17 May 2015
Sergei Lukashevsky is director of the Sakharov Centre in Moscow and a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group
The Sakharov Centre has reported that Moscow City Hall has stopped an exhibition going ahead dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the academic Andrei Sakharov, Sergei Lukashevsky, director of the Sakharov Centre and member of the Moscow Helsinki Group says. On 17 May, the photo exhibition Andrei Sakharov: Anxiety and Hope was set to open on Chistoprudny Boulevard in Moscow. The plan was to display quotes from Sakharov’s memoirs and articles along with portraits of the scientist by famous Soviet and Russian photographers on street exhibit stands.
Lukashevsky explained that the Centre had submitted an application to hold the exhibition to Moscow City Hall back in April. According to him, the dates had been reserved in an official letter, from 17 May to 16 June. Moscow City Hall also asked the organisers to run the materials by them, which the organisers say they did.
“But on 30 April, the day before the weekend and a few hours before the end of the working day, we were told, without any reasons given, that the content had not been approved,” said Lukashevsky. “After the weekend, on 11 May, we sent a letter to the Moscow authorities asking them to clarify what the problem was and we were told that the exhibition would not take place since the stands were needed for some other event. I assume that Sakharov’s observations that human rights should be the foundation of any country’s domestic and international policies, that humanity should be united, and that intellectual freedom is necessary, seemed to someone at City Hall to contradict the spirit of the times we are now living in,” he added.
Moscow Town Hall was unable to respond promptly to journalists’ questions. The Central Administrative District prefecture also declined to comment on the situation.
Translated by Verity Hemp