Roerichs Centre searched and evicted

Roerichs Centre searched and evicted
Eviction of the Nicholas Roerich Museum from the Lopoukhins’ city estate Photo: Kommersant/Aleksandr Gulyaev

According to the employees and management of the Centre, they have been forcibly evicted from the Lopukhins' city estate building.

Last night, law enforcers once again conducted searches in the International Center of the Roerichs (ICR) in Moscow. As lawyer Aleksandr Karabanov, representing the interests of the Centre, told journalists, the police visit is connected with the case of Master Bank, the chairman of which “bought several paintings by Roerich with the money he allegedly stole, and handed them over to the museum.”

After the completion of investigative measures, in Karabanov’s words, “everyone was kicked out of the Lopukhins' city estate building, and representatives of the State Museum of the East changed the locks.” “It was, in fact, an illegal seizure of the building,” the human rights activist stressed.

Representatives of the Roerich Museum believe that the law enforcers had no grounds for such actions, since the term for filing an appeal in the case of transfer of the estate to the State Museum of the East expires only on May 7 (the International Center of the Roerichs is trying to challenge the corresponding decision of the Federal Property Management Agency in court – the CrimeRussia editor's note).

A comment on the eviction of the Roerichs Centre's employees has appeared on the website of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The message of the ministry says that all actions are legal, as the police act in accordance with the decision of Moscow City Court, which had previously upheld the transfer of the Lopukhins' city estate to the State Museum of the East.

Let us recall that over 200 works were seized during the previous search of the Roerich Museum; the paintings are evidence in the swindling case against the ICR's main sponsor, Boris Bulochnik. He is accused of the deliberate bankruptcy of Master Bank, the damage from which exceeded 61 billion rubles.

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