On March 20, 2017, the judge of the Arbitration Court of Moscow Nataliya Chekmareva, having examined the lawsuit of the State Museum of Oriental Art (SMOA), ruled to terminate gratuitous agreements with International Center of Roerichs (ICR) and oblige the ICR to vacate buildings № 4 and № 7 of the Lopukhins’ estate, which the ICR and its non-governmental Museum have occupied since the 90s of the last century and which has been restored by the ICR without state financial support.
On April 12, 2017, the full text of the decision appeared on the website of the Moscow Arbitration Court, although the decision itself states that it was written on April 7, 2017. Thus, in fact, for the respondent (ICR), the period for preparation and filing the appeal was reduced by almost one week from four, provided for this purpose by the law.
In other cases of the Moscow Arbitration Court in relation to the ICR, we can see deliberate delay in making decision. So, the decision on the lawsuit of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts addressing to the ICR on preventing in using the land and dismantling the “wall in the ground” supported by the Ministry of Culture, State Museum of Oriental Art (SMOA), the Federal Agency for State Property Management, the operative part of which was announced on January 27, 2017, has not been made in full. Is it because the judge refused the plaintiff’s satisfaction of his demands for dismantling the wall in the ground erected by the ICR in the framework of recreating the carriage house of the Lopukhins’ estate?!
The ICR has not yet received the text of decision of eviction from the Lopukhins’ estate, but what is displayed on the website of the Arbitration Court is worthy entering into the annals of the most unfair and biased decision of Russian justice. On 14 pages of the text there is practically no ICR position, which Chekmareva simply ignored, limiting herself to a formal phrase: «The objections presented by the respondent in this part do not possess the necessary evidentiary force in confirming the argument presented, and therefore the court rejects them». But the arguments of the plaintiff, in many respects just false, were taken one by one by judge and inserted unto the text of the decision even with the mistakes and misprints made by the plaintiff. It seems that there was used the Word’s text, submitted by the plaintiff. In the text of the Decision of the Moscow Arbitration Court enclosed below, fragments, identical to the corresponding fragments in the SMOA Statement of Claim are highlighted in red and the misprints from the same document are highlighted in lilac. (See attachment 1)
The judge in his decision repeated after the plaintiff the obvious lie about the fact that the premises of the estate are in an “emergency condition”, but this is not confirmed even by the Acts of the Moscow State Heritage Authority and the Federal Property Management Agency, which the SMOA used against the ICR. The court imputes to the fault of the ICR and the fact that, in fulfilling its Charter, it stores in the premises of the estate a part of the published printed matter from the Roerichs’ heritage. It seems that, having no legal grounds for terminating contracts of gratuitous use, the court assembled in the Decision all doubtful, contradictory, and even obviously false claims of the SMOA to the ICR with one purpose – to satisfy the claims. At the same time, the judge attached to the case materials the letter of the first deputy minister of culture, Mr. Aristarkhov, despite the fact that this letter contains only explanations of the law and there is no information about the actual circumstances of the case. Completely apprehending the position stated in the letter of V. Aristarkhov, who has been making efforts to destroy the ICR and its non-governmental museum for a year, and not taking into account the evidence of the cultural activities of the ICR, the court did not recognize the ICR as a cultural organization, that the ICR has no right in this regard to claim special support measures and may be evicted from the Estate of the Lopukhins without providing another premise preliminary.
Assessing the conclusion of the architect – the restorer of the highest category Demidov S., who concluded that “the ensemble of the Lopukhins’ estate at present in its preservation, improvement and exploitation regime should be considered one of the worthy examples of the maintenance of objects of cultural heritage in Moscow”, the court based on a letter from Aristarkhov V., does not accept this document, which is contrary to the position of the Ministry of Culture, as a proper evidence in the case. Moreover, the fact that the court twice wrongfully denied the ICR in the conduct of the forensic examination clearly demonstrates a biased and incomplete examination of the case, which directly violates the defendant’s rights.
We are not going to describe all this in details, and let the reader himself draw a conclusion on the basis of a comparison of the text of the decision of the Moscow Arbitration Court of April 7, 2017 in case No. A40-163033 / 16, the statement of the State Museum of Oriental Art, Aristarkhov’s letters and revocation and the requests of the ICR, attached to the case file.
- The decision of the Arbitration Court of the City of Moscow of April 7, 2017 in case No. A40-163033 / 16.
- The statement of claim of the SMOA.
- The comment of the ICR on the statement of claim for the termination of contracts of gratuitous use.
- Objections to the written explanations of the Plaintiff on the Defendant’s comment.
- Objections to the written position of the Federal Property Management Agency in Moscow on February 27, 1717 – additional explanations in the case.
- The respondent’s additions to the comment and explanations in the case.
- Additional explanations of the ICR in the case.
- Letter of the First Deputy Minister of Culture V. Aristarkhov dated February 21, 2017 No. 2534-01.1-63-VA.
- Letter of the First Deputy Minister of Culture V. Aristarkhov dated February 21, 2017 No. 2584-01.1-63-VA.
- Application of the ICR for the appointment of an expert examination.
- Repeated application of the ICR for the appointment of an expert examination.
- Act of scheduled inspection of the Moscow City Heritage Committee.
- An act of unscheduled inspection of the Moscow City Heritage Committee.
- Objections of the ICR to the Act of unscheduled inspection of the Moscow City Heritage Committee.
- An unscheduled audit of the Federal Property Management Agency.
- Objections of the ICR to the act of verification of the Federal Property Management Agency.
- The ICR booklet “The past, present and future of the Estate of the Lopukhins “.