Allegedly because the sanctions may apply to museum paintings
Three trucks with paintings from Russian museums detained at the Finnish border – this information was officially confirmed by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, and the Finnish customs published on its official website a message that on April 6 will hold a separate briefing on the detained cargo. content). However, it is already known that the trucks carried works from the Hermitage, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Museum of the East, the Pushkin Museum, as well as museums-reserves “Tsarskoe Selo” and “Pavlovsk” and “Gatchina”.
Contrary to the first reports that appeared the day before, late in the evening on April 3, the detained items have nothing to do with the exhibition “Morozov Collection. Icons of Contemporary Art, ”which has just completed its work in Paris. These works are just beginning to be dismantled for further transportation on a specially designed route to Russia. At the customs in Finland, items from two exhibitions in Italy, as well as works from the collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, arrived from Japan, where they were exhibited in the city museum of Chiba.
Many of the detained works were shown at the Grand Tour, which took place in Milan’s Gallerie d’Italia, located next to the legendary La Scala Theater. The project, which tells about Italy and famous people who traveled around the homeland of the Renaissance, ended on March 27. The exposition featured items from the Hermitage, as well as museums-reserves “Tsarskoe Selo” and “Pavlovsk” and “Gatchina”.
The second exhibition – “Form of Infinity” (“La forma dell’Infinito”) was held at the Casa Cavazzini Museum of Contemporary Art in Udine from October 16 to March 23. Works from the Tretyakov Gallery and the Museum of the East were presented in the exposition.
In addition, among the exhibits undergoing a lengthy customs inspection are works of art by Pushkin’s Moscow Museum, which came from Japan, where they were exhibited in the city museum of Chiba.
“The issue of customs clearance of exhibits is under the control of the Ministry of Culture and other interested agencies,” the Russian Ministry of Culture said. The agency emphasizes that this is a customs inspection. However, the Finnish customs is more categorical in its wording: “Baalimaa customs detained three consignments of goods containing goods under EU sanctions. Customs has launched a preliminary investigation into aggravated offenses. Customs will hold a briefing on this issue on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (…) The customs authorities suspect that the cargo is subject to sanctions. Customs confiscated the cargo. “
However, it is too early to talk about confiscation. Sanctions imposed by the West on Russia extend to the private property of officials and businessmen close to the Russian government. There is no talk of state museums there. Perhaps the Finnish customs officers decided to make sure that among the exhibits there are no antiques from private collections, the owners of which are on the sanctions list.