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Theft for art's sake.

In a thoroughly shameful development, the government has decided to legalise theft. It has decided to overthrow the basic foundation of the law on property, that being that title passes by consent. And for why? That an exhibition of art from the Russian Federation might be exhibited at the Royal Academy (links to be included when back at a PC). Title to some of the works is disputed, given that they were looted / expropriated / stolen by the RF's predecessor, the late and unlamented USSR. Without this upending of basic property rights, lawsuits by the legal title holders were likely to ensue. Doubtless many of the canvasses are of great merit, but that is nowhere near a good enough reason. The government, the Academy and all others involved in this despicable assault on property rights should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
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Blogger Mrs Smallprint said... 1:31 pm

I quite agree, if the Russians are not confident of good title then they should not be granted a get out. Better by far not to display the works than to compromise our integrity in this way.  

Blogger Mrs Smallprint said... 1:31 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:37 pm

Thank you for concurring.  

Blogger Snafu said... 7:09 pm

I totally agree! I wonder why it hasn't been picked up by anyone else!  

Blogger Dave Cole said... 10:15 pm

I'm sorry, but I disagree with you.

Both the Russian and UK ends of the exhibition would have been aware of any contested title to works of art well in advance. The collection that Russia has is vast - the Hermitage alone has three million works - and there are long standing links between Russian art galleries and Western Europe (indeed, part of the Hermitage collection is at Somerset House in London). The entire thing smacks of Russia looking for a cheap PR victory.

It is rather better to foster the dialogue between Russia and the UK in the hope of improving relations, and that dialogue must be cultural as well as political.

If we were to go all out on property rights in Russia, we would not be able to buy a single cubic metre of gas from them.  

Blogger Dave Cole said... 10:19 pm

(blank post so I can get followup comments)  

Anonymous Hermann Brauning said... 10:41 am

Kultur?....dann entsichere ich meine Goering..  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:45 am

Dave, if the situation is as you say it is, then the fact of the government passing legislation purely in order to please a foreign government is remarkably shameful, is it not?  

Blogger Dave Cole said... 12:51 am

I don't know as to whether it's shameful, but if it's a means of avoiding conflict, I would say that discretion is the better part of valour.

Equally, it's something that happens relatively often; every country that joins the EU has to accept the acquis communautaire.

The problem here is a belligerent, nationalist Russia; there are different ways of responding to it, but to resort to counter-nationalism by calling it 'shameful' isn't going to get us very far.  

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