were carried out 17 unscheduled inspections from tax inspectors to the Ministry of Justice. The latest one checked whether we are extremists or foreign agents. If the organization was recognized as an extremist one, all its property would pass to the State without any documents.

There was a tax inspection, there was that unfortunate film with alleged propaganda of fascist symbols. They literally clung to everything. And Medinsky was not going to calm down. He was sending constant complaints to the Prosecutor’s Office that our organization is extremist one, that our charter and the title are incorrect. And then there was the eviction.

– And how did they succeed in it?

–- In September 2015, the minister asked the mayor of Moscow Serguey Sobyanin to transfer the buildings of the estate to federal property in order to fulfill the will of Svetoslav Roerich to restore the estate. Again, we have the Minister’s blatant and insolent lie, because the estate had already been restored. For the restoration of the estate there was not spent a penny of State money. And the will of Svetoslav Roerich had already been executed.

And in October 2015 an order was issued to transfer the estate to federal property. Almost immediately the estate was transferred to the operational management of the State Museum of Oriental Art. The ICR was not even aware of it. In 2014 Sobyanin himself gave the estate to the ICR for free use, and in 2015 he himself “on the sly” passed it to the federals.

– In general, everything was done to deprive the ICR of the right to be on the territory of the estate.

– Exactly. The State Museum of Oriental Art immediately filed a lawsuit to evict the ICR from the estate. The basis for the claim was made real “off the wall,” as “everything is bad there”, “the ICR has violated the terms of the contracts of gratuitous use of the estate”, “things are a mess” and… not a single proof for all this. Then Aristarkhov re-entered the case with a view to find compromising materials that would have convinced the court to evict the ICR. At his request, the Moscow City Department of Cultural Heritage conducted an unscheduled inspection. But six months before this, the Moscow City Department of Cultural Heritage conducted a planned inspection and everything was fine with no comments. But in August everything “suddenly turned out to be bad.” Moreover, the Federal Agency for State Property Management, as a representative of the owner, began its inspection of the estate. Then we learnt that 17 commercial organizations were registered at our address.

– Why did the officials do this?

– Everything is very simple. Because this is the grossest violation of the terms of contracts for its uncompensated use, it was an extra reason to accuse us.

We appealed to the Prosecutor’s Office for it to investigate who made this illegal registration on our territory. It was clear that without the help of the officials themselves it would not be possible to make it. We asked the Prosecutor’s Office to identify the perpetrators and punish them. But nothing was done till now. The State Museum of Oriental Art and the Ministry of Culture were trying to convince the court that the ICR brought the estate to an emergency condition. They required to terminate the contracts with us and evict us. The ICR submitted to court the conclusion made by S.V. Demidov, the leading expert of the highest qualification, that the Lopoukhins estate is one of the best in Moscow in terms of its condition and operation. The court at the request of Aristarkhov did not accept this expert conclusions.

We petitioned the court to conduct a forensic examination of the estate condition but they refused us. The version of the Ministry of Culture and the State Museum of Oriental Art was recognized as a true one, and the court terminated the contracts and obliged the ICR to vacate the estate. This was a sort of a one-way track. We filed an appeal, and at that moment, a seizure took place.

– So I understand, the cooperation with the Chairman of the Board of the Master Bank Boris Bulochnik has done a disservice to you.

– Yes, the criminal case against Bulochnik was in the opinion of the Ministry of Culture compromising the ICR. That is fundamentally mistaken. If this is the case, then the Cathedral of Christ the Savior should be taken from the Russian Orthodox Church, because many disgraced oligarchs such as Gusinsky, Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, and others, took part in its reconstruction. There are many other examples. If the funds in question were spent for the common good, how could one question the sincerity of the people who worked for the good of the Motherland? It turns out to be possible when one has personal vested interests. Then any good deed can be discredited.

There is another point. Who has canceled the presumption of innocence here in Russia? Bulochnik was charged with a specific crime committed by him in specific terms, those of 2012-2013. Why did the Ministry of Culture claim everywhere, that the restoration of the estate, which Bulochnik started to finance since the mid of the 1990-es, the numerous Roerichs’ masterpieces, donated by him to the Museum, which thanks to him were returned to Russia and put up for public viewing, were carried out on stolen money? At the same time, Medinsky and his team did nothing to preserve the Roerichs’ heritage. I’ll tell you that, all this was another trick of the Ministry of Culture. They tried with the support of the investigative bodies to hide the seized heritage and other property belonging to the ICR and present it as the physical evidence. After all, investigations can last for decades.

– Your fate will not be envied … What do you hope to achieve in the future? What are the perspectives of preserving the Roerich Museum in its usual over the latest decade format?

– We filed complaints and applications against the illegal actions of the investigation on March 7–8, 2017 to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Investigative Committee and even the Federal Security Service. Refusals came from all of them. And all of them are within the law. We were suing. The court denied consideration. A month later, a complete seizure of the estate and the Roerichs’ heritage including the rest ICR property took place. This action was more like a bandit raid.

In fact, the Ministry of Culture conducted the liquidation of a non-governmental museum created by the efforts of the public. But the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin awarded the Director General of our Museum Lyudmila Shaposhnikova the Order of Friendship for creating and developing the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum in 2006 and in 2011. The President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev awarded Lyudmila Shaposhnikova the Order for Merit to the Fatherland of the IV degree for outstanding services in cultural heritage preserving. The Presidents of Russia turned out to celebrate the merits of the Non-Governmental Museum, and Medinsky destroyed it and the authorities supported him. Is it not weird for a law-based State?

Now the Ministry of Culture is concerned how to eliminate the ICR altogether, so that there will be no one to reclaim everything and to call to prosecute those responsible for this crime. So it seeks to eliminate the key witness.

– Who did the non-governmental museum impede? It has never asked anything from the State.

– A few days ago there was held a meeting of the Council for Culture under the President of the Russian Federation, chaired by Vladimir Putin. Concluding the meeting, he quoted D. Granin’s statement: “Culture can not be led. It must be understood and carried within ourselves.” And if you do not understand the culture, then what? You can… take it away, cant’ you?

You know, patience is running out. For three years, we are sending letters and asking for help. The authorities do not pay attention to this. Our International Non-Governmental Organization has no more chances to find a just solution to our problem in Russia, and we will have to turn to the international community and foreign justice for help.

If for lack of truth in your country you have to turn to foreign justice with a request to protect you from the arbitrariness of your officials, then, let me ask, what kind of society are we building? And what is most painful that these words are addressed to the State in which we live. After all, in fact, it turns out that in Russia you can take anything away from anyone. But big officials from the highest tribunes are keep on talking about democracy. Only where is it?

As for the museum, it prevented the officials, because it was outside their competence. It can even be said in another way: they did not have access to immense wealth plundering, both in cultural and financial aspect. Corruption of officials, embezzlement of budgetary funds is a favorite topic of all news stories. All of this causes substantial damage to the Russian economy. Sometimes we are shown how the State is struggling with this scourge. The harm caused by the Ministry of Culture, destroying the ICR and its Non-Governmental Museum, founded by Roerich, is much more dangerous for the country, as it is undermining the foundation on which everything else rests. We mean Culture.

Who if not the top public officials should be concerned about this subversive activity? Moreover, there are powerful structures in Russia, which are able to stop any disaster.

The General Prosecutor’s Office of Chaika, the Investigative Committee of Bastrykin, the Federal Security Service of Bortnikov, after all, we have the President who can influence the destiny of the country with the stroke of a pen. But … all of them are as silent as a grave. As if that’s how it should be… Even at the Council on Culture, headed by President, which was held recently, no one raised the issue of our Non-Governmental Museum destruction, although many of those present were aware of it.

But we live in increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. The destruction of a museum entails the destruction of culture, the absence of which splits any, even the strongest State into atoms and molecules.

At the end of the Great Patriotic War Nicholas Roerich wrote even more prophetic words in his diary, “The destruction of a museum is the destruction of a country.”

Who and what will the current government lead on the ruins of lack of culture, if it is not concerned about the preservation of culture now.

