Backing off some of the more belligerent comments made recently by the Foreign Ministry, Russian President Vladimir Putin has nonetheless signalled that Russia has no plans to return the Chabad library to comply with a 2010 judgment or the more recent sanctions order. Both Reuters and the Art Newspaper reported that Putin proposed to store the Schneerson library in the newly built Jewish Museum in Moscow. Putin stated "The Schneerson Collection belongs to Russia. . . .If we now open a Pandora's box and start satisfying similar requests, there will be no end to these claims. Maybe one day we will be able to do this, but now we are absolutely not ready for this. This is impossible," Putin said." That statement simply begs the question of what the Pandora's box is that Putin fears. Russia has, for example, refused for years even to discuss cultural artifacts taken to the Soviet Union as the German army retreated in World War II. The more conciliatory tone is a marked change from recent threats to try to find the United States in default in retalation for the recent sanctions order, although it does little to address the fundamental dispute.
It’s been a few weeks since the House passed the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act (H.R. 4086) and sent it on to the Senate for consideration as S.B. 2212. It has bipartisan sponsorship there (Dianne Feinstein and Orrin Hatch), but no word yet on when it will be put to a vote.
Topics: Russian embargo, Girolamo Romano, Dianne Feinstein, Nazi-looted art, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1603, 22 U.S.C. § 2459, Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rogue, Hermann Goring, Collections, FSIA, Restitution, 19 U.S.C. § 1595a, Schneerson library, Orrin Hatch, Senate Bill 2212, World War II, IFSA, Foreign Sovereign Immunities, Portrait of Wally, Immunity from Seizure Act, Customs, Chabad, Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity