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Russia's Hermitage Museum director submits proposals on rehabilitating Palmyra to Putin

April 07, 17:58 UTC+3
Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky has submitted proposals on rehabilitative actions in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria that has suffered severe damage after months under the control of the Islamic State
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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

St PETERSBURG, April 7. /TASS/. Director-General of the world-famous State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky has submitted proposals on possible rehabilitative actions in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria that has suffered severe damage after months under the control of the Islamic State militants.

"I submitted a document containing our proposals to the president," he told reporters after. "They have been drafted by the State Hermitage Museum and the Academy of Sciences on what we could in practical terms in Palmyra."

"I talked over the phone to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and we have a certain plan for we could throw our shoulder into a campaign an international campaign, of course to rehabilitate Palmyra after the mine-clearing operation is over there and the place becomes safe," Dr. Piotrovsky said.

One of the proposals suggests that the so-called 'Yemeni expedition', which was set up earlier by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the State Hermitage Museum, Moscow's Museum of the Orient, and the Institute of Oriental Studies, should be redirected to Palmyra.

"We recommend redirecting it to Palmyra because it can't work in Yemen all the same given the situation in that country," Dr. Piotrovsky said.

"Besides, many other monuments of both Christian and Moslem heritage are ruining in Syria and they also should become subjects of attention on the part of UNESCO and the Russian government," he said.

Dr. Piotrovsky also said with reference to Palmyra he would like to stay away from using the words like ‘re-creation’ or ‘reconstruction’.

"The words I apply to it are ‘revival’ or ‘rehabilitation’," he said. "It’s important to try and revive the things that were in place there. And what was in place there was ruins and our duty today is to restore them."

"The latter task necessitates a careful study of the stones that remain there after also those explosions," Dr. Piotrovsky said. "If we can return them to their original places then they should be returned, and nothing more than that will be done."

"Palmyra is to become a monument that people can adore, a monument to the tragic page that has been entered in its history, and a monument to the museum experts who died there," he said.

When a reporter asked him if Putin had voiced his position on the proposals for the rehabilitation of Palmyra Dr. Piotrovsky said: "He usually delegates such issues to those who can deal with them professionally."

"Still it’s clear anyway Russia will take part in it (the efforts to rehabilitate Palmyra) as part of an international campaign," he said. "It’s very important to assure a really international character of the campaign so that all the countries of the world would joint it."

"Quite possibly, this campaign will unite more people than the war did," Dr. Piotrovsky said.

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