Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Hermitage Museum death!

Hermitage Museum Portico (detail)
One of the world's finest museums - the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, begun by Catherine the Great in 1764 - is in the news for all the wrong reasons. One of its curators died in mysterious circumstances when the theft of treasures in storage worth an estimated £2.67m ($5m) was discovered. Did the discovery cause a heart attack or did the Russian fuzz get a bit too slap-happy with their truncheons during interrogation? To make matters worse, none of the 200 pilfered treasures was insured! One of Coxsoft Art's regular questions is: Who are the plonkers in charge of the world's treasures? Answer in this case: Mikhail Piotrovsky. But, to be fair, scandalous lack of state funding isn't his responsibility. This goes right to the top: President Vladimir Putin. Coxsoft Art believes the first duty of any head of state is to guard his country's treasures, including its natural environment and indigenous species, because this is world heritage. The rest is domestic politics. You've failed, Vladimir. Resign.


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