The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg has announced a one-year ban on all exhibitions in the US and the EU.
Following the return of artifacts that had been on loan to museums in the EU, the State Hermitage Museum of Russia has declared that it will not stage exhibitions in any Western nations for at least a year.
A post on social media, “The Hermitage is introducing a one-year moratorium on exhibits in Europe and the USA,” reminded readers that the museum had previously imposed a similar ban on exhibitions outside of Russia due to safety and financial concerns in the 1990s.
Additionally, it declared that as of June 21, all of its exhibits had been collected from exhibitions in Europe after loaning items to shows in Amsterdam, Hamburg, Brussels, London, Milan, Rome, and Paris.
The Hermitage reported that a large number of visitors from Western Europe had started expressing a particular interest in the museum’s artworks since the escalation of geopolitical tensions. According to the museum, Italian viewers were extremely grateful that Russia decided not to immediately recall its artwork, allowing the exhibition to proceed as scheduled, in contrast to “how Western partners on some projects did in Russia.”
Although nearly 700 of the Hermitage’s exhibits have now returned home, the process wasn’t straightforward. On their way to Russia in March, several priceless items totaling $46 million were seized by Finnish customs because they were in violation of EU sanctions.
Finland eventually decided to return the artworks after Russian authorities warned that this amounted to “legal chaos” and demanded the return of its cultural property. Finland insisted that the error had occurred due to the frantic pace at which sanctions were introduced.
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