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Russian Museum Under Investigation for Extremism

The Russian Justice Ministry intends to investigate a Moscow museum for suspected extremism, the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported Friday.

The investigation into the Nicholas Roerich Museum follows a request from the Culture Ministry and unscheduled inspections will be conducted in June.

The investigation will look for any signs of “extremism” within the museum, which has occupied the Lopukhin Estate in central Moscow since the 1980s. They will also examine museum finances, Novaya Gazeta reported.

Museum Vice President Alexander Stetsenko compared the investigation to a “raider attack.”

The museum on Maly Znamensky Pereulok has been involved in a number of disputes, including a court case to evict the museum from its premises which has been ongoing since 2008, local news website The Village reported.

Although the museum is not part of the Culture Ministry, it has a public foundation status as part of the wider International Roerich Center.

Neither the Culture Ministry nor the Justice Ministry have released an official statement regarding the investigation.

Born in 1874, Nicholas Roerich was a Russian painter and writer with a keen interest in spirituality and philosophy. Before dying in India in 1947, he earned several nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. In June 2013, one of his paintings sold at a London auction house for £7.8 million ($11.2 million).

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