Crimean museums have indisputable rights to Scythian gold collection, statement says

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SIMFEROPOL, March 11. /TASS/. Crimea’s museums have indisputable rights to the Scythian gold collection that was sent to Amsterdam for an exhibition, so there are only political reasons to hand the items over to Kiev, the museums said in a joint statement on Monday, which was published by the press service of the Eastern Crimean Historical and Cultural Museum Preserve.

“We are confident that our rights to the items sent for a temporary exhibition are indisputable. It is important not only for the museums but for all of the Crimean people as well, including cultural workers and researchers involved in work with the unique collections, to make sure that the items are not torn away from their history, context and collections for political reasons. There are no legal, cultural or historical reasons to hand these items over to Kiev,” the statement reads.

According to the document, the museums were the keepers of the unique collections at the time of the exhibition and they still are.

The museums also pointed out they hoped the Amsterdam Court of Appeal would make a fair decision. “The museums believe in the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. We expect that the decision made by a court of first instance will be overturned, which will make it possible to preserve the results of many years of work done by the museums, to create collections that would deserve the respect of the public and be part of global culture, archeology, science and education. We ask you to support our intention to bring these unique ancient artifacts back to Crimea where they belong,” the statement emphasized.

Scythian gold issue

The Scythian gold collection from the Crimean museums was put on view at the Allard Pierson Museum of the University of Amsterdam in February 2014 when Crimea was still part of Ukraine. However, after the peninsula reunited with Russia in March 2014, an uncertainty over the collection arose as both Russia and Ukraine claimed the exhibits. In this regard, the University of Amsterdam suspended the handover until either the dispute is legally resolved or the parties come to terms.

The Central Museum of Tavrida, the Kerch Historical and Cultural Preserve, the Bakhchysarai Historical and Cultural Preserve and the Chersonesus Historical and Cultural Preserve are among the museums whose items are being kept in Amsterdam. Items provided for the exhibition by a Kiev museum, were returned to Ukraine in September 2016.

In December 2016, the Amsterdam District Court ruled that the Scythian gold treasures be returned to Ukraine. The Crimean museums filed an appeal against this decision, which was received by the court on March 28, 2017.

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