Radioactive goods are being looted, stripped, and exported from Chernobyl – video and transcript

Fort Russ
April 28th, 2017
Translation by Tatzhit Mihailovich

Source Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lWp6enOwTQ

FROM THE TRANSLATOR

The 31st anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster this Wednesday has attracted considerable media attention in the West. Most of the publications focused on the event itself. Some talked about the recent “accomplishments” of the Poroshenko regime – erecting a steel containment structure over the old concrete one [1], plans to build a solar power plant at the site, and so on [2].

A few articles, like the Associated Press piece (reprinted by most Western outlets – Washington Post, ABC News, Fox, Daily Mail, etc etc)  used to occasion to highlight “anti-nuclear protest in Belarus” [3].

Finally, one or two articles talked about cool projects in the exclusion zone – such as a few Polish “adventurers” moving a generator into Pripyat and turning lights on (source) – but without discussing e.g. the potential for electrical fires, which would spread radioactive smoke, or the fact that random people can freely roam Pripyat.

No one talked about the real problem – the fact that the “closed zone” around Chernobyl is no longer really “closed”, and that everything of value is being looted and sold to unsuspecting buyers [4]. The interview below discusses this problem.

[pictured: school in the radioactive town of Polesskoe, mentioned in interview below, midway through being disassembled for construction materials. Photo credit to zametkiev LJ.]

Interestingly, the man presenting the evidence (Alexander Medinskiy) is actually a Ukrainian nationalist – or used to be, anyway. He even fought in Donbass, but since coming back from the war, he has seen the effects of “Western democracy” on Ukraine and has become a vocal critic of the new regime, calling it corrupt, dictatorial, and criminal (and was branded a “terrorist sympathizer” in return). So, we can hear a report for an “insider”, as it were.

VIDEO

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
(A) = Aleksandr Medinskiy
(K) = Konstantin Zazvonov

[greetings skipped]

(A) Kostya, everyone in Ukraine understands that the industry is mostly dead, so all that’s left is scrapping the leftovers. Now they are getting into Chernobyl.

(K) Isn’t it supposed to be closed off?

(A) It used to be “restricted” before. And even then, not guarded well. And now, it’s not just lone looters. It goes all the way to the top, so restrictions no longer apply.
Moreover, most of the policemen that were guarding Chernobyl have been laid off now, so it’s standing wide open.

(K) Got it. What exactly is being looted? [Irradiated] vehicles from storage areas, or building materials and infrastructure?

(A) Anything and everything of value, Kostya.
First of all… Let’s show a photo here… On Google photos we can see that in 2002, this “vehicle cemetery” was completely full and by 2013, it was all taken. So first they looted the vehicles – those are the most valuable. Not every last one, but most.

Now they’ve moved on to houses – taking them apart for pipes, rebar, and so on.

Here we can see how the school in Polesskoe [ghost town about 20 mi downwind from the reactor – ed.] is being disassembled into concrete slabs.

No idea where those slabs will turn up, because it is very tricky to figure out the schemes being used there.

But… I can say that, some time ago, businessmen I know personally have bought a load of used metal pipes, supposedly originating from Dnepropetrovsk.

And when the load was delivered, they were smart enough to check it with a radiation counter – the levels were off the charts, pretty much lethal.

They weren’t able to find out where the pipes originated from, but it certainly wasn’t Dnepropetrovsk. Somewhere within the exclusion zone, apparently.

(K) So is it sold within Ukraine, or exported? Or you don’t have that sort of information?

(A) I’ll put it this way. If you really look into what’s happening into exclusion zone, this is a large-scale, industrial effort. They are disassembling buildings using cranes. This isn’t merely a couple hobos trying to scavenge.

We can see heavy construction vehicles being moved in. We can see buildings being disassembled in a professional manner, with cranes.