Alexander Rodin was interviewing Alexander Stetsenko,
the Vice-President of the International Center of the Roerichs

Source: Obshchaya Gazeta. 26.12.2017

Statement of the Board of the International Center of the Roerichs on the opening of the Roerichs paintings exhibition at the Lopukhins’ Estate by the State Museum of Oriental Arts on 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

Exhibition “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity “ in Kazanlak (Bulgaria)

29.11.207 – The exhibition “The Roerich Pact. History and modernity“ was opened at the gallery of National High School of Plastic Arts and Design named after Dechko Uzunov in Kazanlak (Bulgaria) on November 29, 2017. The exhibition was organized by the International Center of the Roerichs, the Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria, the International Committee for the Preservation of the Roerichs’ Heritage, National High School of Plastic Arts and Design named after Dechko Uzunov, the East-West Indological Foundation, the National Roerich Society in Bulgaria.
  Kazanlak is located in the geographical center of Bulgaria and is the center of the Valley of Roses, also called the Valley of Thracian kings. Every year in June for more than a century this region, famous for rose oil production, celebrates a holiday of roses in Kazanlak. A lot of Thracian tombs, crypts and temples have been discovered on the territory of the valley. The tomb of King Seuthes III as one of the latest major findings was discovered in 2004. The Thracian culture in its heyday gave the great Teacher, that of Orpheus, to the ancient world. Orpheus brought here priceless knowledge and the beauty of art. The Thracian tomb (ІV-ІІІ centuries B.C.), also called as the Kazanlak tomb, is the most significant monument of Thracian culture in Bulgaria. It is located in the city of Kazanlak and it is the treasure-trove of ancient art masterpieces. The Kazanlak tomb is included in the list of a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Lyudmila Zhivkova (1942-1981), a historian, a Minister of Culture, an outstanding public figure of Bulgaria, closely cooperated with Svetoslav Roerich. She was the author of an important scientific study dedicated to the Kazanlak tomb.
On the initiative of Lyudmila Zhivkova, Bulgaria in 1978 implemented a large-scale International Program “Nicholas Roerich”, in which Svetoslav Roerich took part. In one of his visits to Bulgaria in the 1980s, Svetoslav Roerich visited Kazanlak, where he got acquainted with the Rose Museum. Svetoslav Roerich met Dechko Uzunov, an outstanding Bulgarian artist who was the patron of the National School of Plastic Arts and Design in Kazanlak.
The exhibition of the International Center of the Roerichs in Kazanlak, dedicated to the Roerich Pact, as well as other exhibitions organized jointly with the Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria and secondary schools associated with UNESCO, is held under the patronage of the Bulgarian National Commission for UNESCO.
The exhibition was opened by the Principle of National High School of Plastic Arts and Design named after Dechko Uzunov, Mrs .Ts. Vitkova and the head of the Bulgarian branch of the International Center of the Roerichs M. Kutsarova. Mrs. Vitkova stressed the importance of the exhibition as a part of the ICR International Exhibition Project and the International Committee for the Preservation of the Roerichs’ Heritage, which began in 2012 at UNESCO, Paris. It and was held in 18 countries of Europe, Asia and America.
M.Kutzarova in her speech at the opening of the exhibition told about the enormous contribution of Nicholas Roerich to the creation of the whole international legal protection of the values of culture and people of creativity, about the Banner of Peace, created by Nicholas Roerich, the history of the Roerich Pact and the adoption of the ideas of the Treaty in Bulgaria in the 30–es of the XX century, thanks to the Bulgarian Committee for the Roerich Pact and the Bulgarian Roerich Society. She spoke about the activities of the International Center of the Roerichs, created by Svetoslav Roerich in Moscow in order to popularize and validate the ideas of the Roerich Pact in the world, which are now extremely relevant not only in view of the increasing number of armed conflicts in the world, but also because of the possible destruction of cultural objects in peaceful time. Students, teachers, as well as representatives of museums and cultural community of Kazanlak t attended the opening of the exhibition.
After the opening ceremony of the exhibition, the head of the Bulgarian branch of the ICR M.Kutsarova gave a lecture on the Roerich Pact and its initiator, the great Russian artist, scientist, thinker Nicholas Roerich. She spoke about the most important ideas of Nicholas Roerich, which were laid down in the Treaty those of World through Culture and the priority of culture in the life of people, society and an individual. She also talked about the links of Svetoslav Roerich, an outstanding Russian artist, thinker, scientist, younger son of Nicholas Roerich, with Bulgaria and, in particular, with Kazanlak. The exhibition of the ICR “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity “ will be exhibited in Kazanlak until the end of December 2017.
(Tranlated from Russian by N. Shnaider)

International Community Celebrated the 80th Anniversary of the First Congress ot the Baltic Roerich Societies

09.12.2017 – The BALTIC International Academy hosted a round table discussion “The Roerich Pact yesterday, today, tomorrow. To the 80th anniversary of the First Congress of the Baltic Roerich Societies” in Riga (Latvia) on December 9, 2017 . Latvian cultural figures as well as representatives of the Roerich organizations from Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Estonia took part in it. The Latvian branch of the International Center of the Roerichs (ICR), the Baltic International Academy, the International Center of the Roerichs and the European Association “EURASSIM” were among the organizers of the celebration.
THE GRAND opening ceremony took place in the foyer, where an exhibition dedicated to the creation and signing of the Roerich Pact was launched. Evgeniya Dynko has performed “Prelude in C-dur” by Bach and “Waltz” by Georgy Sviridov. Marianna Ozolina, the Chairperson of the Latvian Branch of the ICR has greeted the participants of the meeting and addressed the words of gratitude to the Baltic International Academy. She has noted that the Banner of Peace, a symbol of the Roerich Pact, has a direct link to the venue of the round table. The building in which the round table was to be held a quarter of a century ago was one of the blocks of Riga Institute of Civil Aviation Engineers. An astronaut Talgat Musabaev was among the graduates of this institute. It was Talgat Musabaev who hoisted in outer space the Banner of Peace, handed to him by the Vice-President of the ICR Lyudmila Shaposhnikova.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT of the ICR, Alexander Stetsenko, welcomed the audience, noting the seminal role of the Roerich Pact for all humankind. Attacks on the communities promoting the ideas of the Covenant, as well as destruction of cultural institutions hoisting the Banner of Peace, are the attempts to stop the evolutionary process. He emphasized the necessity to pass the test of firmness and fidelity to the ideas that can play a lifesaving role for our civilization.

THE OPENING CEREMONY was concluded by the first rector, the Board member of the Baltic International Academy, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor Valery Nikiforov. He noted that Nicholas Roerich dedicated his life to pursuing the noble goals of culture promoting. He pointed to the direct link between culture and education as a way of transferring the accumulated experience and knowledge from one generation to another. That is why the Roerich Hall, opened at the Baltic International Academy several years ago becomes an organic part of the university and a venue of cultural and educational activity of the Latvian branch of the ICR.

AFTER THE OPENING CEREMONY, the participants and guests went to the conference hall, where the moderator of the meeting, Irina Markina, the teacher of Cultural Studies Department of the Baltic International Academy, acquainted the participants with the greetings on the occasion of the jubilee of the First Congress of the Baltic Roerich Societies. They were sent by the International Council of the Roerich Organizations named after Svetoslav Roerich, the ICR branch in the Republic of Belarus and the Finnish Society of Nicholas Roerich. The Chairman of St. Petersburg branch of the ICR, Eduard Tomsha, welcomed the participants in video message.

MARIANNA OZOLINA, Chairperson of the Latvian Branch of the ICR, read out the greetings of the Latvian National Commission of UNESCO, sent by the Secretary General of the Commission, Baiba Molnika, to the organizers and participants of the meeting.
THE WORK of the round table was organized in the format of a mini-conference. Marianna Ozolina, Chairperson of the Latvian Branch of the ICR, spoke about the First Baltic Roerich Societies Congress held in Riga. The Roerich Pact in pre-war Latvia was supported by the greatest figures of literature and art. People who gave their names to state cultural institutions put their signatures on appeals to state authorities in order the country to join the first Treaty that was to become the cornerstone of international law-making in the field of culture protection. The beginning of the First Congress of the Baltic Roerich Societies coincided with the opening of the official Museum of Roerich’s paintings in Riga. This public museum of the Roerichs was presented with a total of 50 paintings.

IN the 30-es, the Dvina group was a subdivision of the Latvian Roerich Society. Yelena Shmejsa, a Board member of Daugavpils’ group of the Latvian branch of the ICR told about its work. She stressed that wherever Nicholas Roerich had planned to implement his plans, he had like-minded people. And Dvinsk, (now Daugavpils), was among those venues where the group of the Roerich Pact followers was created.

THE CHAIRPERSON of the European Association for Support of the ICR and its non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum, the Chairperson of the Estonian Roerich Society (Tallinn, Estonia) Yelena Aleksandrova emphasized in her speech the All-European significance of the Latvian Roerich Society work in the 1930-es. She spoke about the contribution of Estonian public to the dissemination of the Roerich Pact ideas, participation of Estonian representatives in the work of the First Congress of the Baltic Roerich Societies, publications in Estonian press of that time. She cited an article from the newspaper Uus Eesti (1937) with Nicholas Roerich’s “The Old King”. This publication, in particular, said, “We can happily note that of all the foreign geniuses of our time there is no one closer to us in spirit than Nicholas Roerich”.

Yelena Alexandrova was alarmed by the events related to the seizure of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the ICR by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in Moscow in spring of 2017.

