According to the report, “The Guardian” Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of detaining more than 2,000 artworks from various museums The targets of the attacks were, among others, the Koenja Art Museum (destroyed on March 23) and the Mariupol Museum of Local History. The business was transferred to Donbass.
These activities are particularly intense in Mariupol and Melitopol. There is no doubt that the artifacts have been taken or destroyed. And while some sources speak of a “collective scale,” there is conflicting information about what was hidden and what was destroyed or stolen.
An NBC News video recounts the extent of the devastation at the Mariupol Museum of History.
First known case of mass looting of cultural property
Mariupol City Council published information about the theft on its Telegram account, incl. Works by 19th century artist Archip Koenja and Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky, as well as the unique handwritten scroll of the Torah and Bible from 1811.
– says the Guardian. “If the confiscation of works of art in Mariupol is confirmed, This will be the first case of mass looting of cultural property by Russian forces since the beginning of the war“.
On Saturday, the New York Times announced that a valuable collection of gold artefacts from the Melitopol Museum had been removed from the city. The museum’s curator described the group that confiscated the gold. in the museum A Russian speaking man in a white lab coat appeared with “a group of Russian soldiers who stood behind him carrying weapons“.
Scythian gold from the Melitopol Museum (4th century BC)
In the turmoil of war, it is difficult to find specific information about what happened to gold. Museum staff confirmed that they managed to hide the collection. “It is not possible to verify information from Melitopol, which is currently a battlefield– says the Artnet News service.
According to the Times, the man in the white coat used long tweezers and special gloves to extract dozens of gold artifacts from the cardboard boxes in the museum’s basement, which numbered more than 2.3 thousand. years. These items come from the Scythian Empire and date back to the 4th century BC
“The goblins have taken our studded gold.”
“The goblins have taken our studded gold.” – The mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, told local media, using the derogatory slang term for Russian soldiers. “This is one of the largest and most expensive collections in Ukraine, we don’t know where they took it“.
The media reported that the theft of historical gold is the most “insolent” act of the Russian conquest. Leila Ibrahimwa, director of the Melitopol Local History Museum, told The Times that when Russian forces began bombing the area in late February, she and other museum staff members They hid gold and other important historical artifacts in cardboard boxes, “in a damp vault; they didn’t think anyone would find it.”.
In mid-March, the Russian army stormed her apartment. She was kidnapped and interrogated. After her release, she fled from Melitopol. last week She received a call from the caretaker – she was pressed to indicate where the jammed gold was, but she refused, although the Russians found it anywayThey were helped by Eugene Gorlaczio, a Ukrainian, who appointed him the new director of the museum. The Russian team reportedly filmed the event.
Among the items stolen, there are believed to be at least 198 gold trinkets and gold plates, as well as rare ancient weapons, 300-year-old silver coins, and special medals. Gorlachev said on Russian television that the artifacts “have great cultural value for the entire former Soviet Union.” and that the museum’s previous directors “experienced great effort and energy” to conceal them.