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)
Member of pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage EUROPA NOSTRA | Associate member with INTO

Roerichs' familyRoerichs' evolutionary actionsMuseum named after Nicholas RoerichPublishing activity
Scientific enlightment workProtection of the Roerichs' name and heritageICR: general information

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T.P. Sergeeva
Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow,
Department of astrometry Main
Astronomical Observatory of National
Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Kiev)

English translation of Russian original:
Elena Bobrova (Verkh-Uimon, Altai)


Humanity needs a holistic world-view,
in the foundation of which would be a scientific world-view
as well as unscientific (illogical, figurative) perception of it.
Boris Rauschenbach

A number of issues which state the Roerichs' biography version invented by V.Rosov, A.Andreev, O.Shishkin and some other Russian authors in their time, a version that has nothing to do with reality, came out in the English, French and German languages in 2011 and 2012. The examples of such publications are a collection of articles “The Roerichs: Myths and Facts” [1] edited by A.Andreev and D.Savelli, a book by Ernst von Waldenfels “Nikolai Roerich – Kunst, Macht und Okkultismus” [2] edited in German and presented to be the only Nicolas Roerich's full biography in Germany, another collection of articles “The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions” [3] published in English in Germany and edited by B.Menzel, M.Hagemeister and B.G.Rosenthal, and A.Znamenski's book “Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia” [4] published in English in the USA.

All these issues claim for having the scientific and academic approaches. It was stated in their annotations, prefaces and advertising, as well as on their presentations. Most of the authors and editors of these books have a scientific degree, some even a professorial rank and a position. It would seem, we can expect with certainty from these authors a thorough scientific approach to the subject of their research, as well as objectivity and well-grounded conclusions. Nevertheless, things did not appear as they had to be. The sixth volume of “Protection of the Roerichs' Name and Heritage” contains the information about the book “The Roerichs: Myths and Facts”, the articles of which lack the scientific approach completely, and the academic one as well.

E. Waldenfels's book “Nikolai Roerich – Kunst, Macht und Okkultismus” turned out a sort of “a fried pie” hastily pasted together, since the author had no idea about the Central-Asian expedition of Nicholas Roerich before 2004, and his “new point of view on Nicholas Roerich and his family” was evidently formed by D.Entin, A.Andreev, V.Rosov, O.Shishkin and I.Silars, who provided him with the corresponding material [5]. So, it is no wonder he begins his story with a statement that Nicolas Roerich was a man who was distributing incredible gossips and legends about himself. It is no wonder, either, that further he repeats in his own way unfounded versions of his aforementioned inspirers, that are, exactly, gossips and legends created by aforementioned authors.

It is yet more difficult to understand what is what in the book “The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions”. The book published by one of the most recognized publishers of Germany in the series “Research on language and culture in Central and Eastern Europe” which has authority among scientists, academicians and a cultural public, has evidently attracted the attention of those who are interested in Russia and its development. What truth does this book bring to a reader? Firstly, we should note the ambiguity of the book's title. As it is known, the English expression “new age” can be translated as “new century” or “new era”. But this same term is used to speak about a spiritual movement that emerged in Western nations back in the 1970s, which is called a “new religion” [6], or an «occult neopagan movement» which is mainly based on spiritism and theosophy, by orthodox apologetics [7]. In its broadest aspect, it is treated as an aggregate of different mystical tendencies and movements, mostly of occult, esoteric or syncretic character. Such an interpretation of the collocation «new age» is quite consonant to the “occult and esoteric dimensions” of the book title's second part. Although, there is no unambiguous definition for the “new age” concept, still, many agree on the fact that it implies new religions that include, according to many Western researchers, the Living Ethics. In the preface, the editor Birgit Menzel noted certain terminological problems while working on the book, as well as the fact that the term “new age” was rejected by most of the Russian authors and she had to speak of an occult underground [8]. Nevertheless, it does not change the fact of the matter since “occult and esoteric dimensions” of the most of the presented articles are examined in the light of religion. According to the advertisement, the book considers a very wide field “from cosmism to shamanism, from space exploration to Kabbalah, from neo-paganism to science fiction” [9]. But the truth is that, in this book, Russian culture with its particular spiritual attainments as well as its phenomenon of cosmism, which has deep epistemological roots, is crammed into the Procrustean bed of Western concepts and classifications from the position of marginal and materialistic mentality. But this is a topic for another discussion.

In this case, we are concerned about the fact that the activity of an outstanding Russian painter, thinker and public figure Nicolas Roerich is considered in the aspect of religiousness and occultism. He was labelled as a “mystic” [10] by the Western science so far, even though he did not like such a definition and argued that there was nothing “misty” both in his creative and social work: “People from different countries write about my mysticism. They interpret every which way, but as for me, I can not find out, why they do their utmost. Many times I had to say that I usually avoid this doubtful word «mysticism». It definitly reminds me the English word «mist». All misty and vague does not appeal to my nature. I am eager for definiteness and light. If mysticism meant search for the truth and a constant cognition in people's understanding, I would not mind such a comprehension. But it seems to me that, in this case, people do not mean any real cognition at all, but something different, what they can not speak themselves about. While any kind of uncertainty is harmfull” [11]. One can say with certainty that “occult and esoteric dimensions” of the articles from the book under consideration are frequently indeed misty and vague, although in some articles one can find “search for the truth and a constant cognition”, if not in the case of the authors themselves, but in the case of their personages.

