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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Recovers Smuggled Pictures

The Federal Counterintelligence Service has recovered 64 pictures, including several masterpieces, smuggled out of the former Soviet Union in 1991, a service official said Wednesday.


Yevgeny Sevastyanov, head of the Moscow department of the service, told a press conference that the smuggling of pictures had become rife due to "the leakiness of borders" after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.


He said a Russian citizen, whom he named as Gladkovsky, had been detained in 1991 by Austrian border guards while trying to transport the pictures from the Czech Republic.


"There were attempts by Gladkovsky to keep the pictures in the Czech Republic. It took us a long time to prove that the pictures were smuggled from Russia and belonged to Russia," he said, adding that they were only recovered last month.


Alexei Vladimirov, director of the All-Russian Restoration Center, said there were several masterpieces among the pictures including paintings by Nikolai Sapunov, Pyotr Konchalovsky and Konstantin Korovin and a sketch by Isaak Levitan.


Vladimirov said a Korovin painting had sold for $12,000 at a foreign auction in May but these pictures could be worth three times as much.


In June the service returned to the Russian Orthodox Church 12 icons that had been stolen over the last three to four years.By Pyotr Yudin


THE MOSCOW TIMES


The Federal Counterintelligence Service has recovered 64 pictures, including several masterpieces, smuggled out of the former Soviet Union in 1991, a service official said Wednesday.


Yevgeny Sevastyanov, head of the Moscow department of the service, told a press conference that the smuggling of pictures had become rife due to "the leakiness of borders" after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.


He said a Russian citizen, whom he named as Gladkovsky, had been detained in 1991 by Austrian border guards while trying to transport the pictures from the Czech Republic.


"There were attempts by Gladkovsky to keep the pictures in the Czech Republic. It took us a long time to prove that the pictures were smuggled from Russia and belonged to Russia," he said, adding that they were only recovered last month.


Alexei Vladimirov, director of the All-Russian Restoration Center, said there were several masterpieces among the pictures including paintings by Nikolai Sapunov, Pyotr Konchalovsky and Konstantin Korovin and a sketch by Isaak Levitan.


Vladimirov said a Korovin painting had sold for $12,000 at a foreign auction in May but these pictures could be worth three times as much.


In June the service returned to the Russian Orthodox Church 12 icons that had been stolen over the last three to four years.