What’s the deal with the Scythian gold and Crimea?

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December 15, 2016 – Fort Russ – 

Ruslan Ostashko, LiveJournal – translated by J. Arnoldski –

Watching yesterday’s news, I understood that our Ukrainian neighbors really have a lot in common with Europeans. Unfortunately, this similarity does not manifest itself in the economy, culture, or the development of science. This similarity is exclusively political. One can even say that the authorities of some countries have been infected by their Kiev colleagues with the desire to constantly make little messes for Russia. There is suspicion that this behavior is a psychological defense mechanism. Well, making a serious mess is scary stuff, but the feeling of self-importance still demands little victories, hence the need to make minor mischief when the situation allows.

From the point of view of the Dutch authorities, Russia is their constant source of humiliation. They think that, like their British colleagues, Putin is to blame for the fact that the population doesn’t like them and voted against them in the recent referendum. The fact that a Dutch court had to reverse the decision on Yukos’ 50 billion that Khodorkovsky demanded from Russia, and the fact that it cannot be ruled out that the Dutch also wanted to get some of this money is also concerning. There’s also Russia’s counter-sanctions which all European politicians interpret as incredible arrogance, which is another reason to strongly dislike Russia and search for little ways to win. 

The motivation is clear, but it’s a pity that this once great country is guided by petty political logic in judicial decision-making. The Dutch establishment must entertain great illusions if they think that they’ve poked Russia in the soft spot with the court decision on the Scythian gold which they decided to return not to Crimea, but send to Kiev. For us, of course, this is unpleasant, but it must be recognized that this is not a serious problem on the country level, but for Kiev, I think that this is one of the last victories it will have on the European front.

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Now Kiev’s propagandists have a chance, albeit a weak one, to distract audiences’ attention from the fact that Holland has officially closed the doors on Ukraine having even the slimmest prospect of integration into the European Union. Holland has also blocked them from receiving financial aid and security guarantees. What’s more, they’ve put an end to the possibility of Ukrainians gaining access to the European labor market. Yet, amidst all of this, an Amsterdam court has thrown Kiev a bone in the form of the Scythian gold being sent to Ukraine. Who knows, maybe this will be enough for Ukraine to believe in a bright European future and continue to believe that “the world is with them.”

However, here it must be noted that the [Ukrainian] law of nature, according to which any victory necessarily turns into a betrayal, has already begun to work in this case. As commentators on social networks have correctly noticed, the Amsterdam court has in fact tricked Kiev. After all, according to its logic, the gold must be returned to Ukraine, not Crimea, which means that the Dutch court basically recognized that Crimea is not Ukraine. It’s not worth thanking them for this, but it’s at least worth a laugh.

Lessons can be learned from any situation, and I really hope that correct conclusions will be drawn from this incident. Sure, the Scythian gold ended up in the Netherlands before Crimea returned to the homeland, and this is a really particular case. But no matter what, the conclusion must be drawn that artistic gems shouldn’t be sent from Russia to foreign exhibitions, because who knows who will want to claim them and will be able to, under the guise of a court decision, confiscate them. Let our museums work on making more money in Russia.

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We are a unique country with a unique passion for culture that has awakened since the people have become tired of American-style  fast food culture. There is a full house at the Serov and Ayvazovsky exhibitions in Moscow, and I am sure that the same success can be replicated in other cities of the country It’s not right for museum workers to be searching for ways to continue international cooperation for the sake of money now. They should learn to make money in Russia, and then we will have no reason to bother ourselves with unfair and political motivated decisions by foreign courts. 

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