STATEMENT OF SVETOSLAV ROERICH INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF ROERICH ORGANIZATIONS ON THE ILLEGAL PUBLICATION OF HELENA ROERICH’S DIARIES ON THE WEBSITE OF THE STATE MUSEUM OF ORIENTAL ART
In May this year, a series of Helena Roerich’s diary entries of different years was posted on the official website of the State Museum of Oriental Art. These materials, transferred by Svetoslav Roerich as a part of the Roerich family heritage, were known to be preserved carefully in the archives of the International Center of the Roerichs (the ICR) for more than a quarter of a century.
Professional staff members of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum of the ICR with strong backgrounds in archival work at government documentation centers prepared the funds and materials for publication up to the demands of present-day science in accordance with the approved plan and Svetoslav Roerich’s instructions.
The researchers of the ICR have done a great deal to systematize and describe the archive. They planned to further the archives processing, as well as their publishing within the necessary period. As the documents of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum attested, its Director-General Lyudmila Shaposhnikova took all the necessary steps the archive fund of the ICR to be registered with the Federal Archival Agency of the Russian Federation. But the Agency rejected this initiative of the ICR and the fund was never included in the archive fund of the Russian Federation, since the existing legislation did not provide for registry records of non-governmental organizations archives. The Roerichs’ family archival fund, that was kept at the Museum, was registered only in the passport of the Federal Archival Agency of the Russian Federation (Rosarchive) according to form of regulations of State record-keeping of archive funds of the Russian Federation.
The amount of the ICR printed publications was constantly increasing. It provided a unique opportunity for those interested in the Roerichs’ heritage to carry out their in-depth studies. The publications of the ICR represented the whole collections of Nicholas, Helena, George and Svetoslav Roerich works. They served as a basis for developing a large range of scientific activities that began more than 25 years ago and had long-term prospects. Thanks to the publishing activity of the ICR a faithful scholar has enjoyed such a vast field for the Roerichs’ heritage research that it would be outspoken profanity to speak about a «lack of information.»
Nevertheless, it is this kind of phenomenon that we are facing today. We mean the activities of the State Museum of Oriental Art and the State Museum of the Roerichs as its branch, which arose almost a year ago as a result of the forcible seizure of the buildings, property and funds of the ICR, as well as its non-governmental Museum, with the decisive assistance of the Ministry of Culture.
The handwritten archive of Helena Roerich occupied a special place among cultural values, rightly owned by the ICR. The archive included diary entries, personal notes and letters. It is known that the moment of Helena Roerich’s diaries publication has not come yet. In her letters Helena Roerich stressed that the recordings would be available «for review not earlier than a hundred years» after her departure .
Helena Roerich was never a usual philosopher who wrote for the nearest decades. Her powerful creative thought aspired after a distant future, indistinguishable for us, but prophetically known for her. An author is entitled to determine the terms when his or her creation should enter into the world. Helena Roerich also enjoyed this right. Now we are witnessing how her legitimate copyright is being trampled by the invaders.
Among those who is filling the website of the State Museum of Oriental Art with Helena Roerich’s diary entries, are notoriously famous personalities, those of D. Popov and V. Zhigota. The first one acquired a reputation for the thief of Helena Roerich’s intellectual property in the late 1990-es, the second one that of a former employee of the ICR went to work for the State Museum of the Roerichs after the forcible seizure of the non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum. Neither D. Popov nor V. Zhigota have ever been involved in scientific study of Helena Roerich’s heritage. They have no publications in this field. A legitimate question arises, namely, on what grounds the above-mentioned persons and their highly placed protectors from administrations of the State Museum of Oriental Art and that of the State Museum of the Roerichs, have usurped Helena Roerich’s copyright and disposed with her heritage arbitrarily. There is neither moral nor legal basis for this. And there cannot be.
The law on copyright of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Part four, Section VII, Chapter 70 “Copyright”) states about the “protection of authorship, the name of the author, and the inviolability of a work after the death of the author.” (Article 1267, Paragraph 1). It also states, “A work not made public during the life of the author, may be made public after his death by a person holding the exclusive right in the work if the making of the work public does not contradict the desire of the author of the work and specifically expressed by him in written form (in a will, in letters, in diaries, and the like).” (Article 1268, Paragraph 3).
Irresponsible behavior of the State Museum of the Roerichs is premised on a shaky stone, that of a total impunity of the State Museum of Oriental Arts for lawlessness, carried out against the ICR and its non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum.
It is worth recalling here the disastrous consequences caused by the violation of the authors’ will. In the early 2000-s V. Rosov, now a staff member of the State Museum of Oriental Art, voluntarily used Helena Roerich’s diary entries. He created a pseudoscientific politicized concept of Nicholas Roerich’s activity and introduced it into scientific discourse.
The inability of Rosov to comprehend Nicholas Roerich’s worldview led to the fact that the works of Nicholas Roerich and those of Helena Roerich were misinterpreted, and their ideas falsified. Science does receive a surrogate intellectual product that of V. Rosov’s thesis, which disoriented readers’ minds.
It is known that work with archives should not begin with PR campaigns in the Internet network. It requires a responsible attitude to the information of the archive, as well as its purpose. By publishing Helena Roerich’s diary entries in violation of its deadlines the State Museum of Oriental Arts has openly demonstrated an attitude of disdain for the heritage of the Roerich family and the extreme incompetence of its employees. The State Museum of Oriental Arts, sinking to the level of the odious foreign site of A. Luft, is gathering around itself “ the hunters of sensations’, who is not burdened with moral responsibility. In her time Helena Roerich wrote bitterly about the diary entries, » It breaks my heart to think that The Highest can be profaned, viciously distorted and ridiculed .”
History showed that the knowledge made public before the moment when people’s consciousness could take and master it, would often cost the life of its bearers, and the hardest historical destiny of their ignorant contemporaries…For the time came and made the martyrs for science and culture Heroes, their persecutors the contempt of the world. The knowledge brought by them entered into the world treasure trove of achievements. It is well known to Humankind of the 21st century.
We do assert with the firm conviction that Helena Roerich’s heritage is just beginning to be mastered by science. Only the first steps are being taken to study it. This requires new approaches, the consideration of the ideas of the Philosophy of Cosmic Reality, as well as the participation of professionals able and ready to work with the heritage. Obviously, the State Museum of the Roerichs has neither the one nor the other. The agitation created by the staff of the State Museum of the Roerichs distracts the attention of unsophisticated readers and covers the unfavorable story of its emergence as a result of the seizure of the International Center of the Roerichs and its non-governmental Nicholas Roerich Museum.
We demand to stop immediately the illegal publication of Helena Roerich’s diaries on the site of the State Museum of Oriental Art and close this project which is violating the will of the author and that of Svetoslav Roerich as the Roerichs’ heritage donator.
Svetoslav Roerich International Council of the Roerich Organizations
- Roerich Helena. Letters in 9 volumes. Vol. 9. — Moscow: The International Center of the Roerichs, 2009. P. 439.
- Roerich Helena. Letters in 9 volumes. Vol. 4. — Moscow: The International Center of the Roerichs, 2002. P. 278.