THE THEME of the speech of the member of M.Ciurlionis society from Lithuanian city of Radviliškis Natalia Balkavičienė was the “Power of the Banner of Peace and the criteria of true Culture”. She turned to the ancient symbols, proving their connection with the Sign of the Banner of Peace and drew attention to the original creative mission of man. Art with its main purpose to create a human as a human is contributing much to it. She highlighted an inseparable connection of Nicholas Roerich with the philosophical teaching of the Living Ethics, as well as the significance of Culture as a means for spiritual life.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT of the International Center of the Roerichs Alexander Stetsenko (Russia, Moscow) in his speech called the Roerich Pact a message of the genius, indicating the way out of the series of armed conflicts for civilization. Nicholas Roerich saw the way out through the protection of Beauty, designed as a protection of cultural heritage. We see that all the conflicts are ultimately aimed at the destruction of cultural institutions and the people associated with the transfer of knowledge. Roerich proposed protecting the workers along with cultural objects, otherwise it will be impossible to educate the younger generation. The ideas of the Roerich Pact were the basis of the concept for the UNESCO creation.

A.V. STETSENKO emphasized that all three public museums created by Roerich were destroyed. The first one in New York was destroyed after the signing of the Roerich Pact. The second one in Riga was destroyed several years after the First Congress of the Baltic Roerich Societies. The third museum in Moscow was captured after the success of 25-year work of Lyudmila Shaposhnikova. The non-governmental museum was destroyed by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the collections and property of the museum were seized. There take place continuing attempts to discredit the ICR. But it is the ICR that held four international conferences on the Roerich Pact and more than 300 thematic exhibitions. The highest point of the ICR’s activities was the “Roerich Pact: History and Modernity” project. With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was held in 2012 in 17 countries of Europe, Asia and Latin America, in 150 cities of the Russian Federation. The project was highly appreciated by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. After that, clouds began to gather over the ICR and its non-governmental museum. In spring of 2017, the Lopukhins’ estate was seized and the public museum was destroyed. We cannot but see a certain pattern in these events.

PhD, ASS. PROFESSOR at A.M. Gorky Ural State University, the Chairperson of the International Council of the Roerich Organizations named after Svetoslav Roerich Olga Urozhenko (Russia, Yekaterinburg) in her poster report, read by a member of the Latvian branch of the ICR G.V. Vdovina, turned to the subject of the Roerich Pact as an expression of the philosophy of cosmic reality. She told that the multi-complex semantic field of the Banner of the Roerich Pact includes key images, concepts, laws of the philosophy of cosmic reality, set forth in the Living Ethics.

THANKS TO THIS, the Pact becomes not only a valuable sheet of stamped paper, not only an important legal instrument, but a lever for life reorganizing; a world-wide international impulse for putting in operation the “swiveling lever” of the world”; a “pied-а-terre” that Archimedes sought to deploy the Earth to a new turn of evolution; an engine on the path of evolution; an anchor keeping from sinking into the abyss; and a “rudder” for life transforming.

KSENIA RUDZITE (Riga, Latvia), the curator of foreign fine arts collection, a research associate of the “Riga Stock Exchange” Fine Arts Museum, told about the history of the Riga collection of Nicholas Roerich paintings. The artist carefully selected the canvases for the Latvian Roerich Society, both in terms of subjects and formats, based on the peculiarities of the premises in which the museum was to be located. She dwelled on the dramatic moments associated with the destruction of the museum in 1940, the loss of the collection’s part in war years, the dramatic and tragic fate of the Latvian Roerich Society members, the confiscation followed by the disappearance of the archives and library of the Latvian Roerich Society. Ksenia Rudzite told about the “Riga Stock Exchange” Fine Arts Museum exhibition activities in our days and described how the paintings of Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerichs are stored in the museum.

THE DIRECTOR of the Academic Library of Latvian University, Venta Kotsere (Riga, Latvia), named the Roerich Pact the curator of the Academic Library of Latvian University. In 2009, when the library was threatened to be closed, there held an exhibition, organized jointly with the Latvian branch of the ICR and dedicated to the Roerich Pact. When the time of the exhibition was over, the library personnel asked to leave it for a while. The workers of the oldest book storage, founded in the 16th century, were worried about the fate of the library and perceived the Roerich Pact exhibition as a special shield. And only when the threat of the library closing passed, the exposition set off on a journey to another place where it has long been awaited. Today, the Academic Library of the Latvian University keeps rare editions and documents related to the life and work of the Roerichs. They are regularly exhibited. The thematic exhibitions are carried out in cooperation with the Latvian branch of the ICR.

TATYANA ZAKHAROVA, Minsk State Linguistic University , a member of the Belarusian branch of the ICR, (Minsk, Belarus), opened a topic of the Roerich Pact in the context of intercultural communication in her video presentation. She noted that the Roerich Pact is a focus in which all major lines related to the development of human society have converged. There are several levels in the Pact, those of evolutionary and historical, terrestrial and cosmic, philosophical and political. The relevance of Roerich’s ideas is manifested through a dialogue of cultures that can relieve tension and create a climate of confidence. Universal values constitute the foundations of the Roerich Pact, it considers the evolutionary significance of Beauty as the basis of relations of peoples.

THE SECRETARY of the European Association EURASSIM, the chairperson of the German Roerich Society Halina Schneider (Remscheid, Germany) turned to the topic of the past and the future in the preservation of cultural heritage. She stressed that not all the ideas of Nicholas Roerich were adopted by contemporary international legal acts in the field of culture. The priority issue is the Roerich Pact idea of unconditional protection of cultural property and the priority of culture over military necessity.

The lack of references to the fundamental ideas of Nicholas Roerich in international law at various levels of government testifies to a low level of knowledge and understanding the ideas of the Roerich Pact. No one remembers the concept of a struggle against the “quiet pogroms” of cultural monuments in Russia, which Nicholas Roerich put forward even before 1917. The deliberate destruction of cultural institutions, those of museums, the intentional destruction of historical monuments and inept restoration or the lack of a necessary restoration work, lead to the destruction of the part of the cultural heritage of all mankind. All this takes place in peacetime. There are a lot of such examples, but the most striking one is the destruction of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the ICR in Moscow.

The member of the International Committee for the Preservation of the Roerich Heritage Tatyana Zhitkova (Riga, Latvia) spoke about the activity of this international non-governmental organization. The ideas of the Roerich Pact meet the aspirations of the people of the world and do not meet the interests of the powerful. The Latvian Roerich society in the 30-es operated in conditions of regulation, that means that the work of the public museum in Riga was limited to two days a week. The Museum had to ask for permission to hold the First Congress of the Baltic Roerich Societies and open the Museum of Nicholas Roerich paintings.

IN RUSSIA, back home, the attitude toward the artist is even less favorable. There launched the struggle for the legacy of the Roerichs’ family by those who did not receive it. Realizing that the Roerich heritage is an essential part of the world cultural heritage, the ICR conference dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Roerich Pact decided to establish the International Committee for the Preservation of the Roerich Heritage. It has been created and acting in accordance with the norms of international law. The most painful point in this work is the situation around the ICR. The Committee appealed to the President of Russia V.V. Putin with the request to save the non-governmental museum of the ICR. It must be admitted, Tatyana Zhitkova noted, that the destruction of the non-governmental museum became possible as a result of a deformation of the understanding of culture in some people minds.
FOREIGN MEMBER of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, head of the branch of the ICR in Bulgaria, chairperson of the Roerich National Society (Sofia), laureate of the International Prize of Helena Roerich (Sofia, Bulgaria) Marga Kutsarova in her presentation by video link noted that the Roerich Pact is an integral system for the protection of cultural property. She drew attention to the fact that the Treaty first introduced and established a number of principles and rules in international law.
BY MEANS OF the Roerich Pact, humankind has gained an understanding that the values of culture, regardless of their belonging, are the heritage of all mankind, that they are to be unconditionally protected and respected both in an armed conflict, and in peacetime.

FOR THE FIRST TIME, a well-known and compulsory sign of cultural values protection that of the Banner of Peace was established. The personnel of museums, scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions are to be protected in the same way as the institutions themselves. The Roerich Pact is implementing an all-embracing approach; it provides a very high level of defense for the widest range of protected objects. The Roerich Pact is the first treaty that introduced the protection of cultural property in peacetime in international law. This is connected with one of the main objectives of the Treaty, and perhaps the most important one, that of the educational. Peace through Culture is one of the most significant ideas embodied in the Roerich Pact. Due to this idea the Pact provides for the protection of culture in peacetime and demands for the priority of culture both in legislative and executive authorities work and in the life of society.

THE PRESIDENT of the Austrian Roerich Society, National Committee of the Roerich Pact, Master of Law, Member of the Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots in Austria on legal issues Leyla Strobl (Vienna, Austria) participated in her presentation by video link considered the connection of the space of global civil initiatives and the Roerich movement. The purpose of this type of diplomacy, by her, is to unite civilian efforts aimed at satisfying the interests of all the parties involved for the benefit and prosperity of their countries and regions. Public diplomacy is much closer to people and is free of the regulated protocol of an ordinary diplomacy. Therefore, it is characterized by a simple language and a number of very simple but effective approaches to the work. The international movement in support of the Roerich Pact has been creating an effective communication space, involving more and more people for whom culture is of leading evolutionary significance. The task of this movement participants is to bring this knowledge to the world, as well as do their best for it to be perceived by our contemporaries and gain a worthy place in their life.

PhD (Soc.Sc.), the Chairpersn of Perm Regional branch of the International League for the Protection of Culture Olga Kalinkina (Perm, Russia) in her poster presentation, read by N.A. Slinko, turned to the question of the relationship of culture and civilization.

THE DEFINITION of “culture” and “civilization” for modern science remains controversial. Some scholars are opposing these phenomena, others identifying. Underestimation of the role of culture in the development of civilization, disregard for the moral side of life has already led humanity to wars, rampant crime, nature and technogenic cataclysms of a planetary scale. The whole course of historical development of society has proved that civilization without culture is barren, devoid of its essence and soul. The intellect without soul and heart has dominated in such a civilization. That is why the problem of protecting culture and world cultural heritage is vital in modern society.

CULTURE and civilization are organically connected, they can not be regarded as two parallel processes, independent of each other. Material resources of modern civilization make it possible to ensure the life of an individual, due to which a person gets more opportunities for creativity, spiritual growth, cultural improvement, but these opportunities are necessary to be properly disposed.

THE MODERATOR of the round table Irina Markina has summed up the outcome of the international meeting. She noted that the 80th anniversary of the First Congress of Baltic Roerich Societies was related to the work of non-governmental organizations that had done a great deal to ensure the protection of culture to become an all-human concern. 80 years is not much for the history of mankind, and a lot for a man. During this period, there appeared a legal basis for the States to make the protection of culture not only the concern of the enthusiasts. At the same time, the protection of culture is still the concern of those directly involved in culture. Our time is the time of global civil initiatives. The ICR is actively working to save culture per se. This is actually the matter of an enormous importance of a global scale involving various people and social forces.

AT THE CONCLUSION of the round table, the chairperson of the German Roerich Society, Halina Schneider, acquainted the audience with the draft resolution, which was adopted unanimously.

THE INTERNATIONAL meeting ended with the documentary by Latvian director Ansis Epners “The Roerich’s Banner of Peace”, produced by Riga film studio in 1986.

THE SECOND SECRETARY of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Latvia A.A. Khrapova attended this event.

(Translated from Russian by N. Shnaider)

HIGH SECURITY MUSEUM

22.11.2017 – Sergey Skorodumov, Yan Somov.

 

“The first and the only paragraph of this statute read: 
“If you feel that the law obstructs you, then, 
Taking the statute off the table, put it underneath you. 
And then all this, having become invisible, 
Makes your action a lot easier.””

M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin. “History of one City”

Nobody prevents us from exceeding our laws

The Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Center of the Roerichs (ICR) welcomed visitors in the Lopoukhins’ Estate, Moscow. People from different countries came here to admire the paintings of the great Master of Painting, to be acquainted with the scientific and philosophical ideas of Cosmic Evolution, to take part in the annual international scientific forums. Outstanding musicians arranged concerts of classical music in the hall of Svetoslav Roerich in the evenings…

There is nothing of this anymore. Six months ago, under the leadership of officials of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the ICR was captured and declared a governmental museum of the Roerichs as a branch of the State Museum of Oriental Art. The officials tried very hard to follow the motto of their high-ranking colleague Viktor Chernomyrdin: “Nobody prevents us from exceeding our laws.”

The world has hardly ever seen such a strange cultural institution. It is not so easy to get into it. Strict security guards are ordered to let visitors in the grounds of the estate only by special invitation. Presumably, no one in this institution is going to observe international human rights as regards to common visitors having no access to the cultural heritage [1] .

After this no wonder that the first and the only exhibition of the new state museum, “Light from the Orient”, was visited only by 240 visitors during 20 days (October 6-26, 2017) [2]. An average of 12 people per day. Most likely, this number includes the staff of the new state institution.

According to the director of the State Museum of Oriental Art A. Sedov, the State Roerich Museum is going to demand additional funding of 36 million rubles a year [3]. Why did the officials destroy the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum, which was a success in its operating without state subsidies? And for what purpose are the officials going to establish a new strict regime museum on the ruins? It’s pretty hard for an ordinary man to understand. We will try to deal with it step by step.

When passing the legacy of his family back home, Svetoslav Roerich put forward two prerequisites. Firstly, the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich should have a non-governmental status, and secondly, be located in the Moscow Lopoukhins’ Estate. The government gave Svetoslav Roerich all the necessary guarantees [4].

For a quarter of a century under the leadership of Lyudmila Shaposhnikova, Director – General and the confidant of Svetoslav Roerich, the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich museum was a real magnet of beauty and new science. The cooperation with advanced scientists, cultural figures and representatives of the public was increasing every year. The exhibition of the International Center of the Roerichs “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” was a success in 17 countries. The ICR was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for this planetary scale project. Multilateral peacekeeping activities of the ICR were supported by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation represented by Minister Sergey Lavrov; and Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations V. Churkin; as well as by heads of other authoritative international organizations.

One could hardly imagine that the only one government official, Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, easily reconsider and violate government guarantees provided to Svetoslav Roerich, and the history of the Roerichs’ legacy acquire a criminal character.

Criminal history

On the night of April 28 to April 29, 2017, the officials of the State Museum of Oriental Art got a go-ahead for storming the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum. An unmarked team of several dozen bouncers grabbed the estate with the entire museum collection of the ICR. The workers of the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum were put out of the gate. In the morning, the State Investigations Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in the hot pursuit, formalized the transfer of the ICR property to the new owner, that of the State Museum of Oriental Art in the person of its director A. Sedov, for “safe custody” without having made any inventory.

The priceless paintings and archives of the Roerichs’ family, as well as personal belongings of the museum workers, have been still in the hands of the nouveaux riches, glittered with power. Prior to this capture, an international legal practice has ever known such drastic example of illegal interference in the work of an authoritative international cultural organization.

For executing the most “dirty work”, the directorate of the State Museum of Oriental Art turned out to hire a private security agency “Phoenix” LLC [5]. This hired special division was rewarded by the State Museum of Oriental Art beyond imagining by the sum of 2.5 million rubles, or just over 43 thousand of US dollars for such abecedarian and short-lived special operation against museum workers, most of whom were women. Of course, at the expense of the State. By the way, the private mercenary armies of the third world countries may envy such earnings. But if the jackpot has been estimated by Minister Medinsky in the amount of more than 15 billion rubles [6], then, as they say, “any trade-off is not appropriate here.”

The museum workers of the ICR and their voluntary assistants, whose human rights were cynically violated by Minister Medinsky, go on fulfilling their duty in good faith. For six months, they are at the fence of the Lopoukhins’ estate on duty to tell the visitors, who cannot get to the Museum, about the outstanding members of the Roerich family. The volunteers are conducting virtual tours of the halls of the captured Museum by means of illustrated catalogs.

But their feasible work in the name of the country’s culture is becoming more dangerous. The role of a voluntary supervisor at the gate of the regime object is now performed by a legal adviser of the State Museum of Oriental Art Yu. Izbachkov. He arranges public demonstrative actions such as to tear up a reproduction of Nicholas Roerich’s picture “Saint Sergius”, tear off the Banner of Peace from the car of the museum workers and even to hit a woman, that of the advocate of the ICR [7]. All his actions are accompanied by obscene insults, threats, socially dangerous behavior. This is being done with the indifference and inaction of the local police. The Internet is full of photo- and video- evidences of hooligan tricks of this man, drunk by his own authority [8]. But the police and the prosecutor’s office, as if on someone’s command, methodically put the numerous statements of his victims under the cloth.

When one looks at this surreal picture, one realizes that nothing good could have come about from the raider capture of the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum. Violence can generate only disgrace. Neither culture nor beauty can grow out of crimes and impunity.

Moreover, there are many reasons to assume that the new state museum of strict regime is a temporary phenomenon. It is very likely that in the future, its halls will turn into profitable offices, and the Roerich paintings can at best be in storerooms, at worst at auctions and in private collections, as has already happened with the collection of George Roerich [9].

Golden Ladder with Crystal Handrails

According to the official version of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and personally Minister V. Medinsky, the capture of the estate was undertaken exclusively with the purpose of its protection. At the day of the seizure, Medinsky tried to justify his unlawful actions. On the official website of the Ministry of Culture, there appeared a message: “The State Museum of Oriental Art has taken measures to ensure the safety of the Lopoukhins’ estate.” [10].

After such a statement, it would be logical to see a team of restorers, humming machinery, rapid installation of stagings in the grounds of the estate… Alas. Six months passed. The time would seem to be enough to start at least any work to restore the allegedly collapsing manor. But absolutely nothing has followed the raider’s capture of the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum. Perhaps the officials are pressed of funding. Nothing of that kind! Significant public funds are spent on anything, but the Lopoukhins’ estate.