Another interesting phenomenon of the book is that many articles, as it is noted in the analytical review [12], touch upon either the names of N.Roerich and A.Barchenko or the activity of them both, at the same time [13]. Let us note the article by a journalist O.Shishkin “The Occultist Aleksandr Barchenko and the Soviet Secret Police (1923–1938)” [14]. It is amazing how such an article written in the style of a low-price novel rather than that of an academic essay, has appeared in the book that claims to be academic. It recounts a story by A.Barchenko that was discribed in detail by several authors, including O.Shishkin in his book “The Battle for the Himalayas. NKVD: Magic and Espionage” [15]. The author in his proper peremptory manner of an ubiquitous paparazzo not only narrates about A.Barchenko's destiny, but also expounds his vision of then Russian rulers' intentions to extend their political influence on the Eastern countries through their spiritual leaders. As usual, O.Shishkin grounds his claims on the quote manipulation. On the first page of his work he cites a fragment from Lenin's article “Better less but better”: “The outcome of the struggle depends, ultimately, on the fact that Russia, India, China and so on make the overwhelming majority of the population. And that very majority of the population is being drawn with extraordinary rapidness into the struggle for liberation in recent years, so in that sense there can be no shadow of a doubt, what the final resolution of the world struggle will be...” [16]. The quotation taken out of the context is used for far-reaching conclusions about Soviet leaders' new exotic “arithmetic of political geography” [17] as well as reorientation of the country's foreign policy towards East. But in fact, Lenin's article is devoted to the improvement of the work of the state apparatus, there are very interesting thoughts about the culture of governance. It is true that in the end of his article he analyses a foreign-policy situation, but in the aspect of domestic policy, which would secure the state's salvation and a sustainable development. It evidently follows from the rest of Lenin's text. Such is the following quotation text: “In this sense the final victory of socialism is entirely and unconditionally ensured. But we are not interested in this inevitability of the final victory of socialism. We are interested in that tactics which would be the best for us, the Russian communist party, for us, the Russian Soviet power, in order to prevent counter-revolutionary countries of the Western Europe to crush us. In order to ensure our existence until the next military clash between the counter-revolutionary and imperialist West and the revolutionary and nationalist East, between the most civilized states of the world and orientally backward countries, which though make the majority, - so, this majority should have time to become civilized. We also lack of civilization for that we could pass straight to socialism, even though we have political preconditions for that. We should adhere to this tactics or admit the following politics for our salvation” [18]. Then the text is followed by some concrete tactical proposals to solve this problem, but not “one of the strategic plans of the late Kremlin leader” at all, as O.Shishkin writes. Thus the conception of a new “arithmetic of political geography” goes to pieces and the subsequent brief statement of the facts (sometimes authentic) from A.Barchenko's life, which are interweaved with author's reasoning (supported by nothing) concerning the Kremlin, do not develop into any system. Although, judging by the title, the author did not pretend to that very much.

A question emerges here — what is so peculiar in the story of A.Barchenko and G.Bokia, so that it is being rehashed in every way by O.Shishkin, A.Andreev [19], A.Znamenski [20] and others, including the authors from the book «The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions”? Is it a lucky chance to interweave Alexander Barchenko and Gleb Boki's quests (perhaps, even sincere ones) for ancient knowledge, for the purpose of perfection of human nature and life, with magic and espionage? Is it in order to reduce a spiritual quest to a social or political plan by turning to account the fact that both of them worked for OGPU? It is noteworthy that O.Shishkin's (and other authors') “magic and espionage” come from records of interrogations of already broken men ready to slander not only the others, but even themselves. Whereas the documents that appeared naturally, without external pressure on a person (letters and diary records) are evidences of a mostly spiritual and scientific character of the quests, and of unsuccessful attempts to unite ancient knowledge with the soviet reality. At the same time the authors place the name of Nicolas Roerich into this orbit trying to attribute a blend of religious projects [21] and spying activity, whether in favour for the British secret service or in favour for the Soviet one (here the authors have sometimes different opinions), to his actions as well. However this subject has already got a competent commentary [22], that is why we shall no more dwell on it.

Let us note another article from the book under study which is dedicated to the history of contemporary Roerich movement development in Russia — “Competing Legacies, Competing Visions of Russia: The Roerich Movement(s) in Post-Soviet Russia” [23] by J.McCannon, Canadian historian. According to the author, his issue “...will trace the explosion of public interest in Roerich that began in the late 1980s and early 1990s, along with the rise of Roerichite groups and circles including the International Center of the Roerich (MTsR) (ICR in our article – T.S.) in Moscow” [24]. The author shares his vision of the process of the Roerich movement forming and refers “...all spiritual outlooks that involve a meaningful degree of admiration for Roerich” [25] to it.

Despite his attempt to cover the subject of research on a global scale, his article makes an impression of a superficial and preconceived attitude to the problem. As one can notice, such an attitude appears also in other McCannon's articles about the Roerichs [26].The author mentions the Roerich Pact and notes that it protects pieces of art during the wartime [27], whereas in fact the effect of the treaty is much more extensive and covers, according to Article 1 of the “International Pact for protection of artistic and scientific institutions, historic monuments, missions and collections” (Roerich Pact), “the historic monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions as well as the personnel of the institutions mentioned above in time of peace as well as in war” [28]. He names Yuli Mikhailovich Vorontsov, the President of International Center of the Roerichs, as Yuri (“Iurii”) [29]. And in general the article is full of inaccuracies and misrepresented facts that is absolutely inadmissible in the case of historical research of a professor working at one of the Canadian universities, PhD in history and an editor of “The Canadian Journal of History”. For example, only in a single paragraph stated below taken from McCannon's article one can count several such inaccuracies and untrue facts. The author writes: “In March 1991, the first All-Union Meeting of Roerich Societies – attended also by foreign representatives, including from the Nicholas Roerich Museum (NRM) in New York – agreed to transform the Center-Museum into the International Center of the Roerichs, which would manage a new Roerich Museum and a charitable fund named after Helena Roerich. The MTsR's first president was Iurii (correctly: “Yuli”. – T.S.) Vorontsov, who used his UN connections to have the Center named an associate organizational member of UNESCO. Shaposhnikova took the post of MTsR director and the Roerich Museum head, and also the presidency of the Helena Roerich Fund. Over the course of the year, the MTsR acquired as it home base the sumptuous Lopukhin Estate on Malyi Znamenskii Lane, only a short distance from the Kremlin Embankment and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. All this transpired against the backdrop of the USSR's final disintegration, and it was only in December 1991, on the very eve of the Soviet Union' final disbandment, that MTsR formally registered itself as a legal entity” [30].

The first discrepancy is that the International Centre of the Roerichs (Soviet Roerich Foundation, before 1991) was initially founded in accordance with the law as a public organization, so it is a juridical entity, which means it has had a “legal status” from the moment of its foundation. Secondly, the first President of the SRF then (the future ICR) was Boris Sergeevich Ugarov, the President of the USSR Academy of Arts. Yuli Mikhailovich Vorontsov became the President of the ICR from the 25th November 1999. The ICR became an Associate Member of the UN (not the UNESCO) in 1992. Thirdly, the SRF was renamed the International Center of the Roerichs in connection with the collapse of the Soviet Union and in accordance with the law of the Russian Federation on Svetoslav Nikolaevich Roerich's initiative, not on the one of the Roerich societies. Fourthly, Lyudmila Vasilievna Shaposhnikova is the First Vice-President of the ICR and the General Director of Nicolas Roerich Museum in Moscow, which constitutes the basis of the ICR. Fifthly, the SRF was founded in October 1989, while the Resolution №950 of the Council of Ministers of the USSR “On the Soviet Roerich Foundation and Nicholas Roerich Center-Museum” was issued on the 4th November, and soon, on the 28th November, at the instance of Svetoslav Roerich the Lopukhins Estate, an architectural monument of the XVII-XIX centuries which was in the critical state of emergency at that time, was assigned to the SRF by a resolution of The Executive Committee of the Moscow City Soviet. So, it was not “within a year from the beginning of its activity”, that the ICR was placed there. On the contrary, the ICR (then yet the SRF) from the first days of its foundation took over the mission of the restoration of this unique architectural ensemble. And the building became “sumptuous” owing to the efforts of L.V.Shaposhnikova, patrons (primarily of B.I.Boulochnik), the ICR co-workers and through the unselfish work of many Roerich followers from different cities of Russia and countries near abroad. Lastly, the Charitable Foundation named after Helena Roerich is itself an independent non-governmental public organization established in June 1998. So the phrase “the first All-Union Meeting of Roerich Societies agreed to transform the Center-Museum into the International Center of the Roerichs, which would manage a new Roerich Museum and a charitable fund named after Helena Roerich”, to put it mildly, is untrue.

Bias, or the primordial attitude, a kind of the Procrustean bed into which McCannon tries to cram his research, – is visible in two points. First, it is the desire to reduce the "spiritual renaissance" of the post-Soviet period to “alternative belief system” – “a variety of mystical, esoteric, and occult practices” [31]. “Of these, – as the author says, – among the most successful, and yet the most controversial, has been the movement – more precisely, the claster of movements – dedicated to the teachings of Nicholai Roerich [Rerikh] (1874-1947), the prominent Silver Age painter who, in emigration, gained fame for his peace activism and his artistic-archaeological expeditions to Asia, and, with his wife Helena [Elena], created the Teosophically-derived doctrine of Agni Yoga, known also as the «system of living ethics»” [32]. The author puts the Roerich movement in the religious plane. This limited view and, apparently, his a very poor knowledge of the actual philosophical system of the Living Ethics leads him to an absurd conclusion which does not correspond to the true state of affairs: “Roerichism is so riddled with inconsistencies and so susceptible to selective, decontextualized readings that, out of it, numerous lines of thought can be spun, few having much to do with each other, and many in direct opposition” [33]. It is not “Roerichism”, as the author calls the Living Ethics, that is “so susceptible to selective, decontextualized readings”, but the individuals who do it to the best of their level of consciousness and education. A serious scientific approach of an open-minded researcher with a broad worldview to this philosophical and ethical teaching will show harmony and sequence of the Living Ethics philosophical system. That is clearly and convincingly shown in the writings of L.V. Shaposhnikova and many other researchers [34].

The author asks the question which clearly demonstrates his limited understanding of spirituality, which is apparently peculiar to the pragmatic and materialistic western world-view: “ much Roerich's popularity rested on non-spiritual factors, such as the interest in his uniquely-stiled art, patriotic admiration for him as a historically significant personality, or a popular perception of him as a Gandi-like symbol of transcendent humanitarianism” [35]. As if the perception of art, patriotism or humanism could be taken away from the spiritual life of a human as “non-spiritual factors”. Apparently, spirituality in D.McCannon's understanding is identical to religiosity, love of art refers to the aesthetic manifestations of reason, and humanism and patriotism are transferred from the sphere of a deep inner spiritual experience to the social plane.

The author tries to include the Roerich movement in religious movements of New Age. However, the hard facts of existence of a great number of Roerich organizations with cultural-view orientation, and their support by cultural public at large, break this concept of him. Then he makes the paradoxical conclusion: “Simply to revere Roerich did not necessarily make one an actual Roerichite” [36], that is contrary to his original definition. Generally speaking McCannon's “historical overview” of the Roerich movement does not fit into the Procrustean bed of his concept of this movement as a part of the “cacophony of spirituality” [37] which, in his opinion, appeared in the West as well as in the post-Soviet Russia. This is not surprising, because it approaches the question from the standpoint of the moribund conservative materialistic thinking. And he, in fact, withdraws from the concept of the “Roerich movement” those organizations and associations that build their activities on the totality of the Roerichs principles – beauty, culture and humanism, – and that are based on philosophical and scientific heritage of the Roerich family. The last ones are those who can rightfully be called the followers of N.Roerich and who deserve to represent the Roerich movement, unlike those who blend Roerich's ideas with “… Zen, yoga, Theosophy, astrology and Vedanta, not to mention indigenous or conventional faiths like shamanism or Christianity (despite the Orthodox Church's constant denunciation of New Age trends)” [38], and whom the author just refers to the representatives of the movement – or rather, the groups of the movements “dedicated to the teachings of Nicholai Roerich”.

This reflects D.McCannon's second pre-established attitude. The article shows that he gathered the information not only from the Internet sources, but also by communicating “live”, that is, directly, with representatives of various “Roerichite communes” in the Altai [39] and even with “formidable researchers like Aleksandr Andreev and Vladimir Rosov” [40]. This explains his harsh criticism of the ICR and the almost complete disregard that portion of the Roerich movement, which is represented by numerous non-governmental cultural and educational organizations and societies cooperating with the ICR. It seems that before the analysis, he already had his own subjective view on the subject of study.

D.McCannon writes about the heterogeneity of the Roerich movement: “A broad establishment indeed was necessary to bring together so many different outlooks, and yet the only body with a chance of succeeding — the International Center of the Roerichs — failed in that task, thanks largely to doctrinal and institutional high-handedness. With unyielding zeal, MTsR director Liudmila Shaposhnikova insisted on the Center's exclusive right to codify and publish the Roerichs' writings; by compiling fresh editions of Nicholas's and Helena's essays, letters and diaries — the “Great” and “Small” Roerich Libraries (Bol'shaia Rerihovskaia biblioteka and Malaia Rerihovskaia biblioteka) — the MTsR sought to control the production of a new canon that would have the authority of scripture. Most of all, Shaposhnikova clamed that the line of Agni Yogist authority descended directly to her from the Roerichs and their Masters, Morya and Koot Hoomi. Those who refused to accept this “truth”, she maintained, were not legitimate Roerichites” [41]. We wonder, from what turbid source the author of these words has gathered this information. Or is it his own imagination? L.V.Shaposhnikova has never talked of her (or anyone's else) right to the Living Ethics, the more that it was transmitted to her by its Authors and the Roerichs' Teachers, neither of the exclusive right of the ICR to publish the Roerichs' works. The only thing which Lyudmila Vasilievna strongly objected to was the untimely publication of Helena Roerich’s diary against her will. The International Roerich Center under the direction of L.V. Shaposhnikova publishes many fine books and albums, as well as the magazine “Culture and Time”. All editions are distinguished by high scientific, aesthetic and print level. Creative departments of the ICR carry out the Roerichs heritage study in cooperation with scientists from many cities of Russia and other countries. The ICR organizes scientific seminars and annual conferences that deal with various aspects of artistic, scientific and philosophical legacy of the Roerichs. At the same time, the works of the Roerichs and the books of the Living Ethics are being published by many other publishers, so research of their creative works is quite various. But to have one's own opinion about the quality of certain researches is everyone's right. So it is unclear where the author sees “control” over “the production of a new canon that would have the authority of scripture” or what he has in mind when he speaks of this “canon”. This absurdity can only be compared with D.McCannon's assertion that “Shaposhnikova purported to be in psychic communication with the Roerichs' spirits, making her the earthly executor of the couple's will: a high priestess in all but name” [42]. Such opuses, which are in their essence a slander or libel, do not only speak well of the author who has a PhD in history sciences, but completely discredit him as a scientist.

The General Director of the Nicholas Roerich Museum and the First Vice President of the ICR L.V. Shaposhnikova is not a “canny and well-connected operator” [43], but a great organizer, a talented scientist, a philosopher and a writer, a courageous and steadfast person to whose lot much poison and many arrows have fallen. To construct such a wonderful Museum, to organize its continuous work and a constant development, to establish publishing activity and creative departments work, and to do it all up to date, – all that requires not a “well-connected operator”, but a person utterly devoted to the cause of Beauty and Culture, someone who is able to create images of the future creations by power of thought and implement them in life, in books and in the stone. This is attested by artistic and philosophical works of Lyudmila Vasilievna as well as the magnificent mansion reconstructed under her direction due to the collective work of the ICR staff and volunteers, which houses a Museum and which is now a jewel among the ancient architectural landmarks in Moscow.

Let us leave on the conscience of the author all other judgments, absolutely unfair and lacking in evidence of life, about the Roerichs, the Roerich movement, the ICR and its leader. Bias, lack of thinking, which is not able to see the truth beyond one's own ideas, and unacceptable in scientific research negligence - all that bring McCannon's article down to a tabloid essay.

However, the truth of life is so powerful that the author could not deny obvious things and sums up that, despite all the attacks on the Roerichs and a whole series of studies, some of which were written by “formidable researchers like Aleksandr Andreev and Vladimir Rosov” [44], N.Roerich's prestige has increased. “All signs indicate that, for the foreseeable future, Roerichs' fame will continue to flourish in Russia” [45] - he wrote in the last section “Concluding Remarks”. A real attitude to the Roerichs' creative legacy in wide circles of the cultural community has shown that “by no means does renown in a generalized sense translate automatically into religious appeal” [46] so to predict the future of the Roerich movement was not easy for the author. This is not surprising, because he sees it in a biased and limited manner. And finally, after all the harsh and unjust words about the ICR, D.McCannon was forced to admit: “Over the course of almost two decades, the MTsR has turned itself into Russia's, if not the world's, single most powerful Roerichite institution...” [47].

But let us go back to the book “The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions” as a whole, which, unfortunately, has interested one of the Russian scientists. On the 20th February, 2013 in the appendix to “the Nezavisimaya Gazeta” a book review by Yu.L.Khaltourin “Notes from the occult underground" was published. The author of this laudatory article argues that this book is of an undoubted interest for “anyone who is interested not only in the history of esotericism in Russia, but also in the history of the Russian culture in general” [48]. The assessment of this review was given in a letter by A.V.Postnikov, the President of the ICR, to the editor-in-chief and the General Director of “the Nezavisimaya Gazeta” Konstantin Remchukov [49]. The letter was attached by a reply review by the ICR's scientists “Is there an «occult underground» in Russia?” [50].

I would also like to note the following. If the collection of articles “The Roerichs: Myths and Facts” is full of false interpretations of the Roerichs' life and a creative work in the context of the political and mystical-religious understanding, the book “The New Age of Russia...” shaped to a greater extent a touchdown and distorted view of the complex processes, which are a part of the universal cosmic evolution, that compose, as well, the history and culture of Russia and lay the foundation for its further development. Reducing all events to the field of magic, political intrigue and espionage, authors of many articles, or their characters, are seeking, as A.Znamenski formulated in an interview about his book “Red Shambhala...” [51], for “Tibetan techniques of manipulating the human mind” [52]. Thus a negative attitude to the spiritual achievements of the peoples of the East is being formed, as well as to the process of the formation of a new world-view based on the ancient wisdom preserved in the culture of these peoples. In particular, Buddhism is being exposed to a gross distortion. Is it because of the fact that Buddhist monasteries have preserved not only the legends about the Great Souls, Mahatmas and bodhisattvas, conductors of cosmic evolution on the planet Earth, but also a huge number of artifacts, ancient books and sacred objects testifying to the existence and activities of these Great Souls.

