NO TIME TO DELAY!
ADDRESS OF THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL MUSEUM NAMED AFTER NICHOLAS ROERICH TO THE PEOPLE OF RUSSIA AND COMPATRIOTS ABROAD!
The Museum has become an embodiment of the dream of the Roerichs, the greatest representatives of the Russian and world culture. It was founded by the renowned painter and public figure Svetoslav Roerich, the younger son of the great Russian artist Nicholas Roerich. In 1990 he donated to Russia the priceless cultural heritage of his parents for the creation of a museum: hundreds of paintings, a unique archive, family relics and rare art objects. Humanistic, ethical and philosophical ideas conveyed by this heritage were meant to help in the revival of moral values of our nation, its active participation in the task of preservation and development of culture and broad international cultural cooperation, and the upbringing of a new generation on the noble principles of virtue, beauty and peacemaking.
Believing that only involvement of the public can guarantee the safety and preservation of a heritage of such a kind, Svetoslav Roerich set an indispensable condition that the museum in Moscow had to be non-governmental and had to form a part of the non-governmental organization founded by him. This condition was acknowledged by the Russian leadership in the special government resolution № 950, dated 04.11.1989. That is how were born the Non-Governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich and the Soviet Roerichs Foundation, to which Svetoslav Roerich bequeathed the heritage, having become its honorary chairman. In 1991 after the disintegration of the USSR the Soviet Roerich Foundation was transformed into the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR). Subsequently, Svetoslav Roerich confirmed ICR’s right to the heritage.
The life of the Non-Governmental Museum wasn’t simple from the very beginning. Choosing from the buildings offered by the authorities to house the museum, Svetoslav Roerich opted for the old Lopukhins’ Estate dating back to the 17th-19th centuries and located in the center of Moscow. Its critical condition demanded ample financial resources that the state promised to earmark for its renovation. However, the promise was never fulfilled. Thus, a big question mark was looming over the issue of the creation of the museum.
Fighting against all odds the International Centre of the Roerichs found support in the public. The help extended by volunteers, the donations from general public and patrons from Russia, near-abroad and compatriots from far abroad helped ICR to renovate the estate and open the museum named after Nicholas Roerich on October 9, 1997 on the anniversary of this great artist.
In the past several years the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich evolved into the biggest exhibition, research, cultural and educational hub of studying and propagating the artistic and philosophical heritage of our great compatriots. Its cultural activities have been highly appreciated in Russia and abroad. In 2006 by order of the President of the Russian Federation the Director-General of the Museum Mrs. Lyudmila Shaposhnikova was awarded the state Order of Friendship for her outstanding contribution to the development of museum work and cultural heritage preservation, and in 2011 the order “For Merit to the Fatherland” Grade IV for her contribution to the cultural heritage preservation, as well as for many years of educational and public activities.
For the renovation of the Lopukhins’ Estate the staff of the International Centre of the Roerichs was given the National Prize “Cultural Heritage” and the European Union Prize for the selfless work for European heritage preservation.
The international cultural and educational projects of the Non-Governmental Museum, dedicated to the peacemaking ideas of the Roerich Pact for the protection of the world cultural heritage, are implemented with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and such reputed organizations as UNESCO and UN.
The Museum named after Nicholas Roerich in Moscow has become an inalienable part of its civil society and an unique example of the development in Russia of a culture beyond the aegis of the government. The high moral potential of the artistic, research and literary works of the Roerichs has united a wide circle of culture figures, contributing to the development of patriotism, peace and harmony in the society.
And all this has been achieved without any financial support from the state.
For more than 20 years the museum has been financed by one of its co-founders, the greatest art-patron in Russia Boris Bulochnik. Understanding the spiritual potential of culture he heavily invested in its development, helping many cultural bodies of the country. He also supported orphanages and folk handicrafts.
After the closure of his bank in November 2013 the art-patron lost the capacity to financially support the Museum. As a result, the cultural institution of international importance found itself on the brink of destruction.
The public has spoken for the preservation of the Museum and rendering help. The on-line petition to the government has been signed by 108 000 persons. The petition was signed by a considerable number of renowned scholars, culture and public figures. Similar letters of support have been submitted by dozens of Russia’s museums and Roerich organizations. Thousands of visitors to the Museum leave their signatures in support of the Museum. The public is trying to save and preserve its culture. With the aim to extend material support to the Museum the Mayor of Moscow Mr. Sergei S. Sobyanin has allowed the Museum to use the two buildings of the Lopukhins’ Estate free of charge.
Simultaneously, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, which is supposed to support culture, acts as its destroyer applying the policy of double standards. On the one hand the Ministry officials say that culture is “the unifying foundation of Russian society.” On the other hand they virtually wage a war against the International Centre of the Roerichs in order to requisition the Roerichs’ legacy it keeps and destroy the non-governmental Museum. All this is going on the eve of Nicholas Roerich’s 140th anniversary and in the year declared the Year of Culture in Russia.
The loss of the Museum will translate into a truly national tragedy for Russian culture. It will entail the destruction of its non-governmental sector and deprive Russia of the significant evolutionary-cultural potential of the Roerichs’ legacy.
Our renowned compatriots enthusiastically believed in the great future of the Russian people and, therefore, donated the fruits of many years of their labour to Russia. The time has come to protect these precious gifts for the sake of future generations!
We are addressing the appeal to preserve the Non-Governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich and its unique heritage to art-patrons and philanthropists, and all patriotic forces of our Motherland with.
We have faith in the Russian people’s ability to protect their culture!
The staff of
Non-Governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich