Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

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28.10.2015

OPEN LETTER of a special conference of the non-governmental organization The International Centre of the Roerichs (17.10.2015, Moscow)

to the President of the Russian Federation,
to the Government of the Russian Federation,
to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation,
to the Russian and international community

On 7th October 2015, a special conference took place at the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich. Its participants unanimously supported the idea of necessity for preservation of the unique phenomenon of Russian and world culture – the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich, founded by Svetoslav Roerich and established by Lyudmila Shaposhnikova in accordance with Svetoslav Roerich’s ideas.

During 26 years of its existence the international non-governmental organization The International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) has proved the effectiveness and necessity for the activities of public forms of culture in Russia. The ICR has managed not only to preserve the heritage transferred to it by Svetoslav Roerich but also to multiply it as well as to organize a wide museum, cultural and scientific activities based on this heritage all around the world. The International Centre of the Roerichs and its non-governmental Museum is not only the largest cultural and scientific centre for conservation, study and promotion of the Roerichs family heritage but also the leading one. Besides, it has become the focal point of a wide international social movement aimed at preservation of the world cultural heritage and strengthening of Nicholas Roerich’s idea «Peace through Culture».

Unfortunately, during these years the Museum has had to struggle for its survival. The government officials have made numerous attempts – and they continue making attempts – to change its non-governmental status by seizure of the heritage in favor of the government and transformation of the Museum into a governmental institution. This is a convincing evidence of intolerance of some officials for non-governmental forms of culture, without which the spiritual renaissance and further development of Russia is impossible.

Nicholas Roerich wrote: «As time goes by, we need more and more social and private measures aimed at preservation of cultural treasures. The culture cannot be the business of the governments of different countries only. Culture is the expression of the whole nation, or rather, of all people. That is why people’s social cooperation considering culture is necessary for the real prosperity».

Svetoslav Roerich, an Indian citizen, when donating the heritage of his parents – Nicholas and Helena Roerich – to Russia for the purposes of establishment of the non-governmental Museum, counted on an active governmental support including moneyed assistance, as was promised by the country’s leadership. Of these promises, only one was fulfilled by thе Moscow Government: the transfer of the Lopoukhins’ estate to the ICR to house the non-governmental Museum. Moreover, during the last two years after the Museum lost financing from its patron of arts, the management of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation has been attempting to destroy the ICR and its Museum. Endless actions are being brought against the ICR aimed at its eviction from the Lopoukhins’ estate (which is a cultural heritage site dated from XVII-XIX century, renovated without any financial support of the government). Strained criminal cases, investigations on behalf of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office of Public Prosecutor are being organized. With the use of false information about the real situation spread in the media and over the Internet, a negative image of the ICR is imposed on the society. The striving of the International Centre of the Roerichs for accomplishment of the will of Svetoslav Roerich and defending of its very right to exist is interpreted by the Ministry of Culture as the confrontation with the government and propagation of conflicts.

Nevertheless, even in these tough conditions of an economic and informational isolation, the ICR collective with the active social assistance continues to carry out cultural and scientific activity of its non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich. One would think that the Ministry of Culture should help and contribute to the organization whose peacemaking activity has been highly appreciated by the international community as well as by the General Secretary of the UN Ban Ki-moon (who thanked the non-governmental Museum of the ICR and appealed to the governments and nations to preserve our common cultural heritage) and by Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova (who pointed out that the activity of the ICR aimed at promotion of Nicholas Roerich’s ideas is accordant to the mission and the principles of UNESCO). Within 26 years, the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich has been voluntary carrying out cultural work for the benefit of Fatherland. Is it possible that the destructive policy of the present management of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation towards the ICR and its Museum named after Nicholas Roerich corresponds to the national interests of the Russian Federation?

As a cultural value of world significance, the Roerichs’ heritage can become or even is to become the subject of a fruitful cooperation and interaction between the government bodies and the ICR, which should be carried out within the will of Svetoslav Roerich as well as the lawful rights and interests of the ICR – the non-governmental organization established by him. The ICR and the Roerichs’ societies have accumulated a large experience of interaction with the governmental scientific and cultural organizations. Moreover, we are always open to such a collaboration and realization of joint cultural projects. The project of the ICR «The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity», which has been held in 98 cities and 14 countries of the world since 2014, is the evidence of such collaboration.

Destruction of the unique public Centre-Museum named after Nicholas Roerich cannot be allowed! We should remember that, according to the universally accepted international principles, each state is responsible for preservation of cultural heritage within its territory not only in the face of its own nation but also to the nations of the world.

The special conference of the international non-governmental organization ICR appeals to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, to the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation asking to stop the destructive actions of the Ministry of Culture aimed at elimination of the public Museum of the ICR and to take actions in order to accomplish the will of a great artist and philosopher Svetoslav Roerich concerning the heritage transferred by him to Russia for the public Museum named after Nicholas Roerich and to support its activity.

The conference of the International Centre of the Roerichs appeals to all members of the International Roerichs’ Movement, to Russian and international community calling for the support of this open letter, aimed at fulfillment of Svetoslav Roerich’s will and preservation of the non-governmental Museum Named after Nicholas Roerich founded by him and created by Lyudmila Shaposhnikova. 


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