MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. Moscow police have initiated a criminal case over the theft of Arkhip Kuindzhi’s "Ai Petri. Crimea" painting from the State Tretyakov Gallery, Russian Interior Ministry Spokesperson Irina Volk informed TASS.
"The Investigative Department of the Internal Affairs Directorate in the Central Administraitve District has initiated a criminal case under Section 164 of the Russian Criminal Code (‘Theft of items of special value’)," she said.
Volk added that the police had been able to obtain descriptive information of the suspects. "The police have investigated the crime scene and interviewed witnesses. Descriptive information about the suspects has been obtained. Investigative measures aimed at clarifying all the circumstances of the incident, establishing, searching and apprehending the suspects are underway," she concluded.
The spokesperson earlier told TASS that security officers who were in charge of video monitoring saw unidentified persons remove the painting from the wall and flee the scene.
A law enforcement source earlier said that two individuals were involved in the theft. He also did not rule out that they had associates and that it was a contracted theft. If the painting is not found, it will be put on Interpol’s database of stolen works of art, he added.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the price of the painting may reach about $1mln.
The painting was brought from St. Petersburg’s Russian Museum to be displayed at the exhibition of Kuindzhi’s works that is underway at the Tretyakov Gallery.