July 2, 2005
Germany has calculated that Russia has 250,000 looted items. The Museums world is constantly critical of Russia for this fact, but the reality is that most of these museums that criticise Russia’s stance are themselves holding large numbers of items on which there are claims for restitution. Russia has always suggested that they have a legitimate right to many of these items, as revenge for Russian items destroyed or looted by the Germans. The whole issue has similarities to many restitution cases, with the only exceptional aspects being the recentness of it (most major artefacts in European museums against which there are restitution claims were acquired before WWII) & the sheer number of artefacts involved.
Opinion & analysis
The art of revenge
30 June 205
MOSCOW. (Anatoly Korolev, for RIA Novosti.)
The recent celebration of the end of World War II noticeably soured cultural relations between Russia and Germany, as the latter used the occasion to issue a list of lost art works. Germany says that Russia holds no less than 250,000 items defined as displaced cultural treasures.
Russia has also been criticized at international conferences such as “Spoils of War. World War II and Its Aftermath” held in New York in January 1995. This conference was probably the most scandalous of all, and its main motif was that the Russian mentality contradicts European and American museum ethics.
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