On April 15, 2020, the International panel discussion (Round Table) on the theme of “The Roerich Pact. Peace through Culture”, dedicated to the 85th Anniversary of the Roerich Pact, as well as the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the World War II and the Victory of the Soviet nation in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945 as its inextricable part, was held online via interactive broadcasting.
The Round Table was organized by the International Centre of the Roerichs. The Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, the Russian Peace Foundation, the International Roerichs’ Heritage Protection Committee, the International Council of Roerich Organizations named after Svetoslav Roerich, the European Association for the Support of the International Centre & Museum of the Roerichs (EURASSIM), the Charitable Foundation named after Helena Roerich were its co-organizers.
223 representatives of non-governmental organizations, workers of culture and science from 20 countries (the Russian Federation, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Austria, Finland, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Canada, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Armenia) took part in the Round Table discussion.
Representatives of the international community highlighted the historical wisdom and relevance of the Roerich Pact, the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments, which was developed by the world famous Russian artist, philosopher, traveler and public figure Nicholas Roerich. The Pact was signed on April 15, 1935 in the United States by representatives of twenty-one states. Together with the Pact Nicholas Roerich proposed a distinctive sign to identify the objects that are in need of protection both in peacetime and in the event of armed conflict, that of the Banner of Peace. The ideas of the Roerich Pact and the Banner of Peace are based on his deep understanding of the leading role of culture in the evolution of mankind.
The participants of the Round Table noted with a heavy heart that every year a lot of cultural objects disappear off the face of the earth as a result of armed conflicts and terrorist acts. In addition, the illegal export of values of important cultural significance is rapidly growing in the world. Such regrettable phenomena have become global in the 21st century. Suffice it to recall the numerous loss of cultural monuments as a result of tragic events in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, Israel, Palestine and other countries.
According to the representatives of the international cultural and scientific community, the International Centre of the Roerichs (Moscow), a non-governmental organization founded by Svetoslav Roerich, as well as Roerich organizations of Russia, Europe, Asia, and America contributed meaningfully to promoting the evolutionary ideas of the Roerich Pact. Cultural and peacekeeping initiatives of the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) are widely supported by many countries of the world.
Despite its international authority, broad peacekeeping, cultural and educational activities, the Nicholas Roerich non-governmental Museum of the International Centre of the Roerichs was destroyed in 2017 by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, and the Roerichs’ heritage legally belonging to the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) was seized without any court order. The fact that the state officials seized the Roerichs’ heritage from the ICR without drafting primary accounting documents is particularly alarming for this creates the preconditions for the loss of the heritage.
The international community considers the arbitrariness of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in respect of the Roerichs’ heritage, the International Centre of the Roerichs and its non-governmental Museum contrary to the principles of development of civil society, the goals and objectives of the State, enshrined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation and the “Fundamental Principles of the Legislation of the Russian Federation on Culture” as well as the fundamental norms of the international legislation in the area of cultural heritage protection.
Recognizing the enduring importance of the Roerich Pact and the Banner of Peace in culture protection, the participants of the Round Table called on the international and Russian public to support the proposals aimed at world cultural heritage safeguarding.
The proposals include integrating into educational institutions curricula thematic sections devoted to the Roerich Pact and world cultural heritage protection, the use of principles and regulations of the Roerich Pact for the promotion and development of international law, as well as the implementation of Nicholas Roerich’s idea to celebrate World Culture Day.
The participants of the Round Table called to support the architectural monument associated with the name of Nicholas Roerich, that of St Anastasia’s Chapel in Pskov, as well as the initiative to create an archaeological park in St. Petersburg on the Okhta Cape.
The international community of 20 countries called on the Government of the Russian Federation to restore in full the activities of Nicholas Roerich non-governmental museum of the International Centre of the Roerichs in the Lopukhins’ estate (Moscow), to return the violated rights and illegally seized heritage of the Roerich’ family.
In order to prevent theft and preserve the unique heritage of the Roerichs taken away from the ICR, the Round Table participants suggested that the Government of Russia, together with the International Centre of the Roerichs, the International Roerichs Heritage Protection Committee and the International Council of Roerich Organizations named after Svetoslav Roerich, should establish a state-public commission to check for completeness of the heritage on the basis of accounting documents of the ICR, as well as its storage conditions.
The international community also appealed to support in every way the new International Exhibition Project of the ICR “The Roerich Pact – Peace through Culture” and provide financial assistance to the ICR.
Cultural community of many countries stressed the topicality and timeliness of the Roerich Pact and considered this unique document an efficient tool to protect the world cultural heritage.
Programme to the Round Table participants:
Greetings to the Round Table participants:
On April 15, 2020, the International Round Table “The Roerich Pact – Peace through Culture” was held // Obshchaya Gazeta Newspaper, 04/17/2020