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President of International Roerich Center denied visa to US

April 16, 2015, 17:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Alexander Losyukov was supposed to take part in an opening ceremony of "Roerich's Pact: History and Present-day Reality" exposition at the UN headquarters
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. The US embassy in Moscow has denied entry visa to President of the International Roerich Center Alexander Losyukov. The Roerich Centre president was to take part in an opening ceremony of an exposition "Roerich's Pact: History and Present-day Reality," which opened at the UN headquarters on Wednesday.

Losyukov told TASS that he had brought all the necessary documents needed to get a US visa to the US embassy approximately a month before the scheduled visit, and the embassy invited him to an interview. Losyukov explained to the embassy staff that he needed a US visa for five days only to take part in an opening ceremony of the exposition. Losyukov produced a copy of his return air ticket and an invitation he had received from the UN headquarters, in particular, from Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin.

Contrary to Losyukov’s expectations, an avalanche of absurd questions followed. For instance, he was asked whether he was going to get married in the United States; next, he was asked to mail a list of countries he had visited over the past 15 years to the embassy; the embassy staff asked the number of his previous foreign passport and even the numbers of the previous US visas stamped in the passport and many other absurd questions.

"I head an international organization which advocates the Roerich Pact signed by the American states in the presence of US President Roosevelt in 1935. The former Soviet Union did not sign this document. Nevertheless, the US embassy has denied permission to let me open the exposition, citing obstacles preventing issuance of the visa within a short time. I have been taken aback by the idiotic system. I have never had such incidents in my life," the Russian diplomat said.

The Roerich Pact is an international agreement on protection of cultural heritage signed in the White House in Washington in the presence of US President Franklin Roosevelt. In recent years the exposition had been demonstrated at the UN European office in Geneva, in the Palace of Peace in The Hague, at the UNESCO headquarters.

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