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Note of Protestation
The Moscow Film Museum
Evicted From Kino-Zentr

As we have just heard from the Moscow Film Museum and its director, Mr. Naum Kleiman, the Film Museum has been ordered by Mr. Nikita Michalkov, president of the Association of Filmmakers of the Russian Federation, to vacate its rooms immediately. The Museum has to leave the premises it used up to now at the Kino-Zentr in Moscow.

This order to quit the premises must be seen in the context of the sale of the building by its former owner, the Association of Filmmakers of the Russian Federation, to a private investor. This investor demands the immediate liberation of the building by its former user, the Film Museum.

The eviction of the Film Museum, in order to realize a property sale, is a dangerous and destructive act which harms the film culture of Russia. It is also in contradiction with the former decision of the Federation of Filmmakers to allow the Film Museum to remain in its premises until the Ministry of Culture has found adequate new rooms for the Museum.

In the past, many declarations of solidarity were issued in favor of the Moscow Film Museum. Recently, the German State Minister for Culture and Media, Christina Weiss, has contacted Michail Schwydkoy, director of the Agency for Culture and Cinema in the Russian Ministry of Culture, to plead the cause of the Moscow Film Museum. All these appeals have apparently been ignored by the Russian authorities.

Mr. Michalkow, who is now evicting the Film Museum, is also the director of the Russian Culture Foundation which should work towards the preservation and safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Russia.

At present, the Film Museum is being offered new premises at the Gorki studios, a location on the outskirts of Moscow, far away from the center, whose buildings are in a miserable state und which is also going to be privatized in the near future. Doubtlessly, eventual new "users" will then have to relocate another time.

Through the forcible eviction the activities of the Film Museum which have radiated far beyond Moscow and Russia will come to a standstill. There will be no more film screenings, retrospectives and exhibitions. The closure of the Film Museum also means the loss of an important pillar in the German-Russian Cultural relations. The invaluable assets of the Film Museum are surrendered to an uncertain future - and all this, because a building, which was formerly public property, must be privatized and has to be sold to a new owner.

We are protesting against these measures which threaten the existence of the Moscow Film Museum and join the protest declaration which has been issued by the Russian Guild of Film Historians and Film Critics.

Berlin, February 18, 2005
Ulrich and Erika Gregor
   Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek
Christoph Terhechte
    International Forum of New Cinema of the Berlinale

Michail Schwydkoy
Naum Kleiman: ,
Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek:

Forwarded and supported by FIPRESCI



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