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South Russian museums ready to accept Crimean Scythian collection

It is a serious problem where the collection will return after the exhibition to Crimea, Ukraine or remain in Europe, Hermitage Museum Director General Mikhail Piotrpovsky says

KRASNODAR, March 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Hermitage Museum Director General Mikhail Piotrpovsky is concerned over the fate of the Scythian collection of gold from Crimean museums, which was sent for an exhibition in Europe before Crimea was reunified with Russia.

It is a serious problem where the collection will return after the exhibition to Crimea, Ukraine or remain in Europe, he says.

While the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, where the Crimean collection "Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea" is exhibited, is considering to whom to send it in August, when the exhibition is closed, major museums in Russia's Southern Federal District state are ready to give their space for the collection and keep it in their depositories.

The historical and archeological museum in the Krasnodar Territory, one of the oldest, with pleasure would take the collection to keep it, acting director general Nefset Khut told Itar-Tass on Thursday. The museum administration is preparing a letter to the regional Culture Ministry to inform it that the museum would like to accept the collection. It is ready even to move aside its other collections to give place for the new exhibits, the administration says, noting it pays much attention to security issues.

The Astrakhan state united historical and architectural reserve museum offers a new 100 square meters depository with modern guard equipment for the collection, deputy director Andrei Kurapov says. Such collections, for example "Gold of Sarmatians", were displayed in the Astrakhan museum. It would be very interesting to have a unique possibility to compare two cultures, he believes.

The collection would be ideal for the Azov reserve museum which already has archeological objects as old as the Crimean collection, the Rostov region's Deputy Culture Minister Ivan Grunsky notes. The museum has special halls with all security systems to place such expensive exhibits. Such displays were organized more than once there, he noted.

The Volgograd regional museum is also ready to give its rooms for the collection, the director, Alexander Materikin, says. The museum presents ancient cultural and archeological finds dating from the times of Sarmatians and Scythians. "We will be only glad if the collection of the Crimean museums will be added to it, as it is one theme," he said.

The collection "Crime: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea", which is exhibited in the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam at present, must be returned to Crimea, believes Russian presidential envoy for international culture cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi.

"These things must return to Crimea. But I foresee great problems of a legal character. The Amsterdam museum has return guarantees not only to Crimean museums, which belong to Russia now, but also Ukraine's museums. So, a legal conflict arises. It is rather serious," Shvydkoi notes.

A spokesperson for Amsterdam University, a part of which is the Allard Pierson Museum, told Itar-Tass on March 26 that it was not decided yet where to send the Crimean exhibits. The exhibition, which was opened in early February, shows objects from five Ukrainian museums, four of which located in Crimea. The agreements on the exhibits were concluded before the political upheaval in Ukraine and the transfer of Crimea to the Russian Federation. The Allard Pierson Museum believes it is very important to be careful in the situation, Yasha Lange says. Taking into consideration the complexity of the problem, legal advisers at Amsterdam University are studying the issue how and whom to return the exhibits. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands is also requested to give its recommendation.

The exhibition "Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea" in Amsterdam displays archeological objects found in Crimea, including jewelry made of precious metals, arms and houseware, that show rich history of the peninsula. The displayed objects, according to some estimates, are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.