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

Max White bmews at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 27 04:52:02 EDT 2015

This is the piece in text format:
Science Museum thwarts seizure of Russian space treasures
Damien McElroy Published: 26 July 2015Comment (0) PrintKonstantin Tsiolkovsky was a key pioneer in the Soviet space programmeKonstantin Tsiolkovsky was a key pioneer in the Soviet space programme (Sovfoto/Getty Images)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: pjp961 at svol.net
To: FPSPACE at mail.friends-partners.org
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 08:59:07 -0400
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)…




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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