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MOSCOW, April 8 (Itar-Tass) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on the return the Esterhazy Princes’ book collection to Vienna, the Kremlin press service reported on Monday.
The law ratifies the Russian-Austrian intergovernmental agreement signed in Moscow on September 21, 2012.
The agreement establishes the procedure of the Esterhazy collection’s transfer to Austria. Thus, under the agreement, Austria undertakes to pay insurance, packing, and transportation fees, and to ensure its safety. When all the books of the collection are handed over to Austria, a final protocol will be signed that will mean that all Austria’s claims concerning the Esterhazy book collection are considered settled once and for all.
The book collection of the Esterhazy family was appropriated by the Soviet Union after WWII. It includes about 1,000 XVI-XVII century books in theology, astronomy, history, philosophy, the medical science, natural sciences, art, law and linguistics in English, Aramaic, Latin, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Ancient Greek, Hebrew and other languages. Currently, 954 books from this collection are kept at the Russian State Library of Foreign Literature, and 23 books - at the State Public Historical Library.