According to official figures, the officials allocated 2.22 million rubles to create the Internet portal “Roerich’s heritage” [11]; those of 12.25 million rubles to organize and conduct the exhibition “Nicholas Roerich: An Ascent” in Russia and the USA [12]; not less than 76.93 million rubles, that is, 1.29 million of US dollars to restore the central staircase of the Museum-Institute of the Roerichs’ family in St. Petersburg [13]. And this is not counting 17.57 million rubles for other restoration works in this museum [14].

It will take some work to contrive how to spend all these money in the framework of the projects mentioned. One can imagine a royal banquet at the opening of the Internet portal “Roerich’s heritage”, a golden staircase with crystal handrails in the Museum-Institute of the Roerichs’ family, as well as an unforgettable trip of the leadership of the Ministry of Culture of Russia to America to the Roerich exhibition.

No penny has been planned or allocated to support and restore the Lopoukhins’ estate. This means only that the cause for the forcible capture of the estate and destruction of the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum was not the Ministry’s caring for technical condition of the estate. That’s quite another. But what exactly? In order to get an answer to this, we are to get acquainted with the economical projects of the leadership of the State Museum of Oriental Art.

A museum or an apartment house?

On August 11, 2017, the State Museum of Oriental Art concluded an agreement for an independent construction and technical expertise of buildings 4 and 7 of the Lopoukhins’ estate [15] with a certain LLC “Scientific – Expert and Legal Center “Avangard,“ registered on May 11, 2017. That is, this Scientific-Expert center did not exist at all three months before the conclusion of this agreement.

Do you think that the Avangard Center has been tasked to estimate the costs to remove the imaginable damages of the Lopoukhins’ estate? Nothing of this kind! The expert was instructed to “estimate the values at current prices of the necessary and sufficient works and materials to repair the premises of each building (without the adjacent territory) in order to bring the layout of the premises to the condition at the date of transfer to the User (as of 1993 when transferring the land plot with structures).”

Let us recall that from 1965 to 1993 the monument of cultural heritage of the XVII-XIX centuries “The Lopoukhins’ Estate” was used by one of the trusts of the Ministry of Heavy Machinery of the USSR [16] for prudential needs and the estate was brought to a poor condition. Thanks to Svetoslav Roerich and the guarantees he received from the Government, in 1993 the ICR began to restore the Lopoukhins’ estate from the ruins and create the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum in it. The current leaders of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the State Museum of Oriental Art intentionally keep silent about the cost of the estate restoration of more than 1 billion rubles (!), owing to donations of patrons and those of the public of Russia and other countries. [17].

Judging by official documents, the officials are going to “save” the estate (that is in excellent condition) by rebuilding the museum complex into an administrative construction, as it was by 1993. The calculations are in progress. The Lopoukhins’ Estate in the center of Moscow seems to get more profitable use than that of service the revival of Russian culture.

Thus, the undertaken “measures to ensure the safety of the Lopoukhins’ estate” is one more myth of the minister Medinsky, by which he is shielding the criminal seizure of the beautiful and successfully operated non-governmental museum complex and the plan to further its liquidation. The state museum of strict regime, hastily organized by Medinsky in the Lopoukhins’ estate seems to be nothing more than a sham to divert attention and calm the public opinion.

The Inquisition at State Account

The leaders of the Ministry of Culture and the State Museum of Oriental Art have planned to eliminate not only the museum complex, but the International Center of the Roerichs, which stands guard over the notarized will of Svetoslav Roerich. The expectations of the officials are perfectly clear and transparent. If to destroy the social organization to which Svetoslav Roerich transferred the legacy of his family, the access to the multi-million cultural treasure will be open to them. How to do it? It’s elementary. The officials try to present the ICR, a world-renowned cultural and scientific organization, as a sect and blame it for extremism so then to liquidate it through the court.

In April 2017, the Director of the State Museum of Oriental Art A. Sedov concluded an agreement with LLC “New Security Systems Group of Companies.” This time an order was given to provide “a set of services to make an expert opinion on the ideological position and ideological activities of the IPO “The International Center of the Roerichs”; to prepare a summary report with a view to identifying the characteristics falling within the definition of a religious doctrine (a religious sect, a religious group), according to the terms of reference (Appendix No. 1).” [18].

The price of the contract was 400 thousand rubles [19]. The piquancy of the situation is that the main activity of the mentioned LLC is that of “consulting on matters of commercial activity and management”, and 11 additional ones imply such specializations as “an installation of industrial machines and equipment”, “an operation of the office”, and the like [20]. It’s a kind of Jack- of- all- trades organization. However, if money is offered, why not work it out? Moreover, at present it is much easier to make a customized expert opinion [21]. Especially when the case is simplified by an unobtrusive hint in Appendix No. 1 to the treaty: “To analyze the main tenets of the Agni-Yoga teachings in comparison with the religious teachings of the New Age. To conduct an analysis of the literary creativity of the staff of IPO “the ICR” in terms of a religious component presence.”

In fact, the Ministry of Culture, by the aid of the State Museum of Oriental Art, is looking for the presence of a “religious component” in numerous fundamental scientific works of Lyudmila Shaposhnikova, an Indologist, Philosopher, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and K.E. Tsiolkovsky Russian Academy of Astronautics, Honorary Doctor of Sofia University, Honorary Doctor of Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Honorary Doctor of Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University. These are her works that make up a significant part of the “literary creativity of the staff of IPO “the ICR”. All of them are based on the philosophy of the Roerichs.

Lyudmila Shaposhnikova is rightly considered the founder of a new scientific school of modern Roerich studies. Lyudmila Shaposhnikova was awarded the Order of Friendship and the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, IV degree. Her scientific activity is recognized in many countries of the world.

Certainly, these experts of a broad profile are certain to omit in their summary decision that the scientific nature of Nicholas and Helena Roerichs’ philosophical views was confirmed by Library and Bibliographic Classification published in 2012 [22]. The Russian State Library, the Russian National Library and the Library of the Academy of Sciences were working on its release. Philosophical views of the Roerichs along with the world outlook of the world-famous scientists V.Vernadsky and A.Chizhevsky are referred to the heading of “Russian Philosophy – Cosmism.”

The fact that the philosophy of Living Ethics has nothing to do with the “New Age religious teaching,” has been proved many times. The term “New Age” was used by the occultist Alice Bailey, who was sharply criticized by Helena Roerich [23]. The direction of “New Age” is characterized by whateverism and a superficial understanding of the Orient philosophical systems. In addition, “New Age” has nothing in common with the philosophy of Russian cosmism.

For a quarter of a century scientists and prominent public figures were cooperating with the ICR [24], studying the philosophy of Living Ethics. A lot of proceedings of scientific conferences and other publications were edited, and a number of dissertations defended [25].

Back in 2001, a scientific expertise of the cultural and educational activities of the International non-governmental organization “The International Center of the Roerichs” was conducted by the Full Doctor of Philosophy, the professor of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MSIIR) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, a well-known religious scholar V. Glagolev. The conclusions of the expertise, which were published more than 15 years ago, stated, “the International Center of the Roerichs is essentially a cultural and educational organization, and therefore it does not represent a sect, a totalitarian sect, or a religious sect on any of the grounds on which a sect is identified in contemporary scientific literature. Therefore, in particular, the activities of the ICR cannot be characterized as religious ones (there is no mythology, cult practice, and stable organization of a religious charismatic type).“ [26].

It is unlikely that the experts of LLC “New Security Systems Group of Companies” will take all these facts into account, their conclusions were apparently predetermined financially. Politician ideological censorship of the ICR books (1991-2017), initiated by the Medinsky’s Ministry of Culture, regarding the philosophy of the Roerichs, might result in banning of the exhibition of the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum in Russia, violent separation of the great Master’s painting from his philosophical views and even in distortion of his paintings’ interpretation, reflecting the essence of this philosophy, such as “Agni Yoga”, “The Song of Shambhala”, “Chintamani”, “Burning of Darkness”, “Fiat Rex” …

It is very likely that today’s head of the Ministry of Culture is becoming a source of new drastic tension in society. If the country’s leadership keeps silent even this time, one will be able to talk about modern inquisition establishing in Russia with all its functions, and at state expense.

Nature Reserve of Public Culture

Знамя МираIn 1992, Svetoslav Roerich notarized [27] the transfer of ownership rights to the paintings and archives of his family under the law of India, of which he was a citizen. This fact is legally indisputable. The Ministry of Culture does not even try to prove the contrary in Russian courts, let alone Indian or international ones. Neither the Ministry of Culture nor the State Museum of Oriental Art ever had or have any documents on the Roerichs’ heritage. But, as everyone knows, the full doctor of historical sciences Medinsky is a master of “interpretation of historical events and facts in the paradigm of state interests” [28].