We can see heavy vehicles being used to drag radioactive barges onto the shore, where they are cut for scrap. There are videos of that as well.
Where does all of this go is anybody’s guess. Some of it is bought by unwary people within Ukraine. Some of the metal is probably molten down, re-cast, and then exported.

Everybody knows that, [unfortunately], our government is among the world’s most corrupt ones. Thus, it is no problem to make real and proper documents verifying that these goods have “successfully passed” radiological inspection.

The real horror of the situation is that these materials can be anywhere in Ukraine now. Those radioactive pipes I told you about – they were brought to the capital!

And after those businessmen refused – where did they take those pipes? Maybe sold them to somebody else?

(K) I’d bet they didn’t take them back to Chernobyl! Yeah, probably resold.

You know, in one of my future videos, I plan to talk about contraband to Poland – how cigarettes and [medical] drugs are being smuggled across the border via drones.

And about Chernobyl – how is it all transported, do you think? How do they smuggle all those vehicles and building materials? Do they do it at night, do they camouflage it, or what?

(A) Let me explain how things work here. “Illegal” smuggling isn’t the main problem here, not really.

The problem is that the government officials are so corrupt, this wave of contraband is going “semi-legally” – through the checkpoints, with all the proper documentation, with knowledge of those in charge.

We’ll talk about that in more detail later. As for items from the exclusion zone, they can be split into several segments.

The most basic category are the hunters, poachers, the people who hunt for meat here. As you can guess, no one checks the meat with any sort of radiation counters.

And the exclusion zone is kind of interesting. There are some patches that are relatively clean, and there are patches that are extremely radioactive.

For example, aforementioned Polesie, [where the school was being taken apart for slabs] – that area is extremely “hot”.

There are people who gather mushrooms, berries, and so on – [Chernobyl] exclusion zone obviously has all of that. And then this food can go to the markets in Kiev, maybe even exported abroad, zero control for that.

Then there are the midlevel “harvesters”, who cut up pipes, rebar, the aforementioned barges, and so on. They pay off the officials and transport the loot semi-legally.

And there is an even higher level. [Irradiated] vehicles aren’t usually cut for scrap, unless they’re completely unserviceable. And if they can still work…

There was discussion of using the remaining helicopters [from the “radiation graveyard”], some tracked vehicles – to use them in the warzone. Can you imagine that?

(K) I thought it was actually done in the end?

(A) I can not claim that it was done. I know it was discussed, that’s all.
So, we can see that the “graveyards” are now empty. Where did the vehicles go…

Maybe they sold the armor to some warring African state. Or to South-East Asia somewhere – not everyone is smart enough to do their own radiological inspection of our country’s exports.

(K) So you suspect UkrSpetsExport (Ukraine’s arms export monopoly – ed.) could have made some money there?

(A) I don’t want to make any such statements. Because we want to be… [Ukrainian word] how do you say this in Russian… We want to be objective, evidence-based.
What I wanted to tell here is that the problem exists, and that its rapidly getting worse.
Right now they’re taking apart Polesskoe, then they’ll move on to Pripyat – the probably already started, then they’ll start taking apart the reactor building itself…

You see, that place can be looted for decades. There are construction materials, scrap metal,  venison, mushrooms, and so on. It can be a serious source of income.

The problem is that the whole government system is corrupt. UkrSpetsExport is part of it, so we can not honestly conclude that it is not involved, either. Any part of the system could be.

(K) Thank you very much for your insights on [what’s currently going in] Chernobyl

(A) Yes, thank you too, for raising awareness about this problem. Its being swept under the rug, not talked about, but it’s actually huge. Radiation is an invisible killer.

There are many survivors of Chernobyl among the Ukrainian people, and they should know about this. Also, this problem needs to be discussed internationally. We will continue investigating this matter over here.

(K) Thank you Alex. Use your radiation counter, be safe. All the best!