Once again, we see an approach blinkered by a vulgar materialism. In particular, M.Osterrieder in his article “From Synarchy to Shambhala: The Role of Political Occultism and Social Messianism in the Activities of Nicholas Roerich” [53] applies a pejorative aspect of terms such as “Lamaism” or “Lamaist view” [54] and thus demonstrates a limited, not having a “true impression of reality” idea of ​​Lamaism, its multifaceted history and modern state. Another example of a primitive and absurd statement smelling of naphthalene of a narrowly anti-religious social thinking is A.Znamenski's utterance about the Kalachakra initiation rite: “This rite was based largely on sexuality and llama's goal in it was to achieve the enlightenment using a sexual energy of women” [55]. The more ridiculous it sounds from the mouth of one of the professors from the USA, the country famous for such outstanding researchers of the Kalachakra Teaching as John Newman, Vesna Wallace and Robert Thurman [56].

Authors' consideration of the declared themes from the positions of a narrowly materialist approach is present in all the books and collections. Authors in all cases reduce the topics of their articles to a political or religious aspect, interpreting religiosity as a social phenomenon, not spiritual, even when speaking of the spiritual movements of the East, in which the social component is negligible compared with the spiritual aspirations of these peoples to the highest ideals. In an attempt to connect the unconnected, politics and spirituality, they invented concepts such as “political occultism” [57] or “spiritual geopolitics” [58].

The reviewed publications strikingly resonate with the writings of V.Rosov and A.Andreev. The same methodological handwriting of the authors, an abundance of the cited sources, including archival ones, by which they hide as behind a folding screen. Note that most of the sources are not available to a wide range of readers and it is not possible to check the accuracy of the references. What is especially striking in the source approach of the majority of the authors, is their uncritical attitude to the used documents. Free speech of characters of their research in the diaries and letters are made equivalent to the testimonies about them made by the third persons, and also to the information obtained from the interview and denunciations of uneducated agents. Oral conversations, interviews or the retelling of the material presented by the third parties are sometimes given as evidence [59]. Often something is declared without any justification or confirmation.

Yet another interesting point is the cross-quoting each other, and in cases where the cited authors did not confirm their assertions by any sources, the unverified information spreads and passes from one author to another. One gets the impression that this is a work of a coordinated team, united by a common goal, a common methodology and the same ideological position. Some statements of a number of authors suggest on their close long-term cooperation. For example, in the book “Time of Shambhala” A.Andreev thanks “a Moscow journalist and a researcher Oleg Shishkin, who pointed ... a number of interesting documents about Barchenko in the State Archives of the Russian Federation in Moscow and who provided A.V.Barchenko's lecture «Tarot» found there by himself for the publication, ... V.A.Rosov for information on the Central Asian expedition of Nicholas Roerich” [60]. Ernst von Waldenfels writes in the “Acknowledgements”: “Ohne Daniel Entin und Aida Tulskaya vom Roerich Museum in New York hдtte ich das Buch vielleicht auch nicht geschrieben; sie konnten mir etwas von ihrer eigenen Faszination vermitteln und mir zu einer neuen Sichtweise auf Nikolai Roerich und seine Familie verhelfen. Auch stammen beinahe alle Fotos im vorliegenden Buch aus dem Roerich Museum in New York. <...> Sehr viel zu verdanken habe ich Alexandre Andreev in St. Petersburg, mit dem ich unzдhlige Diskussionen gefьhrt und der mir uneigennьtzig viel Material zur Verfьgung gestellt hat; Oleg Schischkin, der mir sehr interessante Dokumente aus russischen Archiven gab, und natьrlich Alexandre Kolpakidi, der mich mit den beiden erst bekannt gemacht und mir auch sonst bei meinem Recherchen in Moskau sehr geholfen hat. Nicht zu vergessen schlieЯlich auch Wladimir Rosow, der Entdecker des “groЯen Plans”, der sich die Zeit nahm, mir all die Schwierigkeiten zu schildern, die ihm seine Leidenschaft eingebracht hat, sowie Iva Silars, der seine Forschungsergebnisse zur Familiengeschichte der Roerichs mit mir teilte...” [61]. This implies that the genre colleagues not only shared their ideas, but also supplied the materials to each other. On the one hand, their “research” work was facilitated, on the other, thus subjective approaches and selective sampling of the material were distributed.

In these publications of the authors, armed with obsolescent sociological thinking, the motives of the Roerichs activity are not only falsely interpreted. The blow aims at the ideological source that nurtured the Roerichs and served as the basis of their life and creativity. Thus they cut down the roots of the new holistic world-view, «in the foundation of which, – as B.V. Rauschenbach, an academician, once said, – is a scientific world-view as well as unscientific (illogical, figurative) perception of it» [62]. Such an outlook is called Сosmic, and the future will be for it. Certainly, many Western scientists do not share the approach shown by the authors of the reviewed publications. But one of the Western problem (and ours, to some extent) science challenges today is that science projects are increasingly being financed by grants. Private persons can as well participate in such financing. But inasmuch as moral credo and the professional dignity do not allow serious scientists to participate in such projects, even if well paid, their voices are not heard. But we can see and hear very well those who are willing to take any work that is funded. This is the way of birth of the so-called “academic publications” with a solid list of famous "researchers" whose work (at least, some of them) would be perceived by an honest scientist not otherwise than waste products of science.