This skill was useful to the minister to lie publicly at the State Duma on May 17, 2017. He said in his speech that the Ministry of Culture “had managed to return” an invaluable collection of the Soviet Roerich Foundation “to the ownership of the Russian Federation”, the collection, that for more than a quarter of a century was held by a certain private organization. [29]

A few days before the fiery speech of the invariably “truthful” Minister Medinsky, there appeared an information on the portal of the Unified Information System in the field of procurement [30], on the conclusion of a highly paid contract of the State Museum of Oriental Art with LLC “New Security Systems Group of Companies” for it to find (attention!) a legal “reasoning for the Russian Federation’s rights on the legacy of Svetoslav Roerich, transferred by him to the Soviet Foundation of the Roerichs.” The term of the agreement is to December 31, 2017. It follows that Medinsky and those who carried out his orders knew perfectly well that they were committing a robbery on April 28, 2017, seizing the collection and property of the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum.

Minister Medinsky is under time-pressure. He is to present not lip service, paid by him at the Duma rostrum [31], but much more weighty arguments. The only downside is that it’s nowhere to get them. It remains only to pay handsome fee the “experts” from LLC “New Security Systems Group of Companies” in order they go there, do not know where, and bring it, I do not know what.

The words of Svetoslav Roerich proved that all the efforts of the officials were in vain, “As I already said, subordination of the Center to the Ministry of Culture or to the Museum of Oriental Art would unreasonably and wittingly narrow down the tasks and the opportunities of the Center. In my opinion, the Center must have significant independence, flexibility and the ability to function regardless of bureaucratic barriers using new, non-traditional approaches and appealing directly to the international community.”[32].

Svetoslav Roerich warned, “many organizations and people will certainly ask and demand some parts of the heritage” [33], referring to the fact that they can better dispose of it. And yet Svetoslav Roerich due to his high honesty and honor hoped to the end that the country’s leadership would fulfill its obligations.

Unfortunately, the most unfavorable development of this history has turned the Lopoukhins’ estate that of the reserve of rapidly disappearing social form of culture in Russia, into a zone of lawlessness, where the Constitution of the Russian Federation and international law are powerless. Almost a quarter of a million people has protested against this development by signing a petition in defense of the ICR and its Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum [34].

In order to save the disappearing culture of Russia the representatives of law enforcement bodies and the Russian Government are to show themselves strong enough to hear the voice of the people and stop the excesses of the officials of the Ministry of Culture and the State Museum of Oriental Art. For there is no bright future without the culture.

And the defenders of the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum become more and more convinced in their future victory. They are sure that those who committed the raider seizure will be held accountable for their act and will find themselves in the remote location of the country, and then on the margins of the world’s history. The heritage of the Roerichs will be saved, and the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum will open its doors to welcome visitors!

Svetoslav Roerich’s behest “One can’t delay” is more relevant today than ever. The people of Russia, having for centuries kept a rich Russian culture, should hear it. Otherwise, our children and grandchildren will have to look out at the state museums of strict regime through the lattice of fences for all their lives, and will be acquainted with a social form of culture exclusively through a history book.

Sergey Skorodumov
Member of the International Writers’ Association (Russia)

Yan Somov
lawyer (Belarus)

 

NOTES:

[1] Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 27), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 15), Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, general comment (art. 21, para. 15), A / HRC / 17/38 (para. 78).

[2] The State Museum of the Roerichs. Milestones of development (group). Message from the 05.11.2017 at 12-53. // Facebook (official website). Access mode: https:// goo.gl/Y6h4wL, https:// goo.gl/dphpRW

[3] Members of the collegium of the Ministry of Culture approved the draft concept of the Museum of the Roerichs’ family // Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation (official website), 16.02.2017. Access mode: https:// goo.gl/gUjCGe

[4] See: Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on November 4, 1989, No. 950 “On the Soviet Roerich Foundation and the N.K. Roerich Center-Museum” and the Moscow Government Resolution No. 812 of October 3, 1995.

[5] Procurement dated 26.04.2017 No. 31705060821, No. 31705060794, No. 31705060791 // Official site of the unified information system in the field of procurement.

[6] V.Medinsky: the Roerichs’ heritage will return to Russia’s ownership secured // RIA Novosti (official website). 17.05.2017. Access mode: https:// ria.ru/culture/20170517/1494480477.html

[7] Lawyer of the State Museum of the Oriental Arts arranged a fight in the Roerich Museum // International Center of the Roerichs (official website). 27.10.2017. Access mode: http://www.icr.su/eng/news/icr/detail.php?ELEMENT_ID=5611

[8] Chronicle of the capture of the Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum (updated) // We will save the Roerich Museum (official website). Access mode: https://save.icr.su/en/2017/11/6063/

[9] Revyakin D.Yu. The ruinous heritage: Moscow apartment of George Roerich: Catalog. Photo chronicle. Archival documents. Moscow: International Center of the Roerichs, 2010. 500 p .: ill.

[10] News of the Ministry. Statement on the situation around the Lopoukhins’ Estate and the International Center of the Roerichs // Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation (official website). 28.04.2017. Access mode: https:// goo.gl/kHr8ce, https:// goo.gl/3VrVpF

[11] Purchase No 0173100007716000595 of 11.08.2016 // Official site of the unified information system in the field of procurement. Access mode: https://goo.gl/DHF7wv

[12] Purchase No 0173100007717000396 dated 28.09.2017 // The official site of the unified information system in the field of procurement. Access mode: https://goo.gl/HqEsgH

[13] Procurement No 0372200180316000008, No. 0372200180316000013, No. 0372200180317000007 // The official site of the unified information system in the field of procurement. Access mode: https://goo.gl/hcEn4Thttps://goo.gl/j79rDvhttps://goo.gl/Nuq2L3

[14] The list of purchases for the Institute – Museum of the Roerichs’ family in St. Petersburg // The official site of the unified information system in the field of procurement. Access mode: https://goo.gl/GCVnbD

[15] Construction and technical expertise agreement dated August 11.08. 2017 // Official site of the unified information system in the procurement sphere. Access mode: https://goo.gl/HNtVh5

[16] The Lopoukhins’ Estate. Historical information // International Center of the Roerichs (official website). Access mode: http://www.icr.su/rus/museum/house/history/

[17] An open letter of representatives of 84 Roerich and socio-cultural organizations of Russia and other states that took part in the meeting “Non-Governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Center of the Roerichs needs protection”, held on February 22, 2014 in Moscow // International Council of the Roerich Organizations named after Svetoslav Roerich. (official website). Access mode: http://www.roerichs.com/Publications/Centre-Museum/18.htm (Source: Novaya Gazeta, 2014. March 31, No. 34).

[18] Procurement dated 26.04.2017 No. 31705060825 // Official site of the unified information system in the field of procurement. Access mode: https://goo.gl/gRwSgL

[19] Protocol dated 26.04.2017 to procurement No. 31705060825 // Official site of the unified information system in the field of procurement. Access mode: https://goo.gl/ZVxvko

[20] Information about LLC “NSS CG”// For honest business (official website). Access mode: https://goo.gl/gQvuvg

[21] Experts for special purposes. They fulfill any order for a verdict, they will find everything you need // Novaya Gazeta (official website). 15.09.2017, No. 102. Access mode: https://goo.gl/ZBWGjp

[22] Library and Bibliographic Classification. Middle tables. of 9 issues. Issue. 5: 80/88 “Philological Sciences. Fiction. Art. Art history. Religion. Philosophy. Psychology: a practical guide / Rus. state library, Rus. nat. library, Library of Rus. Acad. Sciences. Moscow: Pashkov’s House, 2012. 600 p.

[23] H. Roerich. Criticism of Alice Bailey // Yaroslavl Roerich Society “Orion” (official website). Access mode: http://yro.narod.ru/zaschitim/antibailey/bailey.htm

[24] Living Ethics – is not a religion, but a system of scientific knowledge of the world // International Center of the Roerichs (official website). 29.12.2016. Access mode: access: http://www.icr.su/eng/protection/ethics/living-ethics-non-religion.php

[25] Chronological index of books and dissertations in the field of Roerich studies // Handbook of the Roerichs’ heritage. Vol. I: Russian and foreign researchers of the Roerichs’ heritage / under the general. ed. of L.V. Shaposhnikova. M .: ICR, 2014. P. 329-335.

26] “Scientific examination of the cultural and educational activities of the International Center of the Roerichs”, by Full Doctor of Philosophy, Professor of MSIIR Glagolev V.S. // Protect the name and heritage of the Roerichs. Volume 1. Documents. Publications in the press. Essays. Moscow: International Center of the Roerichs, 2001. P. 320-324.

[27] The Act on the transfer of ownership rights in favor of the International Center of the Roerichs by Svetoslav Roerich dated October 22, 1992, certified by an Indian notary in Bangalore // International Center of the Roerichs (official website). Access mode: https://goo.gl/YIo6xH

[28] Statement of the members of the Expert Council of the Higher Attestation Commission on History attached to the Ministry of Education and Science on 13.10.2017. Access mode: https://publizist.ru/blogs/108209/20744/

[29] Report of the International Center of the Roerichs on the speech of the Minister of Culture, V.R. Medinsky in the State Duma of the Russian Federation on 17.05. 2017 // # SaveMuseum of Roerich | #SaveRoerichMuseum (official website). Access mode: https://goo.gl/KFeV2A

[30] Procurement No. 31705060832 dated April 26, 2017 // Official site of the unified information system in the field of procurement. Access mode: https://goo.gl/um7mC8

[31] V. Medinsky: the Roerichs’ heritage will be returned to Russia’s ownership secured // RIA Novosti (official website). 17.05.2017. Access mode: https:// ria.ru/culture/20170517/1494480477.html

[32] Svetoslav Roerich. One can’t delay! // The newspaper “Soviet Culture”, 29.07.1989.

