Every year, as 22 June - the start of German aggression against the USSR - is getting closer, it brings an aggravation of the displaced cultural valuables problem. This problem has long ago gone beyond the scope of narrow professional discussions of art experts, archive and library specialists, lawyers, becoming a subject of sharp political controversy. At the same time, the essence of the problem is, as a rule, not fully known to the majority of those drawn into the orbit of the "restitution phenomenon", or, in simpler terms, the return of displaced valuables.
For the Russian side, the "moment of truth" in the legal settlement of the problem came with the passing on 15 April, 1998 of the Federal Law "On cultural valuables, displaced to the Union of SSR as a result of the World War II and located in the territory of the
Russian Federation". Under the Law, cultural valuables, displaced after the World War II and remaining in this country, constitute its national patrimony - in other words, they are now legally considered to belong to us forever. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation on 20 July, 1999 confirmed lawfulness of the Federal Law's provisions and recognized displacement of cultural valuables by way of ordinary and compensatory restitution as lawful. This, however, did not eliminate the very problem of displaced cultural valuables. It only passed from the international legal field to the socio-cultural and ethical sphere.
Events of the past, separated from our times by six decades, conceal problems that are currently of concern for not only Russians or Germans but also for the entire world community.
What we are dealing with is an attempt at revision of the WWII results. Misrepresentation of the recent past is already yielding monstrous fruit. Thus, for instance, it appears that the Red Army and its trophy teams "have inflicted an enormous damage to German cultural heritage, because a bigger ... Читать далее