8 Apr 2022 10:53

Paintings from Russian museums, detained in Finland, to arrive in Russia this weekend - Culture Ministry

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) - The Russian Culture Ministry is organizing the return of Russian museum exhibits detained by Finnish Customs, Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova said.

"The Culture Ministry is organizing the return of these collections, and the exhibits are due to return to the Russian Federation this weekend," Lyubimova said on Telegram.

"The European Commission has explained that the sanction list does not apply to the works demonstrated at European exhibitions," Lyubimova said. The European Commission's decision makes it possible to continue transportation of the paintings, which had been detained by Finnish Customs, she said.

The minister thanked colleagues from the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian embassy to Finland and the Federal Customs Service for "working together and assisting in communication with the Finnish authorities."

Finnish Customs formally acknowledged the detention of the paintings due to the EU sanctions on April 4. The Russian Culture Ministry said back then that the exhibits presented for customs clearance on the Finnish border were part of two shows in Italy, namely, Grand Tour: Dream of Italy from Venice to Pompeii (comprising works from the State Hermitage and Tsarskoye Selo, Pavlovsk and Gatchina museums) and the Shape of Infinity (comprising works from the Tretyakov Gallery and the State Museum of the Oriental Arts).

Russian Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi told Interfax that the problem with the return of the Russian works of art derived from sanctions-related bureaucracy, and the exhibits would return to Russia as soon as the bureaucratic procedures were completed.