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Artifacts from Crimean museums to be privatized after transfer to Kiev

The Crimean authorities refuse to give up on Scythian gold collection

SIMFEROPOL, January 25. /TASS/. The Scythian gold collection will be privatized if transferred to Kiev, Crimea’s head Sergei Aksyonov said on Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, they have neither shame nor conscience. I think Ukrainian officials will line up the collection pieces for ‘privatization’," Aksyonov said, commenting on the words of Crimea’s Culture Minister Arina Novoselskaya that the Crimean museums had filed an appeal against the Dutch court’s ruling over return of the collection to Ukraine.

"We should carefully consider [the issue] and, along with the Foreign Ministry, take the required steps," he added. "Russia’s Culture Ministry is providing methodological assistance. The working group should search for correct ways. We do not give up and will fight to the last ditch."

Legal dispute

On 14 December 2016, the Dutch court passed a ruling saying Crimea’s Scythian gold collection should be handed to Ukraine. Earlier on Friday, Novoselskaya informed the Crimean head that an appeal had been filed against the court’s ruling.

Four Crimean museums loaned the exhibits for the ‘Crimea: Gold and Secrets From the Black Sea’ exhibition at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Bonn and then at Amsterdam’s Allard Pierson Museum between February and August 2014. The display in Amsterdam began when Crimea was still an autonomous republic within Ukraine. After the landmark referendum in Crimea on reunification with Russia, the collection turned up in an unprecedented legal situation. Both Crimean museums and Ukraine claimed their rights.

Since, the Dutch said they would seek to untangle the dilemma through a court action. Their line of reasoning suggested that whomever the exhibits would return to, the other side would definitely find the decision unacceptable.

The Scythian gold exhibits were lent by the Tavrida Central Museum, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Preserve, the Bakhchysarai History and Culture State Preserve and the Tauric Chersonesos National Preserve. The pieces provided for the exhibition by a Kiev museum, returned to Ukraine in September.