Posts tagged ‘Russia’

October 16, 2017

antiquities trafficking and espionage in the Cold War and the New Cold War

State financing and assassination in the Cold War

As I noted on my doctoral research blog on Cultural Heritage in Conflict (and as Peter Campbell found elsewhere), there is secure evidence of conflict antiquities trafficking by Communist Bulgaria (the People’s Republic of Bulgaria) during the Cold War. There is also secure evidence of connections between state criminals who trafficked arms from Bulgaria and deep state criminals who trafficked drugs (heroin) from Turkey, at a time when drug traffickers from Turkey also trafficked antiquities.

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August 23, 2017

impossible numbers for metal detectorists online in Ukraine and possible explanations

One of the reasons that I have been so quiet is that I have been trying to fathom the depths of some bewildering material (in relation to the subject of this post and other cases).

As part of my ongoing analysis of metal detecting (an open-source analysis of quantitative data), I have gathered evidence of more than 100,000 treasure-hunters in the Central-Eastern European region of Belarus, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. However, I have also found evidence of impossible numbers in communities for Ukraine, which cannot easily be explained.

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August 17, 2015

APAA appeal on archaeological work in Ukraine’s Russia-occupied/annexed Crimea

[I am still on jury duty. I wrote this on the weekend.]

Last year, I considered (and summarised) the possibilities for excavation in Crimea under annexation. On the 6th of August 2015, the All-Ukrainian Public Association of Archaeologists (APAA) issued an appeal to archaeologists of the Russian Federation. It has been published in Ukrainian, Russian and English and it is being discussed on Facebook. (I have corrected typos and clarified the translation of a few words or phrases.)

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August 17, 2015

Chersonesus: nationalist state annexation and internationalist professional resistance

[I am still on jury service. I wrote this on the weekend.]

Having annexed Crimea territorially on the 18th of March 2014 (a month after which, the Ukraine-licensed archaeologists at Chersonesus were attacked by gunmen), the Russian state redoubled its efforts to annex Crimea culturally. On the 4th of December 2014, President Vladmimir Putin repeated an age-old Russian nationalist historical narrative and insisted that it was ‘in Crimea, in ancient Chersonesus, or Korsun as the Russian chroniclers called it, that Prince Vladimir took baptism, before he baptized all of Rus’‘.

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July 14, 2015

Financial investment in the antiquities market: a premium price for looted antiquities?

Just in case readers did not see last month’s updates to the story of the six-century-old “Syrian” tile trafficked from a shrine in Syria, which was in fact a twelve-decade-old Persian tile transported from a seller in France, I thought I would highlight them in the light of a few other stories about the market-end of the antiquities trade, because they hint at something that may be quite significant.

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June 7, 2015

Was the plaque in Finland sold on the French market with an accurate description and estimate, then resold into the Russian market with an inaccurate description and estimate?

[Original title: Were the antiquities going to Russia from Syria or Iran or France?]

On the 5th of June, it was reported that ‘Isis-looted treasures’ had been ‘seized en route to Russia’, then that an ‘”Isis looted” Syrian Ottoman ceramic bound for Russia’ had been ‘seized in Finland‘. Unfortunately, the speech marks in the second headline were supposed to undermine the first, but sounded like confirmation. More troublingly, every piece of information about the ceramic in both reports appears to have been wrong.

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February 7, 2015

Terrorist antiquities trading and state arms smuggling between Syria and Turkey

The antiquities trade rules in the Russia-drafted United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution against terrorist financing have been reviewed by China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States – and revised (or most significantly revised) by the United States.

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February 5, 2015

Resolution against terrorist antiquities trading is welcome, but why not resolution against conflict antiquities trading?

Russia is drafting a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution to combat terrorist financing, which will specifically target illicit trading in antiquities by the Islamic State.

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June 10, 2014

Ukraine: illicit antiquities trade recap

Behind the fog of war and the smoke of the propaganda machine, there is evidence that Ukraine’s kleptocratic former regime engaged in illicit antiquities collecting, whether through the embezzlement of cultural goods from museums or the purchase of illegally excavated archaeological material. The grey nature of the antiquities market facilitates money laundering, so its investigation will contribute to financial asset recovery and prosecution of powerful, transnational criminal networks, as well as cultural property restitution and the minimisation of harm to the cultural heritage/tourist economy.

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April 18, 2014

Unknown gunmen attacked Chersonesos dig team, rejected Ukrainian excavation licence

Unrelenting bad news: ‘in Sevastopol, near Fiolenta [Bay], unknown persons shot at archaeologists, [who were] leading official excavations [В Севастополе в районе Фиолента неизвестные обстреляли археологов, ведущих официальные раскопки]’. No-one was injured in the incident, which lasted half an hour(?), but the police investigation will not be able to reach a reassuring conclusion.

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