Skip to comments.Russia: Officials Say Betrayal, Bad Inventories Behind Hermitage Thefts
Posted on 08/08/2006 1:20:37 PM PDT by sergey1973
The revelation that St. Petersburg's renowned Hermitage Museum had been systematically robbed of 221 precious art objects has underscored yet again the vulnerability of Russia's cultural treasures.
PRAGUE, August 7, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- It has all the elements of a classic mystery novel.
Hundreds of icons and precious objects worth an estimated $5 million are systematically stolen from Russia's most storied art museum, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
The majority of the items, it becomes clear, were taken from a single storeroom -- whose guardian, a curator identified as Larisa Zavadskaya, died suddenly late last year.
Museum officials bring in investigators, suggesting the heist is an inside job.
Those suspicions gains credence when the first two arrests in the case, made this weekend, are Zavadskaya's husband and son. A third person has since been reported arrested as well.
Museum Director Mikhail Piotrovsky has called the theft "a stab in the back."
(Excerpt) Read more at rferl.org ...
I was in the Russian Hermitage once as a kid with my father. The museum is huge occupying 6 buildings, including the Winter Palace--the former residence of Russian Emperors starting from Peter the Great. The art collection is simply enormous. It's a shame that such a treasure is looted by the workers entrusted to protect it.
However, it's not the first time the Hermitage was looted.
The biggest looting was in 1917 when Bolsheviks took over the Winter Palace in what's being later called "October Revolution". In the subsequent years, a significant number of art works was sold by Bolshevik/Communist regime abroad to finance its debt. Some of the Hermitage collections ended up in Washington DC in the US Capitol building or the White House. Others in private collections round the world.
The official site of the Hermitage is http://www.hermitagemuseum.org
If Bush had only sent in more troops and planned better these museums would have been protected!!!!