The International Centre of the Roerichs lodged a complaint with the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation
against the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky and other persons involved
24 April 2018
The International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) filed a complaint against the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, the first deputy minister of Culture Mr. Aristarkhov and other persons involved for the crime of robbery committed by a group of persons with illegal entry into premises, with the threat of use of coercion that is not dangerous to human life or health, on an especially large scale. The complaint was addressed to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Alexander Bastrykin. The crime resulted in an unprecedented seizure of the unique cultural heritage of the Roerichs’ family at the value of several billion rubles, which had been owned by the ICR.
The 27-page document contains detailed circumstances of the crime, which is assumed by the ICR to be the open stealing of its property. It appears from the complaint that in fact almost all the Roerichs’ heritage owned by the ICR, was stolen from it. The Roerichs’ heritage comprised 5910 depositary items including 728 paintings and drawings and 8810 items of the handwritten Roerichs’ archive, which are the national heritage of the Russian Federation, estimated at several billion rubles.
The property mentioned above was seized on the night of April 28th and 29th 2017, when the buildings of the Lopoukhins’ estate were taken over by an unknown armed group without any identification marks headed by the director of the State Museum of Oriental Art (SMOA) Mr. Sedov. After the ICR managed to prevent this night seizure by legal measures, the following night the members of MIA conducted searches in ICR. As soon as the searches of were completed, the museum buildings including thousands of depositary items were transferred for storage to the director of SMOA Mr. Sedov without any inventory, which violated all reasonable procedures. Thus, the seizure of the property was successfully completed. The searches were conducted in connection with the case of Mr. Bulochnik, the former director of Master-Bank, who donated a number of paintings to the ICR. None of the Roerichs’ cultural heritage seized has been given back to the ICR since 29th April.
Before that the ICR had owned the heritage mentioned above for more than 25 years, since Svetoslav Roerich transferred it to the founder if the ICR Lyudmila Shaposhnikova, who was awarded a number of Russian and international awards for her activity, which was also highly estimated by UNESCO. At that time the ICR was possessing this property openly, exhibiting it in the biggest non-governmental museum in Russia, which was created by means of its own funds and donations.
As it is noted in the complaint, the actions of the organized group aimed at seizure of the property of the ICR started when the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Poutine was misled by the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, who unreasonably told him that there were some alleged risks of losing the Roerichs’ heritage owned by the ICR. It is likely that the members of the group used the President’s resolution (“Take the necessary actions in order to ensure the interests of the State”) as a permission for looting the ICR and its Museum as well as seizing its property.
The role of the first Deputy Minister of Culture Mr. Aristarkhov, first of all, consisted in coordination of the process and sending dozens of appeals to different supervisory bodies. In his letters Mr. Aristarkhov groundlessly accused the ICR of numerous violations, including extremism, illegal registration of migrants and alleged intentions to take the Roerichs’ heritage abroad. Moreover, it is necessary to take into consideration the governmental telegram attached to the appeal, where the deputy minister invites the representative of the Federal Bailiffs Service to a meeting chaired by Mr. Aristarkhov. The representatives of MIA and Federal Security Service were invited as well. The purpose of the meeting implied working out a strategy considering the cultural heritage found in the buildings of the Lopoukhins’ estate. This telegram proves that Mr. Aristarkhov is coordinating the activities of law enforcement authorities, thus violating the principles of their work and exceeding authority of the Ministry of Culture.
The complaint also points out an active participation of the advisor to the Minister of Culture Mr. Rybak in the activity of the organized group. During the search at ICR he indicated the items to seize. Besides, the organized group comprised the deputy Director of SMOA Mr. Mkrtychev, now governing the affiliated branch of SMOA, the State Roerich Museum, ensuring all the working process in the estate after its seizure, the attorney of SMOA Mr. Izbachkov, who distinguished himself by beating the attorney of the ICR, which is proved by evidence, and organizing fabrication of proofs in order to present them to the arbitration court.
For more than a year the persons mentioned above have been escaping accountability, despite the fact that they have demonstratively and cynically plundered the biggest non-governmental museum in Russia and deprived the ICR from almost all property, hiding behind the so-called State interests. The ICR believes that such actions are an open stealing of its property and should be treated in such way by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.
Telephones for the media:
The attorney of the ICR Mikhail Repnikov: +7 495-768-59-20
ICR Information Service: +7 -903 -662 -74-58
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