Russian art curators have reportedly raided nearly 30 Ukrainian museums since last year’s invasion, leading to the theft of antiquities from the war-torn country.
Across Ukraine, museums have been robbed of their famous Scythian artifacts, left behind when eastern Iranian nomads migrated from Central Asia to modern-day Ukraine and southern Russia between the 7th and 3rd centuries BCE. . According to the Sunday Times of London.
The raids reportedly resulted in the theft of Scythian jewelry, statues, paintings, icons, and statues worth millions.
“These orders are coming from someone very high up in the Kremlin,” Sir Antony Beaver, historian and author of “The Russians: Revolution and Civil War,” told the Sunday Times. “Putin’s propaganda is that Ukraine doesn’t exist as a country, it’s part of Russia – so they can take away whatever they want.”
Others see the raids as Russia’s way of erasing Ukraine’s cultural identity.
“This is a deliberate policy to destroy the historical memory of the Ukrainian people,” said Alexander Simonenko, an archaeologist and Scythian expert at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
The first raid was last March, shortly after the Russian invasion, when a curator was kidnapped and thousands of pieces of artwork stolen during the occupation of Mariupol and Melitopol.
Russian soldiers stole about 200 items from the Museum of Local Lore in Melitopol, including 2,300-year-old gold pieces from the Scythian Empire. According to the Museum Association.
Museum curator Leila Ibrahimova said the items were allegedly selected by a man in a white coat who entered the museum’s basement with Russian soldiers and a thief with “long tweezers and special gloves”. Chose things.
The biggest Russian art heist hit the Kherson Regional Art Museum where five trucks were used to steal more than 15,000 pieces of artwork.
A canvas was too large to carry, so it was left at the door, and an ancient cannon was also left behind because it was too heavy to move.
“It felt like I was losing my mind, that I was having a bad dream,” said Alina Dutsenko, the museum’s director. “It was so painful to see it so empty, this museum that was my pride, my love, my life.”
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