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Crimea threatens to stop museum cooperation with Europe

“We are going to regard it as an absolutely disgraceful attitude on the part of Europeans to the idea of museum cooperation”

Source : ITAR - TASS / 09 Apr 2014

The Republic of Crimea will stop museum and exhibition cooperation with Europe, if the Netherlands refuse to return a collection of Scythian gold which is currently on view in Amsterdam to Crimean museums, the CrimeaInform news agency reported on Monday with reference to Valery Kosarev, the head of the permanent commission of the Crimean State Council (parliament) for education, science, youth affairs and sport.

“If the collection does not return to its legal owners in the near future, the question of taking any items of cultural value out of Crimea to European countries will be removed from the agenda,” Kosarev said.

“We are going to regard it as an absolutely disgraceful attitude on the part of Europeans to the idea of museum cooperation,” Kosarev added.

The Scythian gold was taken out of Crimean museums for an exhibition in the Netherlands. “It belongs to Crimea and not Ukraine,” Kosarev emphasized.

“The Scythian golden items and other historical artifacts were found in the territory of our republic. They were described, stored and exhibited in our museums,” Kosarev said, wondering who else could claim the right to the Scythian gold if the collection had been collected in the Republic of Crimea and had left abroad from the Crimean territory.

If the collection does not return to Crimea, the republic will challenge this decision to the very “end”, Kosarev stressed. According to him, Europe will lose a lot if it hands over the collection to Kiev.

“With the history of dozens of peoples and states intertwined in our territory, we are still rich in historical and cultural artifacts, which Europe will never have a chance to see,” Kosarev said in conclusion.

Museums concerned

Meanwhile, Andrei Malgin, the director of the Simferopol-based Tavrida Central Museum, told the CrimeaInform news agency on Monday that a refusal to return the collection of Scythian gold to Crimea would call further cooperation of Crimean museums with European partners into question.

His remarks followed Monday’s media reports that Ukraine’s parliament-appointed acting Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia allegedly said that the Netherlands would hand over the treasures to Ukraine.

“If our exhibits are really sent to Ukraine, this is going to be the grossest violation of property rights, the principles of museum business and cooperation. That will call our further relations with such unreliable partners into question,” Malgin emphasized, adding that all the exhibits were the property of museums that had signed appropriate documents allowing the artifacts to leave Crimea.

“All the exhibits were found in the territory of Crimea and are part of an integral collection of appropriate museums. It’s going to be absolute disgrace if they do not return to where they belong,” Malgin went on to say. He still hopes to see the Scythian gold back home.

The “Crimea: Gold and Black Sea Secrets” exposition has been on view at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam since February 2014. It features more than 550 exhibits from Kiev museums and four Crimean museums, including jewelry made of precious stones, weapons and household utensils telling about the peninsula’s rich history.


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