Time will pass on and the obsolete sociological world-view will give way to a new, cosmic one, and no paroxysms of the past will stop the course of history. So I would like to conclude this review with a poem by F.I.Tyutchev appealing to those researchers who are trying to analyze the phenomenon of the Russian culture and spirituality from the standpoint of orthodox materialism:

You will not grasp her with your mind
Or cover with a common label,
For Russia is one of a kind –
Believe in her, if you are able... [63]


1. Рерихи: Мифы и факты: сб. ст. / Под ред. А.И.Андреева, Д.Савелли. Спб.: Нестор-История, 2011.

2. Waldenfels E., von. Nikolai Roerich – Kunst, Macht und Okkultismus. Berlin: Osburg, 2011.

3. The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions / Ed. by B.Menzel, M.Hagemeister, B.G.Rosenthal. Mьnchen–Berlin: Verlag Otto Sagner, 2012.

4. Znamenski A. Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia. Quest Books, 2011.

5. See: Waldenfels E., von. Nikolai Roerich – Kunst, Macht und Okkultismus. P. 527.

6. Силенко В. Движение «Нью Эйдж»: религия Нового мирового порядка. URL:

7. Стеффон Дж. «Нью Эйдж» и новоязыческие движения. URL:

8. See: B.Menzel: «The terms Occult and New Age have been rejected by most Russian members of, what I will call here the occult underground» (The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions. P. 18); «Terms defined in Western scholarship need modification, or further explanation when applied to Russian material» (Ibid. P. 19).

9. See: com.

10. See, for example, URL:, and


11. Рерих Н.К. Мистицизм // Рерих Н.К. Листы дневника. [В 3 т.] Т. 3. М.: МЦР; Мастер-Банк, 1996. С. 604–605.

12. See: Wellbeloved S., reviews: THE NEW AGE OF RUSSIA. URL: the-new-age-of-russia/.

13. See, in particular, articles by O.Shishkin, M.Osterrieder, D.McCannon, B.Rosenthal, J.Kripal.

14. Shishkin O. The Occultist Aleksandr Barchenko and the Soviet Secret Police (1923–1938) // The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions, 2012. P. 81–100.

15. Шишкин О. Битва за Гималаи. НКВД: магия и шпионаж. М.: Олма-Пресс, 1999.

16. Cit.: Shishkin O. The Occultist Aleksandr Barchenko and the Soviet Secret Police (1923–1938) // The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions. P. 81–82.

17. Ibid. P. 82.

18. Ленин В.И. Полное собрание сочинений, изд. 5-е. М.: Политиздат, 1970. Т. 45. С. 404.

19. Андреев А.А. Время Шамбалы. СПб.: ИД «Нева»; М.: Олма-Пресс Образование, 2002.

20. Znamenski A. Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia.

21. A.Znamenski, rehashing O.Shishkin, V.Rosov and others, says: “He had an idea to organize a theocratic Buddhist state in the heart of Asia, where all the Buddhists would be united.” See: Тарасова О. Красная Шамбала: о чем молчит Далай-лама. Интервью с Андреем Знаменским по поводу презентации его книги «Красная Шамбала: магия, пророчества и геополитика в сердце Азии».

URL: http:// , and RussianHouston/articles/7197/1.

22. See: Шальнев А. Николай Рерих не был агентом ОГПУ. Свидетельствуют документы из секретных архивов разведки // Известия. 02.10.1993; Шапошникова Л. Николай Рерих – мыслитель или шпион? // Вечерняя Москва. 18.11.1994; Стеценко А.В. «Клевещите, клевещите, что-нибудь да останется» // Защитим имя и наследие Рерихов. Документы. Публикации в прессе. Очерки. Т. 1. М.: МЦР; Мастер-Банк, 2001. С. 531–560; Стеценко А.В.

Центрально-Азиатская экспедиция Николая Рериха. Факты и домыслы // Материалы Международной научно-общественной конференции «В защиту имени и наследия Рерихов». 2001. М.: МЦР; Мастер-Банк, 2002. С. 147–166.

23. McCannon J. Competing Legacies, Competing Visions of Russia: The Roerich Movement(s) in Post-Soviet Russia // The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions. Р. 348–369.

24. Ibid. P. 349.

25. Ibid. P. 348.

26. See, for example: McCannon J. By the shores of white waters. Sibirica, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2002. P. 166–189; Маккеннон Д. Невозвратившийся «блудный сын»: живопись Николая Рериха периода Второй мировой войны // Рерихи: Мифы и факты: сб. ст. / Под ред. А.И.Андреева, Д.Савелли. СПб.: Нестор-История, 2011. С. 211–234.

