A heated battle is going on under the roof of Moscow’s most popular museum, as its director has been accused of large-scale money laundering. The gallery’s staff are standing firmly behind their beleaguered boss.
The scandal was sparked by an anonymous letter sent to the country’s Ministry of Culture.
Allegedly composed by a group of 47 Tretyakov employees, it has been published all over the internet. It accuses the museum’s director, Irina Lebedeva, of breeding corruption, appointing her friends and relatives to important posts, creating a tense working atmosphere and illegally using the museum’s property.
The letter also alleges that Lebedeva has soldmasterpieces from the gallery to foreign collectors.
The group of anonymous “staff members” also call their boss “incompetent” and point out that throughout the years of working in the gallery, Lebedeva has not managed to defend a thesis and obtain a degree in art.
The gallery’s staff say the letter is outrageous and disgusting.
“That anonymous letter is a collection of random facts presented out of context,” the staff say. “It comprises a range of highly biased assessments, as well as a set of factual and even grammar mistakes. This is an indicator of the low culture and meanness of its authors.”
Lebedeva and her staff say that they are not going to investigate who is behind the campaign. The boss herself believes that the reason behind such a campaign might be a conflict of generations. She believes that it was supporters of her predecessor who signed the first letter.
“The staff might have been offended by the fact that I don’t consider my predecessor a teacher,” Lebedeva explained. “Those 70-year-old members of staff, naturally, support the old boss. All changes irritate them. But I believe this signals that we are moving in the right direction.”
The Minister of Culture has supported Lebedeva, saying that the last inspection did not reveal any violations in the running of the gallery.