[33] The address of Svetoslav Roerich to the members of the board of the Soviet Roerich Foundation, 28.11.1989 // International Center of the Roerichs (official website). Access mode: http://lib.icr.su/node/15

[34] Petition “Follow the will of Svetoslav Roerich – save the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum”// Change.org (official website). Access mode: http://goo.gl/vYSutS

 

Statement of the International Centre of the Roerichs concerning the decision of the 9th Arbitration Court of Appeal (August 22nd, 2017)

On August 22, 2017, the 9th Arbitration Court of Appeal refused the appeal of the International Center of the Roerichs (ICR) against the unlawful decision of the Moscow Arbitration Court in the case № А40 163033/2016 (on application by the State Museum of Oriental Arts to the International Center of the Roerichs on termination of rent-free agreements and eviction of the ICR from the buildings 4 and 7 of the Lopoukhins’ estate).

We have seen once again that today in Russia there is no justice capable of protecting the legitimate interests of a non-governmental organization. We have seen how officials, in our case, the leadership of the Ministry of Culture, seek to take away all property belonging to a non-governmental organization (we mean the Roerichs’ Heritage) and the cultural heritage site (the Lopoukhins’ Estate, restored by the ICR without government financial support).

Without having the full text of the decision of the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court on the complaint of the International Center of the Roerichs in hand, we cannot give a detailed assessment to it. However, proceeding from the process of the court session itself, we can conclude, that the ICR was once again denied the right to be protected: the request for a forensic examination regarding the real technical state of the Lopoukhins’ estate was rejected (the ICR is accused of having allegedly brought the estate to an unsatisfactory state). No long-standing cultural activity of the ICR has been taken into account as the Court has refused to recognize the ICR as a cultural organization. The Court has unsubstantially affirmed that the ICR has allegedly registered 17 commercial organizations in the Lopoukhins’ Manor-place. And much more. All this proves that the authorities has made the liquidation of the ICR their first priority.

The main reason for such decision is that the International Center of the Roerichs and its non-governmental museum named after N.K. Roerich have been successfully working throughout its 25-year history. It has been heeding the behest of its founder, S.N. Roerich, to preserve and popularize the heritage of our great compatriots. Its activity was awarded by state honours of the Presidents of the Russian Federation, numerous letters of thanks of the ministries and departments of Russia, as well as the letters of appreciation of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova. But destructive policy pursued by the leadership of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and by V. Medinsky personally in relation to the ICR and its non-governmental
Museum made the authorities to change their attitude towards the ICR. As a result, the actions of the leadership of the State Museum of Oriental Arts go unpunished. On the night of April 28 29th, 2017, the Lopoukhins’ estate, all the Roerichs’ heritage belonging to the ICR and other property, including personal belongings of the staff, was seized by force. All this happened before the court decision on the ICR eviction from the Lopoukhins’ estate would enter into legal force. At the same time, the officials with the help of law enforcement agencies, supervisory and judicial bodies seek to destroy our non-governmental organization and justify the robbery on the part of the State Museum of Oriental Arts in relation to the ICR.

All this convincingly demonstrates the negative attitude of the authorities towards the Roerichs’ heritage and the Roerichs themselves. Investigating, preserving and popularizing the unique cultural heritage of our outstanding compatriots turned out to be unnecessary to the authorities. That is why everything is being done not only to destroy the International Center of the Roerichs and its non-governmental museum, but also to bury the very heritage of the Roerichs into oblivion. That is why a few days after the capture of the Lopoukhins’ manor, the employees of the State Museum of Oriental Arts tore off the Banner of Peace from the flagpole located in front of the non-governmental museum named after N.K. Roerich. The Banner of Peace is a distinctive flag of the Roerich Pact – the first international treaty for the protection of cultural property. It was the foundation of UNESCO’s legal mechanisms to protect cultural heritage sites. The Banner of Peace was consecrated in Christian churches in 1931 and in 2013. The UN Secretaries General and the Director-General of UNESCO, heads of states and heads of parliaments gratefully received the Banner of Peace from the ICR. It has suddenly become undesirable in Russia.

Just like the Living Ethics, the scientific and philosophical Teaching, revealing the laws of the evolution of Man and the Cosmos, their unity and interrelation. It was the source of inspiration and creativity of the Roerichs. S.N. Roerich donated this great legacy to Russia provided that the non-governmental museum named after N.K. Roerich would be established on its base. Moreover, the museum should be located in the Lopoukhins’ estate. Today the heritage turned out to be unnecessary to the officials. That is why the state refuses to fulfill its obligations, given to S.N. Roerich, that is why there is a hunt for those who have been preserving and popularizing this heritage for more than a quarter of a century. This is the main objective of fighting the ICR.

The International Center of the Roerichs will continue to uphold the will of S.N. Roerich regarding the non-governmental museum named after N.K. Roerich, to assert its legal rights to the Roerichs’ heritage and the Lopoukhins’ estate, as well as the right to maintain its cultural activities within the framework of the legislation and its Charter.

International Press Conference “Tragical destruction in Moscow of one of the largest European museums – the N.K. Roerich Museum”

03.06.2017 – On May 31st, 2017 at 3 p.m., the Adamson-Erika Museum in Tallinn hosted the International Press Conference “Tragical destruction in Moscow of one of the largest European museums – the N.K. Roerich Museum”.

In Moscow, after 25 year of successful work, the International Centre & Museum of the Roerichs (ICR) has been seized and robbed. For many years, many non-governmental organizations and societies in the European Union, such as from Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Austria, and also in countries outside the EU, such as Belarus and Latin America, have cooperated with this international non-governmental organization. In the night from April 28th to 29th, the buildings and all property of the ICR, located close to the Kremlin, had been seized by employees of the State Orient Museum with the support of forced bodies without recognition badges. The whole action happened without presentation of documents, without judicial decision, and is absolutely illegal.

N.K. Roerich – he was founder of International right on the field of preservation of culture, one of the greatest artist of Russia and the whole world, author of around 7,000 paintings. Roerich’s paintings belong to the most valuable lots at international auctions.

The International Centre of the Roerichs created the large N.K. Roerich Museum, being at world’s top level, which possesses the largest collection of paintings of the Roerichs. The collection includes about 900 paintings and drawings, representing an enormous value of art.

Today, all property, financial documents and personal belongings of the organization and its employees are under arrest. For more than 20 days, the team of the organization and the museum are not allowed to their workspace and are deprived of legal protection. The technical service staff of the ICR is not allowed to enter which leads to serious danger of damage to the cultural Roerichs’ heritage. Governmental bodies do not react on the claim to stop this lawlessness. The help of the international society and the mass media is urgently necessary.

The intruders of the International Centre of the Roerichs, which are the State Museum of Oriental Arts and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, do not have any legal rights on the artistic values, the property and the documents of the International Centre of the Roerichs. They exclusively act with methods of force and do not want to assert their right at court, because they do not have any documents giving them the possibility to claim ICR’s property.
The international society has tried to find defenders of legality within governmental structures in the Russian Federation and large non-governmental organizations taking care of museum activities. But nobody has been found.
In order to hide their illegal actions, the leadership of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation und its subordinated institutions mispresent events, openly lie to the press und the members of the Russian parliament (Gosduma).

The participants of the Press Conference read out:
Address of Marga Koutsarova, international legal counsel from Bulgaria. In her address, Madame Koutsarova pointed out, that “the destruction of the non-governmental N.K. Roerich Museum has been executed in gross violation of all basic principles of right!… Taking into account the extraordinary heavy character of the destruction of the non-governmental Museum, which is a criminal offence on culture, we completely support the appeal of the International Centre of the Roerichs to create an international working group, which should investigate the accepted destruction of the N.K. Roerich Museum of the ICR, to work out the necessary steps to return the Roerichs’ heritage and the buildings belonging to the International Centre of the Roerichs. Furthermore, this working group should initiate necessary legal acts to prohibit in future any destruction of a non-governmental museum anywhere in Europe!” Read the contribution

Address of Dr. Evgenij Shunejko, art expert, member of the Belarus Artist Union, activist of the Belarus Republican Society for Friendship with Foreign Countries: “I personally, as art expert and artist, always support the position that force and lawlessness in no case can serve as an argument in situations of dispute, especially when we are dealing with culture and spirituality. Our history shows us sufficient examples, when cultural heritage was confronted with most cruel measures”.
Read the contribution

In the Press Conference participated:

Elena Alexandrova, chairwoman of the Estonian Roerich Society, chairwoman of the Coordination Council of the European Association for the Support of the Centre&Museum of the Roerichs (Estonia) Read the contribution

Natalya Cherkashina, acting director of the N.K. Roerich Museum, board member of the International Centre of the Roerichs, museologist (Russia) Read the contribution

Halina Schneider, chairwoman of the German Roerich Society, Secretary of the European Association for the Support of the Centre&Museum of the Roerichs (Germany) Read the contribution

Marianna Ozolinya, chairwoman of the Latvian Roerich Society, poet (Latvia) Read the contribution
Andrej Miller, board member of the Estonian Roerich Society (Estonia) Read the contribution

Peeter Vyakhi, composer, board member of the Estonian Composer Union, member of the Estonian Academic Eastern Society (Estonia) See video contribution
Moderator: Dr. phil. David Sveviov, historian, professor at the Estonian Academy of Arts, winner of the European Citizens Prize 2016.

