[FPSPACE] Museum Exhibition runs into political (Russian) problems

Nick Watkins NickWatkins at mykolab.com
Sun Jul 26 09:13:57 EDT 2015


Text is below. It’s the Science Museum (the British Museum is in
Bloomsbury). This exhibition has already been  delayed quite a bit
(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/science-museum-denies-landmark-co
smonaut-exhibition-postponement-is-due-to-britishrussian-tensions-9785956.ht
ml ) so it’s nice to see it happening at last. 

 

See also
http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/plan_your_visit/exhibitions/cosm
onauts.aspx 

 

-------------------------

 

THE Science Museum has invoked an obscure legal clause to prevent exhibits
in a blockbuster space exhibition from being seized as part of a legal
dispute between Russia and shareholders in the oil company Yukos. 

Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age, which opens in September, traces the
history of the Russian side of the space race. It will include many items
never before seen in Britain including sketches of cosmonauts on space walks
dating from the 1930s, along with models of the space lander, the Soyuz
spacecraft and the vehicle that carried Major Valentina Tereshkova, the only
woman to fly into space solo. 

To stage the exhibition, the Science Museum in Kensington, west London, has
taken the extraordinary step of temporarily declaring the machines and
artefacts of the Soviet space programme as British property. 

The exhibits are protected by a legal clause, known as immunity from
seizure, which prevents the Kremlin’s opponents from claiming them to
compensate for losses at the hands of the Russian state. 

Russian officials insisted on extra legal assurances after a tribunal in the
Hague last year awarded $50 billion (£32bn) to shareholders of the former
Yukos oil group. The judgment allows the Yukos owners to start court
proceedings to recover some of the losses incurred when the Kremlin seized
its oil businesses and imprisoned its founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. 

Tim Osborne, a West Country solicitor who represents the Yukos shareholders,
told The Sunday Times that his clients were preparing to target Russian
property, “including travelling exhibitions”, through the courts but only
after completing a series of outstanding legal hurdles. 

“It is premature for Russia to fear we are looking to seize these assets,
given we have not sought recognition for the award in the British courts
yet,” said Osborne, chief executive of GML, which owns the Yukos shares. 

The high-profile exhibition takes place at a time when relations with Russia
have been strained by its annexation of Crimea and its support for
separatists in Ukraine. 

“This is in a way an act of cultural diplomacy and the objects will have
immunity while they are in this country,” the Science Museum said. 

Other objects in the exhibition include space suits for dogs and monkeys and
even a cup used by Sergei Korolev, who oversaw the technological
breakthroughs that led to the first space launches in the 1960s. 

Without Korolev and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the scientist responsible for
the 1930s drawings, the Soviet space programme would never have taken off. 

Although Tsiolkovsky died in 1935, his work provided a blueprint for the
space programme. Korolev was a prisoner in a gulag between 1938-44, although
on his release he ran the space programme until his death in 1966. 

 

 

 

From: FPSPACE [mailto:fpspace-bounces at mail.friends-partners.org] On Behalf
Of Peter Pesavento
Sent: 26 July 2015 13:59
To: FPSPACE at mail.friends-partners.org
Subject: [FPSPACE] Museum Exhibition runs into political (Russian) problems

 

According to the Sunday Times (London), the upcoming space exploration
exhibition in London was seized by the British Museum in Kensington to stop
Yukos Oil from claiming it owns the materials, and seizing them
..?!!?

 

So the Kensington Museum has temporarily invoked an obscure UK legal clause
to stop the dispute, and have claimed the materials as British property
.

 

Article here (but there is more behind a paywall)


 

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Science/article1585740.ece

 

I find it completely shameful that the Russian government is so
inept/corrupt that it has a dispute with Yukos Oil about who owns national
Soviet-era space artefacts
..these artefacts on loan to the Kensington
Museum belong to all Russians, especially the younger generations
.

 

If anyone has the complete news story, please cut-and-paste it, and post it
here on the listserv, so everyone can read it in completeness.

 

Many thanks.

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