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Mikhail Shvydkoi has called to improve the situation in respect to museums
Head of the Federal Culture and Cinematography Agency Mikhail Shvydkoi has called to improve the situation in respect to museums and change methods of work with the museum personnel. Shvydkoi spoke at an extraordinary meeting of the Presidium of the Union of Museums of Russia on Monday. "This does not mean that all the museum workers are stripped of the presumption of innocence, but that should change the relationship and the situation in museums," Shvydkoi said. "The Hermitage incident is a result of underestimation of the social impact, low salaries that provoked people, who had priceless values within reach, to crime, " he said. There were many other factors not merely of disciplinary character that provoked the crime, he added. Svydkoi called to ensure museum security, improve work with museum personnel and fulfill museum security instructions. " We have a good system of catalogues and storage, all we need is to comply," he said. He underlined the importance of compliance with the president’s instructions on comprehensive inventory of cultural values belonging to Russia's museum fund. " The president’s instructions apply to every museum that will have to do unpleasant things, but it can't be helped. At issue is the fate of the museum community, and we should defend this community," Shvydkoi said. Head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Law in mass communications and Protection of Cultural Heritage Boris Boyarskov called to create instruments of public control over the situation in museums in order to make museum activities more open and transparent both in the field of financing and inventory. "The Hermitage theft was a hard ordeal to all of us. We should radically change the attitude and employ new technologies for control and storage of museum exhibits," Boyarskov said. According to the figures released by his agency, around 50- 100 incidents of museum theft are reported every year. The chiefs of the biggest Russian museums who attended the extraordinary meeting of the Presidium of the Russian Union of Museums have made recommendations for ensuring safety of museum collections. The meeting was convened following theft of 221 exhibits from the Hermitage, whose total value was put at approximately 130 million roubles.
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