NOTES:

[1] The project was funded by foreign countries, started in 2007 and slated for completion in 2014.
Of course, the Maidan “revolution” set the project back a few years and incurred mysterious additional costs that required further foreign funding. In the end, the new regime was able to claim credit for finishing a project they didn’t start, didn’t pay for, and actually delayed.
[2] An interesting contrast can be seen here: VOA propagandists claim that the Chernobyl solar plant will generate 2.5 Gw and the project will be complete by May (link), while the somewhat more reasonable BBC propagandists talk about 1 Gw, built by 2019 or so (link).
In reality, most likely, none of these output figures and deadlines will be met – no work has been done so far, and no contracts have been signed.
[3] There is almost no information on this anti-nuclear protest in Belorussian or Russian-language sources; even the Youtube videos put out by the organizers have a couple thousand views at most.
The number of Western journalists and bloggers discussing this tiny gathering of professional “opposition activists” might very well be greater than the number of actual Belorussians who support the protesters.

[4] The lack of attention to what’s going on in the exclusion zone is especially puzzling considering how much the Western mass media love scaring their audiences – fear is the most powerful of human emotions, after all, and scare stories bring the most ad profits.
I suppose that in this case, profits had to take a back seat to the political goal of supporting the Poroshenko regime.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/04/open-ukraine-radioactive-goods-are.html

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To understand why Russians love Putin, you should look back to his first term — a businessman’s tale

From Fort Russ

Feb 24th
PREFACE by Tatzhit
I translated three short stories that capture very well what Russians think about Putin. To put them in context, I have included my thoughts on the subject in the small “postscriptum” section below. Read my ramblings, or draw your own conclusions.

The first story is written from a first-person perspective, and describes how Russia was before Putin, what he changed, and what people learned from it. Essentially, it explains why even profit-minded businessmen, suffering from economic problems and unimpressed with Russia’s foreign policy, continue to support the current government because of the hard lessons of the 90s.

The other two pieces are from a satirical author, one written about the time when Putin took power, and the other about him later, as the “Tsar”. These two are quite over the top, but I think there is a big grain of truth in them as well – if not about the real Putin, then about the popular view of him.

===
#1: A Businessman’s Story
I remember Perestroika well. Marlboro cigs for 1.50 appeared at our supermarket, and we smoked them enthusiastically, sitting in the gazebo at the neighboring playground. The taste of them was magical – far, far better than the Soviet “Kosmos” for 0.70. The future as adults was no longer certain, but also seemed magical through the smoke, like in an American movie. It took me many years to realize why we thought that…

And then everybody was suddenly into politics. Intellectuals all started hating on long-dead Stalin, the Communists refused to compromise, popular newspapers constantly published this or that “historic discovery”. When I returned from the army and saw people standing in lines for some crap cigs from Bulgaria, which were rationed to boot, I first found myself feeling [as a character in a bad comedy, and not Hollywood movie]. But even then, I still did not understand.

That happened later – I stepped into adult life, and understood how politics works.

At one point, watching dumb mugs on TV struggle under the weight of arrogance and inability to form coherent sentences became unbearable. How can those “democrats” run the country, if they can’t even organize their own thoughts? By the time Yeltsin’s tanks shelled their Parliament, I already wasn’t interested – politics turned into a murky sideshow which only occasionally had some effect in real life.

Meanwhile, real life went into full “rat race” mode, chasing money above all, with brief breaks to celebrate small “victories”, ridiculous by today’s standards.

Strolling across flea markets, filled with brand-name clothes all of a sudden. Flashing across night-time roads on my first “beamer”. Endless ruins moving past the train windows, [the country’s factories and infrastructure – sold to murky investors for pennies on the dollar, and immediately scrapped for a quick buck] stretching all the way from Moscow to St. Pete.

It would be wrong to say that we weren’t [celebrating freedom]. After all, freedom is when rules and restrictions disappear, right? There was even a children’s book like this – “A holiday of Disobedience”, [about children who were left to do as they please by their parents, and how short-lived their euphoria was]. That’s exactly what happened – after the official dismantling of the state, it slowly disappeared from people’s heads. Nobody was left to establish order, and the rules were set by those who have managed to steal something big, or bribe their way into government positions.
The whole country played Cowboys and Indians. There was no law enforcement – except those men in blue uniforms who existed solely to collect bribes on highways, and pass almost all of their loot higher up the ladder. Everyone lied and stole. Some guys were dodging the draft, some were stealing from their jobs, nobody I knew paid any taxes.

Yes, a lot of it started back when USSR went off track. But in Soviet times, people still obeyed most laws. They went to official jobs, had apartments they legally owned, etc. Yes, even back then some people bought stuff on the black market and could pay a bribe for a driver’s license exam, but those who did that were a tiny minority. Slightly more people nicked stuff from work, but in general they took something insignificant. Most people could honestly think of themselves as good, upstanding citizens. Plus the “real men” of the WWII generation were still around.

And then, in a few years, the whole country and all its inhabitants became lawless and illegitimate. Getting a fake stamp in your Social Security or visa paperwork became a common thing. You could pay off anyone – the judge, the fire department, the EPA. Businesses completely ignored the government and produced fake financial statements with unbelievable numbers, which worked because the tax collectors knew everything, and were overlooking it for a small sum. “Business raiders” – those who made money by illegally taking over and looting businesses – were heroes on TV. Kids in kindergartens didn’t play Cops vs Robbers – just Robbers vs Robbers [1].

And I was an integral part of this lawlessness. I fudged our accounting books and didn’t think anything of it. I paid wages under the table and casually handed out bribes when I needed to register our semi trucks or buy off a tax inspector. I was kicking out contractors that used my shops to sell their own goods. I smuggled in everything, without a second thought – importing legally did not make sense, we would not be able to compete. I even drove around a car that was imported illegally, and simply bought it back for $100 each time it was impounded. I laundered money via fictional companies, and created legal entities using the identities of hobos from the street. Put forged stamps on forged invoices. I moved cash by the trash bag, and even bought an illegal handgun just in case. I was friends with the mafia guys who were protecting my business, and tagged along when they had “matters to discuss” with rivals.

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Erdogan complicit in massive industrial theft from Syria

From Veterans Today 

Justice Ministry expands tasks of committee following up on theft of industrial facilities

By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor
October 10, 2015

The Syrian Minister of Justice, Najm al Ahmad, has begun an unprecedented process. He is using legal authority and international courts to address what has been the invisible dark side of Turkish intervention in Syria, the systematic looting of Syria’s industrial base.

Between 2012 and 2014, dozens of industrial facilities including automobile assembly plants from Aleppo and Idleb province were systematically dismantled and transported into Turkey including all machinery, parts inventories, even the light fixtures.

This wasn’t destruction, these factories were moved into Turkey, piece by piece, transported by heavy trucks where over an estimated $3 billion of Syria’s industrial base was given out, according to sources, to Turkish President Erdogan’s political supporters, members of the Turkish military and US backed “moderate rebels” whose leadership is believed to be fully complicit in what can only be termed “piracy” on an unprecedented scale.

Northern Syria’s considerable industrial base is now in Turkey or sold off across Europe, conceal in the endless line of trucks that haul Turkish goods, the “sweatshop of Europe,” into the markets of Frankfurt, London and Paris.  From SANA:

Justice Minister Najm al-Ahmad issued a decision on Friday on expanding the tasks of the legal committee formed in August to prepare legal action against the terrorist gangs that dismantled industrial facilities in Aleppo and Idleb provinces and smuggled them to Turkey.

The new resolutions stipulates that, in addition to its original tasks of prosecuting any legal or natural persons that contributed to the aforementioned stealing of facilities, the committee is now tasked with preparing legal action on the cases related to the dismantling of industrial facilities in the provinces of Deir Ezzor, Raqqa, Hasaka, and Qamishli, and/or the stealing of any materials and equipment imported for facilities within Syria within the same provinces, and transporting them to Turkey.

