Do not allow the destruction of the public Museum named after N.K. Roerich!
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The cultural heritage of Nicholas Roerich, the great Russian artist, is of paramount significance and recognized in many countries of the world. It includes over 7000 paintings, dozens of literary, scientific and philosophic works. The peace-making and humanistic ideas of Nicholas Roerich represent an invaluable contribution to the Russian and world treasury of culture. The Russian Academician D. S. Likhachov called Nicholas Roerich “a hero and devotee of culture on a worldwide scale”, and the former minister of culture of Russia A. A. Avdeev considered Roerich as "one of the greatest humanist of the XX century".
The leaders of the Soviet Union realized the great significance for the country of Nicholas Roerich's heritage, therefore they endorsed in 1989 the initiative of his younger son Svetoslav Roerich to transfer without any compensation whatsoever from India to Russia the heritage of his parents with the purpose of establishing a museum named after Nicholas Roerich in Moscow. The two main conditions of Svetoslav Roerich were accepted by the Soviet leaders: the status of the museum must be non-governmental and it is to be housed at the Lopoukhins’ Estate in Moscow.The guarantees given by the Soviet government were duly stated in the respective documents. Svetoslav Roerich then founded the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) with the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich as its main core, and bequeathed to the ICR that part of his parents' heritage which belonged to him.
The International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) met the expectations of its founder. For more than 24 years of work now, with the support of the public and the donations of its Maecenas, without any government financing whatsoever, the ICR restored literally from the ruins the architectural monument "The Lopoukhins’ Estate" and established a world-class museum The ICR has held traveling exhibitions of paintings by Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich in Russia and abroad (visited up to this moment by over 4 million people), it organizes annual international scientific conferences, it carries out extensive publishing activity (more than 200 books published), it issues the "Culture and Time" magazine (praised with the badge of honour “the Press Golden Fund”), it holds lectures, festivals of folk art, exhibitions of contemporary artists-cosmists, etc. The ICR activity is honoured with high international, governmental and public awards and appreciated by renowned and influential international organizations (the UN, UNESCO, the pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage “Europa Nostra” and others).
However it turned out that high achievements cannot ensure the safety and the stable existence of the non-governmental Museum in Russia. At present the Museum is on the verge of extinction:
–The Ministry of Culture of Russia headed by Mr. V. R. Medinsky is aiming at taking away from the ICR the Roerichs heritage, thus destroying the non-governmental Museum;
–For many years now the Moscow City Property Department has been delaying granting the ICR the preferences on the rent of the Lopoukhins' Estate to which it is entitled (the non-governmental Museum is housed in the Lopoukhins' Estate). As a result, the rent arrears now amount at 24 millions of roubles (more than 570 000 euros);
–The Museum Maecenas has no longer the possibility to provide assistance, and the Museum does not have the means to continue its existence.
Therefore we are addressing Mr. Vladimir V. Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, with an appeal to prevent the destruction of the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich and provide assistance to the Museum: we ask the President to preserve its non-governmental status, to grant to it for permanent and free use the Lopoukhins’ Estate and to give it government financial assistance.
We would like to draw the attention of all those who are not indifferent to our appeal and to ask them to disseminate it among their friends and acquaintances. With our joint efforts we shall preserve the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich for the culture of Russia and the whole world!
The petition has been already signed by:
Georgy N. Foursey, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, President of the International League for Protection of Culture, Honored scientist of Russia, Laureate of the State Prize, Doctor of Mathematics, Professor
Oleg L. Kuznetsov, President of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, President of the International University of Nature, Society and Human Being (Dubna), Laureate of the State Prizes of the USSR and Russian Federation Government, Honored Master of RF Sciences, Professor
Yuri H. Temirkanov, Chief Conductor of Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Saint-Petersburg Philharmonic Society named after D.Shostakovich, Chairman of the Union of concert figures of the Russian Federation, Laureate of the USSR State Prizes, Laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation, People’s Artist of the USSR
Eugene P. Chelyshev, Academician of Russian Academy of Sciences, Counsellor of the Russian Academy of Sciences Presidium, Co-chair of the Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences for the Study and Preservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage
Shalva A. Amonashvili, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education, Laureate of the State Prize of Russian Federation Government
Pavel V. Florensky, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Academician of the International Academy of Science and Art, Doctor of Geology and Mineralogy, Professor of the Russian State University of Oil and Gas named after I.M. Gubkin
Alexey V. Yablokov, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Counsellor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Biology, Professor, Chairman of the Green Russia faction
Nikolai N. Mushkambarov, Doctor of Biology, Professor of MGMU of I.M. Sechenov
Alexander M. Gorodnizky, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, Professor, Chief Research Worker of the Institute of Oceanology RAS, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, Member of the Union of Writers of Russia, One of the Founders of the Author's Song
Sergey L. Dorensky, Professor of Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, People's Artist of the RSFSR
Emilia Vasilieva, Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Education, Professor of The St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria)
Alexander D. Nekipelov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chairman of the expert commission on Economics and Management of RSOSH, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Open Joint Stock Company Rosneft Oil Company, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2001-2013)
Harry A. Popov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of Scientific Research Institute of Applied Mechanics and Electrodynamics, Laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation
Alexander G. Chuchalin, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of scientific research institute of Pulmonology (RAMS), Vice-President of National Medical Chamber, Chairman of the Orthodox medical Society, Russian Federation Government Prize-Winner in the Field of Science and Technology (twice), Head therapist of the Russian Federation
Felix P. Mitrofanov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Geological Institute of the Kola Science Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Counsellor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Honored Geologist of Russia, Laureate of the State Prize
Vadim V. Pokrovsky, Head of the Federal Scientific and Methodological Center for Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Academician of RAMS, Doctor of Medicine, Professor, Laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation
Victor V. Moroz, Corresponding Member of RAMS, Laureate of the State Prize of Russian Federation Government, Honored Doctor of Russia, Director of the Research Institute of General Reanimatology of RAMS, Laureate of the First National Award Competition for the best doctors of Russia (The Calling), Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor
Bira Shagdaryn, Academician of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Honored Scientist of Mongolia, Hero of Labour of Mongolia, Laureate of the State Prize of Mongolia, Doctor Honoris Causa of Moscow State Institute for International Relations, Professor, Director of the Roerichs House-Museum in Ulan Bator.
Valentina N. Tugizhekova, Director of Khakassia Research Institute of Language, Literature and History, Doctor of History, Professor
Hristo P. Takhcidy, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor, Pro-Rector of N.I. Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Board Member of Russian Society of Ophthalmologists, Laureate of the Russian Government Award in the field of Science and Technology
Georgy M. Grechko, Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR, twice Hero of the Soviet Union, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Academician of International Academy of Astronautics
Sergey V. Krichevsky, Test Cosmonaut, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor of the Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, Chief Researcher of the the Institute of the History of Natural Science and Technology, named after S.I.Vavilov, RAS
Rafael G. Oganov, Academician of RAMS, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, Member of the European Society of Cardiology, Member of Federation of Cardiology, Laureate of the State Prize, Laureate of the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology
Vyacheslav V. Osiko, Academician of Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of Laser Materials and Technology Research Center, Prokhorov General Physics Institute, RAS; Laureate of Lenin and State Prizes.
Erik M. Galimov, Academician of Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of V.I. Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry (GEOKHI) of Russian Academy of Sciences, Chairman of the RAS Meteorites Committee, Chairman of Scientific Council on geochemistry, Member of Space Council, RAS.
Nikolai S. Kardashev, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Astro Space Center of Physical Institute RAS, twice winner of the USSR State Prize, Companion of the Order «Badge of Honor»
Eugene L. Nasonov, Academician of RAMS, Director of State Institute of Rheumatology of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Chairman of Scientific Council of RAMS and Specialized Dissertation Councils, Chairman of the Scientific Council of Rheumatology of RAMS and MoHSD of the Russian Federation, President of the Rheumatology Association of Russia, Board Member of the Moscow Therapeutic Scientific Society
Alla A. Ryabtseva, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor, Head of the MONICA Ophthalmology Clinic of M.F. Vladimirsky, Honored Doctor of the Russian Federation, Chief Ophthalmologist of Moscow Region
Sergey V. Stadler, Violonist, orchestral conductor, People's Artist of the Russian Federation, Laureate of International Contests, artistic director of "Petersburg Concert"
Vladimir G. Garkusha, People's Artist of Ukraine, Chief Conductor of Dnipropetrovsk State Academic Opera and Ballet
Svetlin Roussev, artist, Academician of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, professor (Sofia, Bulgaria)
Anton Donchev, writer, academician of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, holder of the "Stara Planina" Order of the I Class, holder of the "St. Cyrill and Methodius" Order, and of the Swedesh Order of the Polar Star, I Class (Sofia, Bulgaria)
Museum named after N.K. Roerich http://en.icr.su/
- President of the Russian Federation
OPEN LETTER from representatives of culture, science and public on the protection of the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of the International Centre of the Roerichs
Supporting the Open letter to you by our Russian colleagues we kindly ask you to provide assistance to the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of the International Centre of the Roerichs (Moscow, the Russian Federation). The Museum is an outstanding cultural and educational centre of significance for the culture of the world. The situation at present is such that only your personal involvement could preserve this Museum in Russia: its existence and work are in danger because of the actions of government officials.
It is noteworthy that the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich was founded in 1989 when Dr. Svetoslav Roerich, an Indian citizen and the last representative of the Roerich family, decided to transfer without any compensation whatsoever from India to Russia a significant part of the heritage of his parents: Nicholas Roerich, the great Russian artist, and Helena Roerich, the distinguished philosopher. This heritage was passed on with the specific purpose of establishing the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich in Moscow.
The Roerichs cultural heritage is of great significance and this has been recognized in many countries of the world. It includes over 9 000 pieces of art by Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerichs, dozens of literary, scientific and philosophical works in different fields of science and art. The Roerichs peacemaking and humanistic ideas—about culture as the basis for the development of civilization and humanity, about the pivotal role of culture in moral upbringing, and the necessity to protect and preserve the historical heritage of mankind—are an invaluable contribution to the Russian and world treasury of culture.
The leaders of the Soviet Union at that time realized the exceptional significance for the country of the Roerichs’ heritage, and they accepted the two main conditions of Svetoslav Roerich: the Museum must have an independent non-governmental status and the Lopoukhins’ Estate in Moscow, which was chosen by Dr. Svetoslav Roerich himself, should house the planned Museum. The respective guarantees given by the government were clearly stated in Ordinance No. 950 of November 4th, 1989 of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the decision of the Moscow City Executive Committee No. 2248 of November 28th, 1989.
Svetoslav Roerich authorized Ms. Lyudmila V. Shaposhnikova—a well known indologist, writer and public figure—to direct the non-governmental Museum. He also appointed her as his authorized representative and executor of his will.
Svetoslav Roerich was founder and lifelong Honorary President of the Soviet Roerichs’ Foundation (after the collapse of the USSR renamed as the International Centre of the Roerichs) and he believed the latter would establish the planned Museum. In his last will Dr. Svetoslav Roerich definitely expressed his decision to bequeath to the International Centre of the Roerichs the artistic, manuscript and memorial Roerichs heritage which belonged to him.
It is nearly a quarter of a century since the Museum was founded. The seemingly impossible was achieved. A world-class Museum was established in spite of the total absence of government financing. This turned out to be possible due to the donations of people and the support by Mr. Boris I. Bulochnik, one of the eminent Maecenas of modern Russia. B. Bulochnik is one of the co-founders of the non-governmental Museum, his selfless and disinterested assistance to Russian culture is comparable only to the activities of such outstanding Maecenases as Tretyakov, Mamontov, Bahrushin, Riabushinskyi and Morozov.
The nationwide support enabled the International Centre of the Roerichs to put in place a large-scale cultural activity aimed at the preservation and the popularization of the Roerichs heritage. Its personnel not only succeeded in establishing the non-governmental Museum, and in gathering the biggest collection of Roerichs’ paintings, but it also managed to restore literally from the ruins the Lopoukhins’ Estate, the wonderful 17th century architectural monument wherein the Museum is housed.
The International Centre of the Roerichs carries out intensive and wide-range research and educative work related to the study of the life and oeuvre of the members of this great family: Nicholas and Helena Roerich and their sons George and Svetoslav Roerich. The ICR organizes annual international scientific conferences with the participation of wide range of scientists and public figures; it arranges traveling exhibitions of the Roerichs paintings in Russia and abroad (during these years more than 500 exhibitions were held, about 4 million people visited them); it has published archive materials, thus making the Roerichs heritage available to many people around the world (hitherto more than 200 books were published); it issues the magazine "Culture and Time" (praised with the badge of honor “The Press Golden Fund”); it holds evenings of classical music, exhibitions of modern cosmist-artists, lectures, artistic evenings and festivals of folk art.
Within the framework of the international cultural cooperation with India on the preservation of the Roerichs heritage, the ICR jointly with the International Roerich Memorial Trust (Naggar, India) carries out an important work aimed at the revival of the activity of the Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute, founded by the Roerichs in 1928.
The international cultural and educational exhibition project “The Roerich Pact. History and Modernity” should be specifically mentioned. The project is carried out by the International Centre of the Roerichs and the International Roerichs' Heritage Preservation Committee and it is aimed at popularizing Nicholas Roerich’s peacemaking ideas about the preservation of Peace through Culture. The goal of this project is to consolidate the international community’s efforts aimed at the preservation and the protection of cultural heritage. The project is being supported by UNESCO as well as by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Rossotrudnichestvo. The project contributes considerably to the raising of Russia's international prestige.
The ICR activity in the field of preserving national culture was repeatedly praised with prestigious public and government awards. For the Lopoukhins’ Estate restoration the ICR staff was honored with the National Award “Cultural Heritage”. Ms L. Shaposhnikova—Director General of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich, Honored Art Worker of Russia—was awarded the Order of Friendship (2006) for her great contribution to the museum development and the preservation of the cultural heritage and the Order of IV degree for Services to the Fatherland (2011).
In 2010 the European Union honored Ms L. Shaposhnikova’s dedicated service to the cause of the preservation of cultural heritage in Russia with the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/ Europa Nostra Awards.
However, it turned out that high achievements cannot ensure the safety and the stable existence of the non-governmental Museum named after the great Russian artist, as well as the safeguarding of the Roerichs heritage in Russia.
For over 20 years now a number of government institutions have been taking ongoing attempts to destroy the Museum, take away the Lopoukhins’ Estate, seize the Roerichs heritage and capture the Museum funds.
At present the Ministry of Culture of Russia headed by Mr V. Medinsky tries to challenge the court decision which recognized Dr. S. Roerich’s last will in favor of the International Centre of the Roerichs. Such a stand is in direct violation of the previous decisions of the Ministry on the unconditional implementation of Dr. S. Roerich's will to which the Ministry heeded during the tenure of Minister A. Avdeev. Is this not in itself a breach of the guarantees given by the government to Svetoslav Roerich in relation to the considerate attitude to his heritage? Does this correspond to the task of building the rule-of-law state?
Instead of supporting the civil society initiatives in the field of culture and the continuation and development of the remarkable tradition of the Russian Maecenases, the Ministry of Culture in the name of its concern for the Russian culture tries at present to transfer into government ownership the non-governmental museum thus denying the latter the right of existence.
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, does this correspond to the set by you task of encouraging civil society development in the country?
Another example. For many years now the International Centre of the Roerichs has been restoring, on its own, the century old Lopoukhins’ Estate. There have been invested in the restoration programme hundreds of millions of rubles donated by the Maecenas and by many people. In spite of that the ICR for years now cannot obtain from the Department of the city property of Moscow the additional preferences on the rent of the Estate to which it is entitled, although such a thoughtful and careful attitude to the monument of culture as demonstrated by the ICR rightfully deserves to be encouraged by way of giving the estate to the ICR for permanent and free of charge use. In our opinion, in these difficult times when the resources allocated for culture are extremely scarce, such successful non-governmental forms of culture as the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich should be supported in every possible way so that they could become an intrinsic part of our life.
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! It is with pain and worry that we have to state: the actions of government officials and the loss of the financial support provided by the Maecenas B. Bulochnik put the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich in an extremely difficult situation—on the verge of the discontinuation of its further cultural activity.
Is it really possible–could the Museum established with the love and the work of thousands of citizens be so easily destroyed?
Such a disdainful attitude on behalf of the government to the will of Svetoslav Roerich is an “alarm bell” for many of his compatriots abroad. Who could wish to bring back to his Motherland a valuable heritage if it is to have the same destiny?
Dear President, with your Decree the year 2014 is declared in Russia as the Year of Culture “in order to attract the attention of society to the issues of cultural development, to the preservation of cultural and historical heritage as well as to the role of Russian culture all over the world.” This is a remarkable and significant initiative.
Could indeed the forthcoming Year of Culture in Russia—coinciding with the 140th anniversary of Nicholas Roerich, the 135th anniversary of Helena Roerich and the 110th anniversary of Svetoslav Roerich—be “marked” with the destruction of the established on the initiative of members of this family non-governmental museum?
We believe that the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich belongs to the Russian people and its activity is completely in line with the interests of Russian culture.
In view of these circumstances we turn to you, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich—as the person who is entitled to guarantee the implementation of the Russian Constitution and is elected by the Russian people—and we ask you not to neglect the future destiny of the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich and to ensure the full observance of the will of the last representative of this great family. The most pertinent to that end measures would be: the recognition by the Russian Ministry of Culture of Svetoslav Roerich’s will, the transfer by way of legislative act of the Lopoukhins’ Estate to the ICR for permanent and free (without rental charge) use and the provision to the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich of the International Centre of the Roerichs of financial support that would enable it to carry out its cultural projects aimed at the popularization both in Russia and abroad of the Roerichs heritage and at the strengthening of the status of Russia as a country of great culture.
We do hope that your personal attention and involvement will preserve the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich for the future generations and will enable the International Centre of the Roerichs to continue its fruitful cultural activity in the name of the culture of Russia and the whole world.
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