Under Putin’s new martial law decree Russian forces can legally loot art in Ukraine

Image - Grigory Potemkin:Mikhail Markovskiy/shutterstock

Under Putin’s new martial law decree introduced on 19th October 2022, Russian forces can legally loot art in Ukraine. 

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin introduced the new martial law decree in annexed Ukrainian territories earlier this month. Under the guise of “preservation”, his decree has also explicitly “legalised” the looting of art and artefacts from Ukraine including ancient gold treasure, paintings and Prince Potemkin’s mummified remains, as reported by The Art Newspaper. 

According to the same source, Ukrainian Press already claim that Russians have been removing artefacts from museums in Kherson, a city in Southern Ukraine which was conquered in March of this year. However, it was in May, when the secret removal of the most valuable objects had already started, that the Russian army were allegedly at risk of a potential Ukrainian counterattack. 

The looting of valuable art and artefacts has supposedly been authorised by Putin in several museums throughout Ukraine, including the Shovkunenko Regional Art Museum and the Kherson Regional Museum. 

Several Soviet era monuments to Russian imperial heroes General Aleksandr Suvorov and Admiral Fyodor Ushakov have also been dismantled and removed. The replica monument built in honour of Prince Grigory Potemkin (1739-1791), a Russian military leader, statesman, nobleman and favourite of Catherine the Great, built in 2003 after the original monument disappeared during the second world war, has also been dismantled. 

However, not only has Potemkin’s statue been dismantled, but his mummified remains have also been exhumed from the Cathedral of St Catherine in Kherson and transferred to an unknown location. 


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Image - Annie Dabb
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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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