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Scythian gold collection should be returned to Crimea - Russian State Duma speaker

March 31, 2014, 18:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian State Duma lower parliament house Sergei Naryshkin sent relevant letters to Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Culture
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© Allard Pierson Museum

MOSCOW, March 31. /ITAR-TASS/. The collection of Scythian gold, which is currently touring over Europe, should be returned to Crimea, speaker of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house Sergei Naryshkin said on Monday. The ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ collection was taken from Crimean museums to exhibitions in European countries before Crimea’s reunification with the Russian Federation.

Naryshkin told journalists he had sent relevant letters to Russian Ministers of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov and of Culture Vladimir Medinsky.

Currently, the collection is being exhibited in Amsterdam. “Our position is that the exhibits should be returned to their museums,” Naryshkin noted, adding that some of them had been loaned from Crimean museums.

The State Duma speaker said he had discussed this problem with Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the St. Petersburg-based State Hermitage Museum.

Back on March 26, Yasha Lange, a spokeswoman for Allard Pierson Museum, a subsidiary of Amsterdam University, told Itar-Tass the museum had not yet taken a decision on where to send back the exhibits. “The exhibition that started in February includes exhibits loaned by five Ukrainian museums, four of which are located in Crimea,” she said. “Agreement on these exhibits was signed before the political coup in Ukraine” and Crimea’s transition to the Russian jurisdiction. That’s why it’s extremely important for the Allard Pierson Museum to exercise caution in this situation.”

“The exhibits will remain in the Netherlands through to the end of the display, that is, until the end of August, after which they will be consigned to their legitimate owners,” she said. “Considering the knottiness of the problem, including the problem of who these exhibits should be returned to and how, the situation is now being scrutinized by Amsterdam University’s legal advisors and we’ve also asked the Dutch Foreign Ministry for recommendations.”

The exhibition ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ displays the results of archeological excavations made in Crimea, 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 US dollars.

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