Turkish “looting brigades” aided by Turkish military operating deep inside Syria and in full coordination with the Free Syrian Army, ISIS, Jabat al Nusra along with many leaders of Turkey’s business community.

Sources inside Turkey claim that President Erdogan was personally involved and received regular updates and a full accounting of goods stolen and how they were distributed because of his concern for “corruption.”

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/10/10/erdogan-complicit-in-massive-industrial-theft-from-Syria/

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

Russian consulate bombed and looted in Yemen; Saudis prohibit Russian plane to evacuate embassy staff

Posted on Fort Russ

Aden, Yemen
April 2, 2015

Translated by Kristina Rus
The Shiite rebels attacked and looted the Russian Consulate in Aden. They broke down the door of the Consulate building, and looted the consulate property and office equipment. The militants loaded the equipment and documents into cars and fled in an unknown direction. At the time of the attack there were no workers in the Russian Consulate.

Earlier the Russian Consulate in Aden was damaged in the bombing of the largest city in the South of Yemen by Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia. This was reported by the Russian Embassy in Yemen.

The source admitted that there was not a single window left in the building. He added that the Russian Consulate may be closed and Russian citizens evacuated.

On Wednesday, April 1, a Russian plane was not allowed to board on the territory of Yemen in order to evacuate the citizens of the Russian Federation. In early March the UN international staff was evacuated from Yemen. Germany, Japan, USA and Turkey already announced about suspending embassy operations.

A Russian plane is waiting at Cairo airport for permission to land in Sana’a. It has to evacuate Russian diplomats and Russian women who are married to the Yemenis. Despite the prior agreement, Saudi Arabia still does not allow the Russian plane to land in Sana’a.

Ukraine: How can this happen? Here is how.

By Eric Zuesse
Posted on Global Research, February 17, 2015
—————————————————————–
How can this happen?

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/02/ukrainian-soldiers-break-into-house.html

Here is how:

http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/ukraines-land-agency-give-land-to-soldiers-in-the-east-for-free-352100.html

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 6.48.31 PM

So: Ukraine’s troops are permitted to steal whatever they want from the residents in Donbass, the rebelling region. The particular victim here lives in an apartment, and so all that Ukraine’s troops can take from him are his belongings.

He’s lucky they didn’t shoot him (if they didn’t).

The cover story in the 4 August 2014 issue of TIME was: “In Russia, Crime Without Punishment: Vladimir Putin backs the rebels …”

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 6.56.26 PM

Would a more-honest news-report have been titled, “In America, Crime Without Punishment: Barack Obama institutes ethnic cleansing in southeast Ukraine”?

Or, perhaps: “Crime Without Punishment: TIME magazine lies about Russia and Ukraine”?

Either way: How can such things as this happen?

Well, both things did — the ethnic cleansing did and does, and the cover-up of it and of its source did and does.

And that’s the biggest uncovered news-story of our time: both the ongoing crime, and its ongoing cover-up.

The present news-report is being distributed to virtually all U.S. ‘news’ media for publication, so that readers of all which do publish it (which can be determined by a google-search of this news-report’s headline) can come to know, from all that do not (show there), which ‘news’ media (other than TIME) are co-conspirators with Obama, in deceiving the American public into hiding reality so as to encourage further movement toward a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia — a nuclear war in which America (and definitely not Russia) was the instigator. (Even the founder of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor acknowledges that the February 2014 overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovuch, which started this, was “the most blatant coup in history” — and it was run from the U.S. White House. It precipitated, as a purely defensive measure by Russia, Russia’s accepting Crimea’s bid to rejoin Russia: Crimea had been since 1783 the base for Russia’s crucial Black Sea fleet, which Obama wanted to kick out of there.)

