American cultural centre to close in Moscow

American cultural centre to close in Moscow
The State Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow (Image: shakko under a CC licence)

18 September 2015

The American Center at the State Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow is set to close, it was announced on Wednesday.

US ambassador to Russia John Tefft reported the news in a statement published on the embassy’s website.

“The U.S. Embassy in Moscow deeply regrets the Russian government's unilateral decision to close the embassy's American Center at M. Rudomino All-Russia State Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow,” Mr Tefft wrote.

The statement announced the library’s decision to terminate its agreement with the US Embassy and that the centre's director would be replaced, as the library was taking “full control of all of the center's activities”.

Director of the library Vadim Duda also released a statement on Wednesday, in which he expressed that the library administration wanted the American Center to continue its work but that cooperation between the organisations must be “in compliance with the demands of Russian law”. According to Mr Duda’s statement, the library has offered the centre the chance to work out a “new scheme of contract relations”.

The American Center has lamented the library’s decision to replace the American director with a Russian employee and take full control of any activities happening in the space as the shutting down of the American Center “as you know it”.

The American Center in Moscow is a library and cultural centre located in the State Library of Foreign Literature. Opened in 1993, it hosts a range of cultural and educational programs, and in the last year alone held over 400 cultural and educational activities, welcoming over 50,000 Russian visitors.

Source: The Moscow Times