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Hermitage director calls for returning Scythian gold collection to Crimean museums

April 13, 17:23 UTC+3 SEVASTOPOL

The Director of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum stresses the Scythian gold collection from the Crimean museums, currently kept in Amsterdam, should be returned to Crimea

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© EPA/BART MAAT

SEVASTOPOL, April 13. /TASS/. The Scythian gold collection from the Crimean museums, currently kept in Amsterdam, should be returned to Crimea, Director of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky told reporters on Friday.

"The matter is that sacred items found here were taken away… These items were unearthed from this soil, they were kept in local museums as identity symbols of the people who live here. They definitely should be returned… I think that sooner or later the issue will be solved, lawyers’ work will lead to success," he said.

Piotrovsky added that Russian museums had learned a lesson from the Scythian gold collection issue. "This unfortunate incident has taught us much. We have been working hard to establish a system of guarantees for the state and museums in order to ensure that we have everything back and such a thing does not happen again," the Hermitage museum director said.

Scythian gold issue

The Scythian gold collection from the Crimean museums was put on view at the Allard Pierson Museum of the University of Amsterdam in February 2014 when Crimea was still part of Ukraine. However, after the peninsula reunited with Russia in March 2014, an uncertainty over the collection arose as both Russia and Ukraine claimed the exhibits. In this regard, the University of Amsterdam suspended the handover until either the dispute is legally resolved or the parties come to terms.

The Central Museum of Tavrida, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Preserve, the Bakhchysarai Historical and Cultural Preserve and the Chersonesus Historical and Cultural Preserve are among those museums whose items are being kept in Amsterdam. Items provided for the exhibition by a Kiev museum, were returned to Ukraine in September 2016.

In December 2016, the Amsterdam District Court ruled that the Scythian gold treasures should be returned to Ukraine. The Crimean museums filed an appeal against the court’s decision. However, the court has not yet considered the appeal it received on March 28, 2017.

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