Any news-media that issue this news-report are honest, because the news-report itself is (and none of them is being charged anything to publish it; so, expense is not involved here). Any that don’t issue it, each reader can judge — and nobody has to wait for a nuclear war in order to do so; the ‘news’ media can be judged right now, because this coup occurred a year ago, and yet still it has not been reported in the U.S. as having been a coup (this overthrow was supposedly instead a result of ‘the democratic Maidan demonstrations’ that were actually used merely as a cover for it).

Furthermore, the present reporter offers to all other journalists the full text of the only thorough investigation that was ever done regarding the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych, a rigorous scientific analysis of all of the existing evidence. It concludes exactly as did the European Union’s investigator when he first reported on 26 February 2014 that it had been a coup, which had been perpetrated by “someone” allied with the EU (presumably by the U.S. White House); it shocked Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign-affairs chief, when she learned it from him. This lengthy subsequent independent investigation into the matter is by far the most thorough examination that exists of the event, and it is titled, “The ‘Snipers’ Massacre’ on the Maidan in Ukraine.” Its author is University of Ottawa political scientist, Dr. Ivan Katchanovski. Any ‘news’ medium that decides not to publish the present news report about this American international atrocity, and that also does not at least request from me (or from Dr. Katchanovski) that full investigative report by Katchanovski about how this ethnic cleansing started, is clearly not interested in reporting the truth, regarding what is actually the most important international-affairs news-story of the past year, since the February 2014 coup, at least — the only matter that could very possibly end up producing World War III. (Obama wanted a proxy war against Russia to soften them up for the real thing; and the result is all of this bloodshed in Ukraine during and since that coup a year ago.) So: nobody can say that the reason it’s not being reported is that it’s not important news (now become history) to report. It was, and (unfortunately) still is.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Ukraine is looting its own museums

From Oriental Review, January 28, 2-15
Ukraine is plundering its own museums on the way to Europe
By Victor Lipnitsky (Ukraine), Urmas Eckholm (Finland)

The looting of museums and the private collections of well-heeled fellow citizens seems to be an inevitable byproduct of all revolutions. The rebels Robespierre and Cromwell did so in the name of revolution, and during the fighting in the Middle East, hundreds of rare items have vanished from the national museums in Cairo and Baghdad and the Babylon Museum complex. The pandemonium at Maidan and the general free-for-all in Kiev and throughout Ukraine has also made it possible for property to be seized at will. The criminal world is extremely sensitive to social and political unrest and has moved rapidly to restore its old ties with its reliable “shady customers” from the highest echelons of power who are in the market for antiquities.

Looted museum of history Kiev

On the night of Feb. 18, 2014 unknown persons ransacked the collections of the Museum of the History of Kiev, located on the fourth and fifth floors of the Ukrainian House convention center. The museum’s storage area was devastated, and it was several months before the number of objects stolen from their displays could be determined. Some of the exhibits, such as the 19th-century tableware produced by the Volokitinsky porcelain works, were simply destroyed. Paleolithic bones were trampled under revolutionary feet.

Olga Drug, the head of the museum division, reported, “The thugs tossed a large 18th-century icon, The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, into a corner of the room. They wrapped the image in a dress embroidered with gold and silver threads, which is over 200 years old and was only recently restored. The dress ripped. For some reason, they left the icon, but stole a porcelain sculpture of Empress Catherine II, made at the Gardner porcelain works near Moscow in 1780 and with an estimated value of $50,000.”

Kavaler, porcelain, Miklashevsky factory, XIX century

Among the missing items was a knife with a blade of Damascus steel and a handle of mammoth tusk, worth $25,000, plus a few sabers valued at about $10,000 each. The thieves took some sacred objects from the early 20th century – the icons The Virgin and Child, Christ, and The Ascension of the Lord, plus an image of St. Nicholas the miracle worker. The market value of each of these icons ranges from $2,000-$2,500. A copy of the Gospels was also stolen ($2,000-$4,000). At the same time, a 19th-century sculpture of children playing the piano was snatched ($1,500), as was a handbag from the same century ($1,000), a silk embroidered tablecloth from the first half of the 19th century that had only just returned from the restoration studio ($5,000), an 18th-century English clock ($2,000-$2,500), and much more. According to the museum staff, the estimated cost of all that was taken exceeded $200,000.

