Inetrnational Centre of the Roerichs

International Non-Governmental Organization | Special consultative status with UN ECOSOC
Associate member with UN DPI | Institutional member of International Council of Museums (ICOM)
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To Konstantin Remchukov

Editor-in-Chief

Director-General of “Nezavisimaya gazeta”

Dear Mr. Remchukov,

On February 20th, 2013 your esteemed newspaper published “Notes from the occult underground”, Y.Halturin’s review on the book “The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions”, published in Germany in 2012, edited by Brigit Menzel, Michael Hagemeister and Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal. In our opinion the review is rather superficial and does not represent the essence of the reviewed edition as the aforementioned book not only fails to create a wholesome image of “esoteric Russia” as claimed by the review’s author, but on the contrary contains many groundless interpretations and marginal concepts of the spiritual path of our country.

This book contains articles that touch upon life and art of Nicholas Roerich, internationally renowned Russian artist, traveller, scientist and public figure, and activities of the International Centre of the Roerichs. Among others there are articles by notorious journalist O.Shishkin “The occultist Alexander Barchenko and Soviet Secret Police (1923-1938)”, “From synarchy to Shambala: the role of political occultism and social messianism in the activities of Nicholas Roerich” by M.Osterrieder and “Competing Legacies, Competing Visions of Russia: The Roerich

Movement(s) in Post-Soviet Russia” by J.McCannon. All these articles contain distorted interpretations and sometimes false statements on life and art of the Roerichs that are bordering on slander.

We strongly disagree with the groundless statement of the review’s author that the article written by Marcus Osterrieder proves the connection between Nicholas Roerich and Soviet secret services. This article has many groundless judgements and conclusions regarding the motives of the activities of this outstanding cultural figure; no doсumentary proofs are provided.

We are perplexed by the statement of the review’s author: “... this is the only fully academical research of occult and esoteric aspects of Russian culture of the XX century. It’s worth mentioning the the academism of this publication sometimes runs counter to political correctness and is provocative which makes this book more animated and interesting”. It is full of false statements and contradictions. First, this is far from first, moreover not a “pioneering” and single publication on “occult and esoteric aspects of Russian culture of the XX century” that claims to be “academic”. Collection “Roerich: myths and facts”, published a year earlier, can serve as an example. Its articles also look at life and art of great figures of Russian culture in terms of “occult and esoteric dimensions” which doesn’t correspond to the facts at all. As for the fulness of the problem examined in the book, a serious research should be conducted in order to justify such statement. Facts show it was not done by the author of the article.

Second, we do not understand what sense the author puts in the definition “fully academic research”. Which “academism” is he talking about? If he talks about traditionalism in science and education, than it is definitely a mistake as neither invitation of notorious journalist O.Shishkin as an author, nor the “provocative” nature of the collection’s articles stated by the author meet this definition. If we take the definition of academism as “detachment of science, art, education from life and public practice” then this kind of “academism” can be seen in the reviewed publication.

The book contains false statements on life and art of the Roerichs. Therefore we are asking you to publish our review on this book in the “Nezavisimaya gazeta”.

Attachment: Review “Does the “occult underground” exist in Russia?” in 3 pages. Written by the scientists of the International Centre of the Roerichs.

Sincerely yours,

A.V.Postnikov

President of the International Centre of the Roerichs

Honored Science Worker of the Russian Federation

Academician of the International Academy of the History of Science (Paris)

Doctor of Engineering Science

Professor