MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. Russia expects that Finland will ensure an early return of works of art detained on the Finnish border with Russia on April 2-3, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a commentary circulated on Wednesday.
"In fact, this situation can be described in two words - total lawlessness. We expect an early decision by the Finnish authorities to ensure the return of our works of art to the Russian Federation in full," the diplomat said.
Zakharova said the detained works of art belonged to the Russian Federation and were temporarily abroad under the state guarantees of the countries where the exhibitions were organized on a non-commercial basis in cooperation with Russian museums.
She reiterated that the detained cargo included items of cultural value from the State Hermitage Museum, the State Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts that had been on display in Italy and Japan. In its decision, the Finnish customs service referred to a possible violation of the sanctions regime against Russia, the diplomat said.
On April 5, in the presence of Russian embassy diplomats, the cargo was temporarily placed in a specially equipped storage room of Ateneum art museum in Helsinki, Zakharova said.
Artworks from Russian museum collections detained on the border between Finland and Russia were from two exhibitions in Italy, the press service of the Russian Ministry of Culture said on Monday.
One of them is the exhibition "Grand Tour. Myth, Vision and Feeling of Italy" that was on display at the Piazza Scala Gallery in Milan until March 27 of this year. It featured exhibits from the State Hermitage, as well as the Tsarskoye Selo, Pavlovsk and Gatchina museum preserves. The second exhibition, "The Shape of Infinity", was held at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Udine from October 16, 2021, to March 23, 2022. It featured works from the State Tretyakov Gallery and the State Museum of Oriental Art. Also, works of art from the Pushkin State Museum arriving from Japan were detained at the border.