In September 2002 I visited Dnepropetrovsk, in the Ukraine. I had been invited by a group of individuals who several years earlier had begun creating a museum in the house where H.P.Blavatsky was born.

Blavatsky's birthplace There are rival claims on the house, the chief one being from the city council. Before Perestroika theosophy was not studied in the Soviet countries, and the significance of HPB is not generally appreciated. The house itself is owned by the State, and in order that due consideration can be given to the merits of the various claimants, earlier this year the courts ordered the building to be closed. A decision will eventually be made by the Kabinet Minister in Kiev.

Blavatsky's birthplace The individuals I met are not part of a theosophical movement but follow the teachings of Roerich and Blavatsky. They established a school run on Roerich principles, and believe that HPB's birthplace should be available for students, or lanoos, everywhere. They would like to demonstrate to the Government the international significance of Blavatsky and her teachings. If the Government decides that the building can be used for more mundane purposes the opportunity to establish a museum dedicated specifically to the life and work of HPB might be lost for all time.

Update: 2009
Since my visit in 2002 the Theosophical Society appears to have adopted the building. It is in a poor state of repair, and only a small number of rooms have been opened. Rather than the study and learning centre envisaged by the Roerich group, HPB’s old house is simply a venue where mementoes of her life can be displayed.

Sadly and paradoxically, Theosophy, based on unity, is full of divisions. I hope that the people in Ukraine who wish to present the teachings of HPB to the world will overcome their differences and work together renovating the house in which she was born.

Update 2013
Young Helena with her mother 
This year, the TS conference website displays a portrait of Helena as a young girl with her mother.  The artist is unknown, but could be Helena herself.  The website says that the painting is exhibited at the H.P.B. Museum in Dnepropetrovsk.  Perhaps, finally, the Museum is open to the public!