Cristian Terhes: Russia must return cultural treasure

MEPs in Strasbourg today pointed out that Russia has been holding Romanian cultural artefacts since the First World War and called for their return in a resolution.

Romanian ECR MEP Cristian Terhes said:

“In 1916-1917, when more than half of the country was occupied during the First World War, Romania sent its treasures to Russia for safekeeping, to be returned after the war. With the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the Bolsheviks under Lenin, who had taken power in Russia, abrogated the agreements signed by Tsarist Russia to return the treasure to Romania, so it was not returned to Romania after the war. This attitude of the Soviet authorities continues to this day”.

Terhes continued:

“We demand the immediate and unconditional return of the Romanian national treasure, which has been illegally in Russian possession for over 100 years, as well as compensation and current interest for the fact that the Romanian nation has not been able to enjoy and use this treasure in its own interest, to which it rightfully belongs.

“Romania’s case is not unique: Russia still has cultural assets and treasures from other European countries that it has looted over time, such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and others.

“These treasures are part of our national heritage, which is part of the European heritage, and must be protected from Russian aggression and imperialism.”

The debate followed a petition by the Romanian NGO “Together We Bring Prosperity”, which called on the EU to help return Romania’s national treasures.

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