ST. PETERSBURG, November 23. The collection of Scythian gold should return to Crimean museums, this is fair, says General Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky.
The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine on Wednesday announced that it had reached an agreement with the Dutch Allard Pearson Museum on the transfer to the Ukrainian side of a collection of Scythian gold exhibited in Amsterdam. The Netherlands Museum has refused to collect the cost of nine years of storage of museum exhibits. However, the terms and conditions of the transfer were not specified. The University of Amsterdam, which oversees the work of the Allard Pearson Museum, said that it could not yet confirm the agreement with Ukraine on the transfer of Scythian gold there.
“These are things from Crimean museums that belong to Crimean museums. This is a fundamental question that very well illustrates one important thing – there is a big difference between law and justice. The court decided that these things belong to Ukraine… But these things come from Crimean museums, they were found on places of these museums, they were in these museums. They are not the history of the Scythians, they are the history of these cities and these museums. By all human justice, they should return to these museums, this is not just someone's antique collection. What they are in these museums have not returned, this is injustice. We’ll see what happens to them next,” Piotrovsky told reporters.
“Things should be in their museums. This is fair. But there are unfair decisions, history usually corrects them,” he added.
Four Crimean museums – the Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve (which later became part of the East Crimean Museum), the Central Museum of Taurida, the Bakhchisarai Historical and Cultural Reserve and the Tauride Chersonese – sent the exhibition “Crimea – Golden” in 2013 to Bonn, and then to Amsterdam island in the Black Sea.”
After the reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014, the Netherlands faced the question of who should return the collection to. The Amsterdam Court of Appeal decided on October 26, 2021 that the collection of Scythian gold should be transferred to Ukraine. In January 2022, the museums of Crimea sent a cassation appeal to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, but it upheld the decision of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal to transfer the collection of Scythian gold to Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called the court decision in the Netherlands to transfer part of the Crimean heritage to Kyiv biased. The head of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, said that the collection of Scythian gold could end up in the hands of private Western collectors. According to the head of Crimea, Sergei Aksenov, the collection was simply taken away from Crimean museums. According to the special representative of the Russian President for international cultural cooperation, Mikhail Shvydkoy, the court’s decision to transfer “Scythian gold” to Ukraine is unfounded and is associated with the anti-Russian position of the Netherlands.