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State Hermitage Museum director to insist on return of Scythian gold collection to Crimea

June 05, 2014, 15:26 UTC+3 St PETERSBURG

Amsterdam University’s Allard Pierson Museum has been hosting the exhibition titled ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ since February 2014

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St PETERSBURG, June 05. /ITAR-TASS/. Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, the Director General of the State Hermitage Museum and President of the Russian Museum Union, said Thursday he hopes to raise the issue of the collection of Scythian gold return to Crimea which currently exhibited in the Netherlands at an international legal forum due to be held in St Petersburg.

The collection that was loaned at the beginning of this year by museums in Crimea, then formally a part of Ukraine, is being exhibited in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam under the title of ‘Crimea. Gold and Mysteries of the Black Sea’.

Dr. Piotrovsky told a news conference Thursday the problem of the Scythian collection was not featured in the official program of the forum but cultural personalities would like to hear a legal assessment of the situation by lawyers from various countries.

“We’ll speak about how this could possibly be done in this situation because there’s no clarity on how this problem is to be resolved legally,” he said answering a question from ITAR-TASS.

Russian Deputy Minister of Culture, Alla Manilova, gave the assurances to reporters earlier the Russian governmental departments and organizations would take all the steps necessary for a return of the Scythian treasures from Europe to Crimea.

“Quite naturally, the Culture Ministry is taking care of it and Mikhail Piotrovsky is watching the situation, too,” she said. “We’re are keeping contact with diplomatic missions and we’ve brought the Law Office for International Affairs into the situation so that our actions would have legal backup.”

Dr. Piotrovsky said, however, no noticeable progress towards resolution of the problem had been made yet. He said however that “proceeding from the principles of logic, the collection should return to the museums and loaned the exhibits.”

Amsterdam University’s Allard Pierson Museum has been hosting the exhibition titled ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea’ since February 2014. It consists of exhibits loaned by a museum in Kiev and four museums in Crimea, which was a region of Ukraine back the time the items of the collection were consigned to the Netherlands.

The items on show in Amsterdam are pieces of goldsmithery, weapons, and household appliances revealing the rich history of the Crimean peninsula.

The problem of where to return the artifacts sprang up immediately after Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Rights to possession of the Scythian gold have been claimed by both Russia and Ukraine.

The exhibition in Amsterdam will stay open through to the end of August.

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