ST PETERSBURG, April 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian state agencies will take all possible measures to return to Crimean museums a collection of Scythian gold from the ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ exhibition that is underway in Amsterdam now, Russian Deputy Culture Minister Alla Manilova told reporters on Friday.
“The Culture Ministry has definitely taken up this issue and Mikhail Piotrovsky [the director of St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum and president of the Russian Union of Museums - eds. Tass] has his finger on the pulse,” Manilova said. “We are working with diplomatic missions and have brought in the Iniurcolleguia law firm to provide legal backup for our actions and at the moment we aren’t worried.”
“The situation is objectively complicated as the collection was delivered from different museums while it was Ukraine’s Culture Ministry that signed the agreement on holding the exhibition,” the Russian minister said. “Nevertheless, the collection left Crimean museums, which now means Russian museums.”
“The Russian Culture Ministry in co-ordination with the Foreign Ministry will take all necessary steps to bring the exhibits back to Crimea,” she said.
Manilova is confident that the stance of the Netherlands’ Allard Pierson museum is “calm” and the Dutch are set to send artefacts back to the home museums upon the closing of the exhibition.
The exhibition ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ has been on display in the Allard Pierson Museum since February. All in all, the 550 exhibits, which have been loaned by the Kiev Museum and four Crimean museums, display the results of archaeological excavations, including gold jewelry and treasures, weaponry, and household utensils that tell the visitors about the rich history of the Crimean Peninsula.
The cost of these antiquities is believed to reach several hundred thousand U.S. dollars.
The problem emerged after Crimea had reunified with Russia while the museum has obligations before the Ukrainian Culture Ministry and the Crimean museums as well to return the collection to the original owners , although these museums are located in Russia now.
Both Russia and Ukraine have already made claims to the ownership of Scythian gold.