The builders of a “new Ukraine” have ruthlessly stolen property that is part of Ukraine’s historical heritage, pilfering not only from the past, but from the future as well. The Museum of Gifts at the Kiev Mayor’s Office, located in the same building as Kiev’s city hall (which has been “seized by the people”) was looted. Working on a tip, they also raided collections in private homes as well as exhibits being shown at private viewings – everywhere that housed objects of interest to potential customers.

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ABdtFbLAekg&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Faced with the revolutionaries’ massive exportation of stolen works of art, the Ukrainian Customs Service has stepped up inspections on the Polish and Slovak borders, as well as within Kiev. The magnitude of the contraband being seized by customs is evidence of the scale of the theft. For example, opening an unremarkable case, customs officers in Kiev discovered a rare musical instrument signed by the master Giovanni Paolo Maggini.

In the spring of 2014, the staff of the eastern customs division blocked two attempts to illegally export an 1884 icon and an 1890 Bible through the Novoazovsk customs checkpoint.

In November 2014, workers at customs control at the Borispol airport recorded yet another attempt to illegally export a large shipment of precious stones and amber weighing almost 235 kg.

Recently, customs staff in Lvov detained another group of lawbreakers trying to spirit 18 gold coins out of the country. Experts estimate the cost of each of them to be at least $10,000. An entire collection of ancient weapons was also intercepted that had been stolen from museums in Kiev and other cities. The state returned some pictures by Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.

chastini_model_garmati_18_stUkrainian customs officials believe that the most stable “currency” being exported today from post-revolutionary Ukraine consists of art (paintings, icons, and sculptures) and antiques (weapons, coins, jewelry, and books).

Arseniy Yatsenyuk is the “icon of style” for Ukrainian citizens who might slip an item from a museum into a bag or tuck a rare piece of jewelry into a pocket. In the spring of 2014, he announced that a collection of Scythian gold currently in the Netherlands, which had been shipped from museums in the Crimea for display at the Allard Pierson Archaeological Museum in Amsterdam, was actually the property of Ukraine.

This case includes one interesting detail. When Valentin Nalivaychenko, then the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), was in the process of being appointed the ambassador to the US in the spring of 2009, the Ukrainians decided to probe the attitude of the US State Department. Washington’s answer shocked Kiev – American officials informed them that they possessed reliable data indicating that Nalivaychenko had committed serious violations of Finnish law when he worked at the Ukrainian embassy in Helsinki. Using his diplomatic status, Nalivaychenko had set up a pipeline for smuggling antiquities. With their customary attention to detail, the Finnish police recorded every fact in writing, which naturally they shared with their American friends. They requested that the matter not proceed any further. And now, given the exceptional nature of the US-Ukrainian partnership, the US State Department has recommended that Kiev not move the issue to an official level, i.e., that they not request agrément for the country’s chief spy, suspecting that at the most inopportune moment this sensitive information might become public knowledge and have a fatal effect on the progressive development of their bilateral relations. But in fact, the CIA needed Nalivaychenko for what Washington saw as a key post – as head of the SBU. So there’s the story.

Time is passing. The valuables won during the battles of the “Revolution of Dignity” are slowly but surely trickling abroad. Apparently, Ukraine’s cultural and historical heritage is being amassed in Europe to act as a dowry for an aging bride. But the Ukrainian people will most likely find themselves bereft of their valuables, their historical heritage, and even Europe itself.

Source in Russian: RusVesna

Re-posted on
http://orientalreview.org/2015/01/28/ukraine-is-plundering-its-own-museums-on-the-way-to-europe/