Language of the Press Conference: Russian/Estonian

STATEMENT of the International Centre of the Roerichs

02.05.2017 – Statement of the International Centre of the Roerichs concerning the armed seizure of the Lopoukhins estate carried out by the State Museum of Oriental Art on 28 – 29 April 2017 with the support from law enforcement agencies aimed at the annihilation of the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich and the seizure of the Roerichs heritage, belonging to the International Centre of the Roerichs

A short chronicle of events

Around 9 p.m. on 28 April 2017 [Friday] the Director General of the State Museum of Oriental Art (SMOA), Alexander Sedov and his colleagues, accompanied by a specialized unit with no insignia that would allow their identification, made an attempt to seize the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of the International Centre of the Roerichs and other buildings of the Lopoukhins estate, in which the ICR has been lawfully based since the beginning of the 1990’s, as well as to seize the preserved in the Museum Roerichs heritage. The above said specialized unit with no insignia neutralized and dismissed the Museum security guarding the Lopukhins estate territory, while the Director of SMOA Sedov could present no final court decision that has entered into force since he had decided not to wait for an appellate decision of the Arbitration court on the case of termination of the agreement for free use by the ICR of the Lopukhins estate and the eviction of the ICR therefrom. At that time the concert of the famous Bulgarian musician, Mr. Atanas Kurtev, had just ended and he found himself a witness of the attempted seizure of the non-governmental Museum.

Thanks to the intervention of the local Moscow police and a called by the International Centre of the Roerichs unit of security we managed to prevent the seizure. The SMOA personnel were made to leave the Museum premises, together with the accompanying them persons with no insignia that would indicate their belonging to one of the units of the special law enforcement agencies. The museum was placed under seal and was given to the responsibility of safeguards.

Nevertheless the mentioned above persons without insignia that acted in the interests of SMOA, had already blocked the entrances and exits to all buildings belonging to the Lopukhins estate, as they had placed there their own guards even before the Museum premises were emptied and the buildings placed under safeguarding. By doing so they deprived the ICR personnel access to their working places.

The Director General of the SMOA motivated his actions by saying that he is trying to execute a court decision (that has allegedly entered into force and is final) and to compel the ICR to leave the Lopukhins estate, which has been given to the SMOA in operative management. The ICR management presented documents, which prove our organization’s right to a free use of the estate buildings. Also the ICR management reminded that the court decision, which obliges us to leave the premises and the full text of which is dated 7 April 2017, is not yet final, since the ICR is going to appeal it in the Court of Appeal in accordance with the procedure established by law. The ICR and the SMOA filed reports with the local police on what had happened including motivations for their actions and a request to conduct an inspection.

Representatives of the police convinced us that until completion of the review of the filed reports and in order to ensure the safety of the possession, it would be necessary to place under seal all entrance doors to all buildings belonging to the estate, and that it would be necessary for all people to leave the territory on which would stay only four guards from both ICR and SMOA and an armed unit of the local police, which would ensure that public order is maintained.

Mr. Ivan Zasurskiy, member of the Russian Federation Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights found himself an involuntary witness of the raiding of the non-governmental museum by the State Museum of Oriental Arts, because he had not yet left the building after the Bulgarian Atanas Kurtev’s concert. The events in the ICR aiming at the seizure of the Lopukhins estate and the Roerich heritage also drew the attention of Mr. Mikhail Fedotov, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation for Human Rights. On 29 April Mr. Fedotov together with Mr. Andrei Babushkin, member of the Russian Federation Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, came to the ICR, but the SMOA security let them enter the estate territory only after one hour. After having listened to the representatives of the ICR, the SMOA and Mr. Kirill Rybak, the Advisor of the Minister of Culture, Mr. Fedotov left the territory of the Lopukhins estate.

Apparently that kind of turn of events was not included in the SMOA plan, and it relied again on the investigation team taking part in the inquest of the Master Bank case. Around 7 p.m. on 29 April, cars with representatives of the said investigation team, riot police (OMON) and SMOA entered the estate territory. They commenced a search, the necessity of which was motivated with untenable circumstances that do not correspond to facts. This in turn indicates that the action was planned in haste and was formal by nature. The Vice President of International centre of the Roerichs, Mr. Alexander Stetsenko, was not permitted to be present at the search. Seizure of the accounting documentation and drawings of the Roerichs was carried out in the absence of the representatives of the ICR accounting department and responsible curators of the heritage. The investigation team took away from the ICR the keys to the Museum depositary and the Museum halls and handed them over to the SMOA. In the protocol they noted that the Lopukhins estate is being placed under the custody of the Director General of SMOA, Mr. Sedov, together with all property of the ICR and the personal belongings of the ICR personnel. Neither Act of transfer, nor any specification of the transferred property was made. All these facts attest to the real goal of the “investigation” – namely to remove all obstacles, hindering the SMOA from accessing the heritage belonging to ICR. After all, these obstacles were so unexpectedly imposed by the local police and that was not included in the plans of those who organized the seizure. So, the seizure of the Lopukhins estate and the Roerich heritage which belongs to the International Centre of the Roerichs and which is located in the estate was carried out under cover of criminal investigations on the bankruptcy of the Master Bank.

In conclusion of this short chronicle of events it should be mentioned that in the night of 1 May, around 3 a.m. on the territory of the estate the representatives of the SMOA took down the Banner of Peace – the distinctive flag of the Roerich Pact, which is the first international treaty on the protection of cultural property in both peaceful times and at war. It is obvious that for the raiders, who under the cover of darkness broke in to the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of the ICR, the Banner became a direful reminder of their unlawful acts against the Museum, which bears the name of our great compatriot, who showed to the world the way out of the endless string of wars and armed conflicts – the way of Peace through Culture.

Thus the seizure of the Roerichs heritage by way of raid was accomplished, and let us remind that it started with the letter of the Minister of Culture, Mr. Vladimir Medinskiy to the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin in 2013 (in the letter the minister deceived the President as regards the true will of Svetoslav Roerich concerning the heritage that he donated to Russia); thus was also completed the seizure of the Lopukhins estate, which started in 2015 when the estate was transferred to the SMOA operative management. The Roerich heritage, which was transferred to Russia by Svetoslav Roerich, a citizen of India, for the purpose of creating in Moscow in the Lopukhins estate the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich, is now illegally seized by the SMOA, which according to the will of the owner of the heritage had no right whatsoever to it. The guarantee, which the state gave to Svetoslav Roerich about the safe development of the non-governmental Museum in the Lopukhins estate, was violated. All these attest to a forced termination of the functioning of the International non-governmental organization the International Centre of the Roerichs and its non-governmental Museum, established by Svetoslav Roerich, without fair trial and without the right of defence. The further activity of the ICR to promote Nicholas Roerich’s peacemaking ideas that have won the acknowledgement of the leadership of the country and of the UN and UNESCO are under threat.

Thus the Russian Federation, represented by the Minister of Culture and with the support of the law enforcement agencies, in grave violation of Russian and international law, de facto liquidated the non-governmental Museum denying us the right to defence. In an attempt to excuse the elimination of the NGO, the management of the Ministry of Culture, of the State Museum of Oriental Arts and of the investigative body of the Russian Federation claim, that thereby they are protecting the Roerich heritage against a possible injury caused to it by the International Centre of the Roerichs. With full responsibility the ICR declares that suchlike statements are untrue and have no foundation whatsoever. We assume that they pursue but one goal – to excuse the Russian civil servants’ long-term crimes against the Roerich heritage, which was transferred to Russia by Svetoslav Roerich, as well as against the non-governmental organization created for its safekeeping and promotion on the initiative of Svetoslav Roerich, a great figure in the world culture and citizen of India.

The Roerichs gave the world the Roerich Pact, which laid the foundation of the modern legal system for the protection of the world cultural heritage and the functioning of UNESCO. The ICR appeals to the Russian and international public, to the UN, UNESCO and everyone, who is not indifferent to the destiny of the great cultural heritage of the Roerichs, to establish an international public commission in order to investigate this crime, to revive the violated guarantees of the state to Svetoslav Roerich as well as to restore the rights of the International Centre of the Roerichs to the heritage, donated to it by Svetoslav Roerich.