Last tsar’s medallion returns to Russia four years after theft
The U.S. ambassador to Russia on Thursday handed to Russian officials a medallion belonging to Russia’s last emperor stolen from Russia’s largest museum in 2006.
The silver medallion, featuring a portrait of Peter the Great and belonging to Russia’s last Tsar Nicholas II, was among 221 items worth a total of around $5 million stolen from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
The medallion was found by Russian investigators at a U.S. online auction and retrieved with the help of U.S. law enforcers.
U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle said the recovery of the museum item was not just “a detective story about a small medallion,” but an example of “successful cooperation” in improving ties between the two states.
The theft of the museum pieces, which included icons, medieval and 19th-century jewelry, silverware and enamels, was carried out by a museum worker, Lidia Zavadskaya. The plot was discovered during a routine inventory check. Some 30 items have been found to date.
Zavadskaya died during the investigation, her husband, who helped her sell the rare objects to antique and pawn shops, was fined 7.3 million rubles ($154,000) and sentenced to five years in prison in 2007.
MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti)