The Art of Sanctioning: the NACP together with MKIP start work within Art Sanct Task Force
The National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy (MKIP) is starting joint work within the framework of the Art Sanct Task Force. The working group’s goal is to track sanctions violations in global operations on the art market and prevent illegal trade in art and antiquities stolen by the occupiers in Ukraine during the war.
According to UNESCO, more than 230 cultural objects have already been damaged in Ukraine, many of them were looted by rioters. According to Ukraine, as of February 1, 2023, more than 1,500 objects of cultural heritage and cultural infrastructure were damaged or destroyed. Unfortunately, it is increasingly possible to observe how important archaeological finds, books, objects of folk and fine art from Ukraine are put up for sale at various auctions and galleries around the world.
What will the Art Sanct Working Group do?
The Art Sanct Task Force has two main tasks:
- identifying art objects stolen during the war in Ukraine and preventing their free circulation in the world;
- search for artistic assets of sanctioned Russians with the aim of further freezing these assets and confiscating them.
“In cooperation with Ukrainian and world representatives of the art market, international experts, in particular members of the Art Sanct Task Force and the Stanford International Working Group on Russian Sanctions, we plan to completely change the approach to sanctions in the art sphere. The NACP has experience in creating innovative IT-products. The lack of a single database of Ukrainian art objects stolen during the war contributes to their illegal circulation. We plan to create a special database of art objects stolen from Ukrainian private and state collections, with the aim of their identification and return to Ukraine. This work will be carried out separately to prevent circumvention of sanctions, i.e. search for artistic assets of sanctioned Russians, subsequent freezing of these assets, confiscation and, in the future, transfer to Ukraine. We plan to unite these objects within the framework of a single base, which will make it easier for participants with integrity principles of the art market to carry out “sanction” checks and make it more difficult for Russian oligarchs to sell such assets,” – said Oleksandr Novikov, the Head of the NACP.
“Russia systematically violates the laws of war and commits crimes against cultural heritage. The occupiers leave behind looted and destroyed museums, mined libraries, and destroyed monuments. And although the aggressor country completely despises international law, despite the fact that it is a member of UNESCO and a signatory of a number of international treaties, in particular, the 1954 Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, Russia will have to answer for all war crimes against Ukraine without exception. We are currently working to identify all that was stolen by the Russians in Ukraine, and are in contact with international and Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and specialized organizations to prevent the international traffic of stolen art and bring Russia to justice. For this we have to systematize this work. For this purpose, we are starting close cooperation with the National Agency on Corruption Prevention within the framework of the Art Sanct Task Force,” – emphasized the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachenko.
Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, the NACP, as the largest analytical body in Ukraine, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (MFA), the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine and other institutions began work on the formation of sanctions lists of Russians involved in starting a war against our country.
The role of the NACP in sanctions policy is provided for in the Individual Sanctions Roadmap developed by the Stanford International Working Group on Russian Sanctions.
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Illustration / Cover Image: collage by Max Nykyforiv
Collage is based on fragments of two images:
– artwork by Claude Monet “Le Bassin aux Nympheas” (1919), which as reported by media was purchased for 40.9 million pounds by Andrey Melnichenko, who was recently sanctioned in connection with the Russia’s war against Ukraine (image christies.com);
– building of Mariupol Museum of Local History/Art Museum of Kuindzhi, which was destroyed during warfare in March 2022 (image Reuters, radiosvoboda.org)