Scythian gold collection inseparable from Crimea’s history, lawyer says

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© AP Photo/Peter Dejong

AMSTERDAM, March 11. /TASS/. All items in the Scythian gold collection were unearthed during archaeological excavations in Crimea and are inseparable from Crimea’s history, so Crimea’s museums should remain the keepers of these unique treasures, Marielle Koppenol-Laforce, a lawyer representing Russia in the case, said at a session of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal on Monday.

“The case concerns treasures unearthed in Crimea, the public has a right to and an interest in viewing them within the framework of the relevant collections. The Crimean museums want nothing more than to continue the conservation and exhibition of the Crimean Treasures in order to make it possible,” she said. “The Crimean museums were the keepers of unique collections of Crimean archeological artefacts at the time of the exhibition and they still are. These were all recovered from Crimean soil by Crimean archeologists over many years of scholarly, scientific and physical work. It is of the utmost importance for the Crimean museums, for the people of Crimea, for the employees, the scholars and scientists involved in the unique collections of the museums that the Crimean Treasures are not torn away from their history, context and documentation for political reasons only. The Crimean Treasures, when returned, will be treated well, as they always were, and will be reunited with the collection in Crimea. The allegations of Ukraine disputing this are unfounded,” Koppenol-Laforce pointed out.

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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