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Unscene

The inspiration of Italian cinema

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Earth & fire

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John Pilger's Great Eyewitness Photographers

Sarah Medway: In the Realm of the Senses

A glimpse of the Hermitage

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Paul Signac: Travels in France

The other story of British abstract art

Breaking the silence

Century City

Digitising the Hermitage

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Picturing the people's game

Picasso as political icon

An art world Schindler

British modernism reclaimed

Brush Power

The modern bronze age

The first museum of modern art

Six women who shook the world

Frances Aviva Blane

Caro's challenge

Ellsworth Kelly at the Tate

Magnum resists the lure of the dollar

Rebel behind the American movement

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Attack on artistic freedom in Russia

The MSF has received the following letter from The Andrei Sakharov Foundation, thanking us for opposing the prosecution of Russian artists and museum curators.

Dear Sir/Madam

We are very grateful for your support in helping us defend against the unfair criminal prosecution against the organizers of the “Attention, religion” exhibition. On Monday, March 28 the judge ruled that the Director of the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Center, Yuri Samodurov, and the Museum's employee Lyudmila Vasilovskaya, should each pay 100 thousand ruble fines (approximately US$3600) each - a sum that for many Russians represents more than a year's income. Artist Anna Mikhalchuk was acquitted.

We are very glad that our friends avoided the imprisonment the prosecutor was seeking. It seems plain that the prosecutor's position was caused by a desire to punish the Sakharov Museum and Center for being an independent human rights organization.

We are convinced that the authorities opted for the relatively soft punishment for the two adjudged “culprits” only due to the support from a broad range of members of the international public. We very much appreciate your personal input in this support, which we believe saved these two people from the threat of prison sentences. Thank you.

We will continue fighting, on appeal, for a full reversal of the guilty verdicts and unfair sentences. We feel we must do this, because finding these two people guilty establishes a dangerous precedent. Our acceptance will allow the authorities to limit such fundamental human rights as freedom of art, freedom of expression and freedom of conscience. Our people have only relatively recently acquired these rights and a return to totalitarian control by the state over individuals is unfortunately still more than possible.

Our defense lawyers tell us - and other leading Russian lawyers confirm - it is difficult to imagine a more senseless and absurd accusation than the one put by the prosecutor's office against the Museum and Center. We are encouraged by their advice that any independent court will definitely acquit the defendants.

With your permission we will keep you posted about the developments in our fight for full reversal of the judgment. All relevant materials will also be posted on the site http://www.sakharov-center.ru.

Sincerely yours,

Elena Bonner
Boris Bolotovskii
Leonid Litinskii
Vladimir Fainberg
Yuri Ryzhov
Sergey Kovalev
Anatoly Shabad

April 04 2005, Moscow

 

 

 

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