27. McCannon J. Competing Legacies, Competing Visions of Russia: The Roerich Movement(s) in Post-Soviet Russia // The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions. P. 349–350.

28. See: Договор об охране художественных и научных учреждений и исторических памятников (Пакт Рериха) // Знамя Мира. М.: МЦР; Мастер-Банк, 2005. С. 514–515.

29. McCannon J. Competing Legacies, Competing Visions of Russia: The Roerich Movement(s) in Post-Soviet Russia // The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions. Р. 351–352.

30. Ibid. P. 353.

31. Ibid. P. 348.

32. Ibid.

33. Ibid. P. 355.

34. See: Шапошникова Л.В. Роль Учения Живой Этики в становлении научного мышления // Мир Огненный. 1996. No 2 (10). С. 28–40; Шапошникова Л.В. Космическое мышление и новая система познания // Космическое мировоззрение – новое мышление XXI века: Материалы междунар. науч.-обществ. конф. 2003. В 3 т. Т. 1. М.: МЦР, 2004. С. 52–81; Шапошникова Л.В. Философия космической реальности // РАН. Бюллетень Комиссии по разработке научного наследия академика В.И.Вернадского. М.: Наука, 2005. No 18. С. 82–98; а также сборники: Объединенный Научный Центр проблем космического мышления. М.: МЦР; Мастер-Банк, 2005; Космическое мировоззрение как концепция науки XXI века // Материалы Междунар. науч. конф. 2004 года. Саратов, 2005; Труды Объединенного Научного Центра проблем космического мышления. В 2 т. Т. I. М.: МЦР; Мастер-Банк, 2007; то же. Т. II, 2009; Живая Этика и наука. Вып. 1. М.: МЦР; Мастер-Банк, 2008.

35. McCannon J. Competing Legacies, Competing Visions of Russia: The Roerich Movement(s) in Post-Soviet Russia // The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions. Р. 354.

36. Ibid.

37. Ibid.

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid. P. 353.

40. Ibid. P. 361.

41. Ibid. P. 355.

42. Ibid. P. 356.

43. Ibid.

44. Ibid. P. 361.

45. Ibid. P. 368.

46. Ibid.

47. Ibid. P. 368–369.

48. Халтурин Ю.Л. Записки из оккультного подполья. Советская цивилизация пронизана мистицизмом // Независимая газета. No 3. 2013. Февраль.


49. Письмо президента МЦР А.В.Постникова Главному редактору, генеральному директору «Независимой газеты» Константину Ремчукову.


50. Рецензия ученых Международного Центра Рерихов «Существует ли в России “оккультное подполье”?». URL:

51. Znamenski A. Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia.

52. See: Тарасова О. Красная Шамбала: о чем молчит Далай-лама. Интервью с Андреем Знаменским по поводу презентации его книги «Красная Шамбала: магия, пророчества и геополитика в сердце Азии».

53. Osterrieder M. From Synarchy to Shambhala: The Role of Political Occultism and Social Messianism in the Activities of Nicholas Roerich // The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions. Р. 101–134.

54. Ibid. P. 111.

55. See: Тарасова О. Красная Шамбала: о чем молчит Далай-лама. Интервью с Андреем Знаменским по поводу презентации его книги «Красная Шамбала: магия, пророчества и геополитика в сердце Азии».

56. See, for example: Newman J.R. The Outer Wheel of Time: Vajrayana Buddhist Cosmology in the Kālacakra Tantra. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin. Madison, 1987; Wallace V.A. The Inner Kālacakratantra. A Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual. Oxford University Press, 2001; Thurman R.A.F. Introductory remarks // The Kālacakratantra. The Chapter on the Individual together with the Vimalaprabhā. Translated from Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mongolian by Vesna A.Wallace. New York: American Institute of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, 2004.

57. See: Osterrieder M. From Synarchy to Shambhala: The Role of Political Occultism and Social Messianism in the Activities of Nicholas Roerich // The New Age of Russia: Occult and Esoteric Dimensions.

58. A term by D.McCannon, taken by М.Остерридером. См.: McCannon J. By the Shores of White Waters: The Altai and its Place in the Spiritual Geopolitics of Nicholas Roerich. Sibirica, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2002. P. 166–189.

59. See, for example, the articles in the collection «New Age of Russia ...» by O.Shishkin (footnote 43); D.McCannon (footnotes 11, 38, 40, 50), and the article by A.Andreev

«Diaries of E.Lichtmann: the Roerichs in Kullu (1929–1934)» (footnot 2) from the collection

«Рерихи: Мифы и факты».

60. Андреев А.А. Время Шамбалы. СПб.: ИД «Нева»; М.: Олма-Пресс Образование, 2002. С. 28.

61. Waldenfels E., von. Nikolai Roerich – Kunst, Macht und Okkultismus. P. 527.

62. Cit.: Фахитдинова Я.Ю. Новейшая история рериховского движения в России. Автореферат диссертации. Уфа, 2009. С. 7.

63. Translation by Anatoly Liberman. URL: