March 7, 2017 in Moscow by representatives of law enforcement agencies (About 60 persons) the Mansion of the Lopoukhins was blocked, where the international non-governmental organization, the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) is located, the basis of which is the Non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich, where the heritage of the Roerich family – outstanding representatives of world culture – has been preserved for more than 25 years.
The phones of the leaders of the International Centre of the Roerichs were taken away from them and they were cut off from the outside world.
“Right now the building of the Centre – at 3\5 Maly Znamensky lane [in Moscow] – is being blocked by representatives of law enforcement agency. The armed special mission unit has taken away from us the keys, they are carrying out search and seizure” – said the First Vice-President of the International Centre of the Roerichs Alexander Stetsenko.
According to the deputy director of the Museum Pavel Zhuravikhin “without waiting for the arrival of the leadership and advocates, the doors of the museum were cut down. Some unknown people began to take pictures from the walls and pack them”.
The founder of the Museum is Svetoslav Roerich – the youngest son of an outstanding Russian artist and public figure with a worldwide reputation, Nicholas Roerich.
Roerichs are a renowned family of great Russian artists, scholars, philosophers, public figures. The Roerichs’ heritage was transferred by Svetoslav Roerich (1904-1993) – a citizen of India – to the founded by him in Moscow non-governmental organization “The International Centre of the Roerichs” (ICR).
The ICR on the basis of the transferred to it by Svetoslav Roerich heritage and in accordance with his will established a world-class museum – the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich, it is situated in the very heart of Moscow, in the Mansion of the Lopukhins. The basis of the heritage, preserved for more than 25 years in the non-governmental Museum of the ICR is the largest collection of paintings of the Roerichs and an invaluable archive of world significance.
The material value of the heritage of the ICR is enormous. The paintings of Nicholas Roerich (1984–1947) are estimated in millions of dollars and are among the most expensive lots at the auctions of Russian art of the leading auction houses.
The non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the International Centre of the Roerichs is the largest non-governmental museum in Russia and the biggest centre of the independent culture in the country.
According to the latest information, searches and exportation of paintings from the Museum lasted for 17 hours. More than 200 works of the Roerichs were removed from the museum.
The International Centre of the Roerichs regards the military action against a well-known non-governmental organization as unprecedented pressure, violation of the rights of civil society and manifestation of repressive measures aimed at the early destruction of the non-governmental Museum named after Nicholas Roerich, which contradicts established and generally accepted democratic principles and norms.
In connection with this action, The ICR held a press conference in the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich. The participants of the press conference were provided with the facts, documents and the most complete information on the conduct of the power operation on the territory of the ICR with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the State Museum of Oriental Art and Nicholas Roerich Museum (New York).
The press conference included the speeches of following reporters:
1. Alexander V. Stetsenko – vice-president of the ICR.
2. Natalia N. Cherkashina – acting Director General of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich.
3. Pavel M. Zhuravikhin – first Deputy Director General of the Museum named after Nicholas Roerich.
4. Tatiana A. Ivanova – secretary of the Board of the ICR.
5. Anatoly E. Karpov – the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ICR, chess grandmaster, world chess champion.