Музей и общественный центр им. Андрея СахароваГлавная страница сайтаКарта сайтаОб Андрее Сахарове
Общественный центр им.Андрея Сахарова
Музей и общественный центр имени А.Сахарова
Память о бесправии
Воспоминания о ГУЛАГЕ и их авторы
Обратная связь
    >> Главная >> Музей и общественный центр >> Выставки>> Осторожно, религия!>>    
  << Вернуться в список материалов протеста общественности против суда. О выставке "Осторожно, религия!"

Yva Eastcott

Yva Eastcott
151 Eagles Nest Rd
NY 12443

Judge Vladimir Proschenko
the Taganskaya Court

Dear Sir,

I am a journalist living and working in the United States, and for a number of years I taught journalism at the New York State University, the largest school of higher education in our state. I also traveled widely and reported from many countries in the world, publishing my work in virtually all international magazines. In the course of many years, I came across a number of dramatic political and societal changes affecting entire nations, and I am familiar with conflicts and uncertainty resulting from such changes.

I am also aware that on March 2, 2005, after a long trial in Moscow's Taganskaya District Court, the prosecutor Kira Gudim asked for sentences of imprisonment for several people: Yuri Samodurov, the director of the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Center; Ludmila Vasilovskaya, curator of the museum; and artist Anna Mikhalchuk. All of them were charged under Article 282 of the Criminal Code defined as "inciting religious hatred" and offending the feelings of religious believers, in connection with their role in organizing the art exhibition "Caution! Religion" at the Sakharov Center in January 2003. Prosecutor Gudim also asked that Samodurov and Vasilovskaya should be banned from working in their profession, and that the paintings from the exhibition be destroyed.

I appreciate deeply held religious convictions of many people and the fact that some of those who visited the exhibit or heard about it may have been annoyed or even insulted by its content. But art -- all art, for many centuries and in many corners of the globe -- always has a potential to fire strong emotions of all kind, from inspiration to dislike, from admiration to hatred. It all depends on the sensitivity and ethical, eastetical and moral view points held by those who view the art. And the same painting, sculpture, installation, poem, play or a musical composition may elicit many different reactions from many different people. No art pleases everybody; it never will.

So it would be a sad day indeed, if in the post Communist democratic Russia the very freedom of expression which is now constitutionally protected in your country after many years of dark and stubbornly enforced oppression, this kind of punishment became an accepted part of civil life. The importance of this trial lies in the idea that -- if these people are indeed sentenced and the works of art destroyed -- it would be possible again to imprison artists for their works, and curators for displaying them. This is what happened to Sinyavsky and Daniel in the Soviet Union for their works of fiction, in the old, admittedly very terrible times. And the prosecutor's demand to destroy the works shown in the exhibit reminds many people of book burning by Nazis in Hitler's Germany and other atrocities of censure, control and un-democratic processes.

I do not speak as a citizen of the U.S. but a citizen of the free world of which Russia is such an important part. And I appeal to you, Sir, to stand on the side of democratic freedoms and fulfill the letter of the law which protects free expression --including all art -- in your country.

Sincerely yours,
Yva Eastcott

24th March 2005

© Сахаровский центр

Политика конфиденциальности

Региональная общественная организация «Общественная комиссия по сохранению наследия академика Сахарова» (Сахаровский центр) решением Минюста РФ от 25.12.2014 года №1990-р внесена в реестр организаций, выполняющих функцию иностранного агента. Это решение мы обжалуем в суде.