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

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