From March 3, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation suspended the temporary issue and temporary export of museum valuables from Russia to foreign exhibitions. About it informs “Interfax” with reference to the statement of the department.
The Ministry of Culture stressed that “cooperation with friendly countries, in particular the temporary export of art objects to exhibitions, will be resumed from 2023.”
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ministry of Culture has dealt with the issue of returning museum items to Russian territory. The department reported that “monitoring on this issue is carried out daily.”
“About 1,500 exhibits from exhibitions in the Republic of Belarus, Belgium, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Spain, Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands, the Sultanate of Oman, Serbia, France, the Czech Republic, and Japan have been returned to the Russian Federation,” officials said.
Earlier, the Hermitage decided to impose a moratorium on exhibitions in the US and Europe after the return of all of its exhibits from exhibitions abroad. The museum’s website stated that this moratorium would be the first since the 1990s when the Hermitage imposed restrictions on exhibitions in Russia due to security concerns and high financial risks.
In the spring of 2022, the Hermitage took part in eight foreign exhibitions. About 700 exhibits were sent to Europe. On June 21, Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova announced that the last pieces of the Hermitage collection had returned to Russia.
In April, the French authorities did not return two exhibits from the exhibition “The Morozov Collection. Icons of Contemporary Art” due to the fact that their owners, entrepreneurs Petr Aven and Moshe Kantor, fell under Western sanctions.
In October 2021, the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam decided to return “Scythian gold” to Ukraine from the museums of the annexed Crimea. The proceedings lasted seven years.
The exhibition “Crimea: Gold and the Secrets of the Black Sea” was brought from Crimea to the Netherlands in 2014, but before its completion, Crimea was annexed by Russia, and Kyiv considered that the exhibits should belong to the state from which they were taken out initially. Crimean museums believed that the exhibits should return to the peninsula, regardless of its status.
In December 2016, the Amsterdam District Court ruled to return the exhibits to Ukraine, but representatives of the museums filed an appeal against this decision.
The exhibition “Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea” included 584 items with an estimated value of about 1 million euros. It lasted until August 31, 2014, after which 19 exhibits from the Museum of Historical Treasures of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, including the famous golden helmet, golden sword and its sheath, were returned. The rest of the artifacts became the subject of a legal dispute.