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Internal security will be enhanced at the Hermitage following the theft of artwork and jewelry from Russia's largest art museum
Internal security will be enhanced at the Hermitage following the theft of artwork and jewelry from Russia's largest art museum, its director said Wednesday. The Hermitage announced at the end of July that 221 items, including icons, medieval and 19th-century jewelry, and silverware and enamels, had been stolen from its Russian section. The theft was uncovered during a routine check. "Speaking of security, we often mean external security, which is all right. But we pay less attention to internal security, and now we must change the whole scheme, but do it carefully," Mikhail Piotrovsky told a roundtable on security issues. He said it was necessary to raise the museum staff's professional awareness and to improve the status of curators. The multi-million dollar haul of artwork, and the disappearance of a famous architect's drawings from storage in the Hermitage, prompted President Vladimir Putin to order inventories of museum collections nationwide. Piotrovsky said inventories could enable the creation of a single catalogue of Russia's museum assets and serve as a basis for the development of an operation and security scheme for museums throughout Russia. Participants at the roundtable - Russian museum directors - were unanimous that security was unsatisfactory in museums. They said the main problems included poor equipment, the quality and rising costs of security services, and a shortage of funds.
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