August 19, 2023

Ukraine's "War and Art" Database


Ukraine's "War and Art" Database
Painted Ukraine flag. Tim Mossholder, Unsplash.

Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) has published an online database of art belonging to sanctioned Russians, which seeks to thwart the illegal trade of art and antiquities stolen during Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The “War and Art” database reports that “Russian oligarchs and other sanctioned individuals can still easily hide and launder their funds through art, despite the sanctions imposed on them. Paintings, sculptures, artistic jewelry – this is exactly what they use as a loophole to circumvent sanctions.”

With over 300 items valued at more than $2 billion, the NACP aims to bolster efforts against sanctions evasion, actively seeking artworks linked to sanctioned Russians, so that they can potentially be frozen, seized, and repatriated to Ukraine.

Featured in the database are notable collectors such as ex-Chelsea owner and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. He reportedly owns Francis Bacon’s Triptych, 1976, Alberto Giacometti's The Venetian Woman I, and a set of eight albums from Ilya Kabakov’s 10 Characters series. The database also lists other figures like Uzbek-Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, Russian rapper Timati, Russian producer Yana Rudkovskaya, and Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev (who sold Leonardo da Vinci’s Savior of the World for $450.3 million).

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