Home » today » World » Rare Russian Book Theft Ring Uncovered in Czech Republic: Europol Arrests Linked to Massive Heist

Rare Russian Book Theft Ring Uncovered in Czech Republic: Europol Arrests Linked to Massive Heist

You can also listen to the article in an audio version.

A group that stole rare books by Russian authors also operated in the Czech Republic. According to Europol, he stole more than 170 works worth more than 60 million crowns from European libraries between 2022 and 2023.

The National Library may also suffer, as it is part of the research. “I can’t give you any information about it yet. I am currently bound by secrecy,” said Martina Košanová, spokeswoman for the National Library, to Seznam Zprávy.

Thieves return fakes

The theft of the photos was also confirmed by the Regional Directorate of the Police of the Czech Republic in Prague. After the theft, similar to foreign affairs, the makers should have replaced them with a high-quality fake that only experts can distinguish from the original.

In the limits of the capital, they stole two works and destroyed six others, for example by removing leaves. Crime investigators do not yet know the extent of the financial damage. They did not even confirm the number of institutions that were attacked, so the National Library is the only one that is known at the moment.

List News contacted several major libraries, all of which either denied the loss of rare items or said they were unaware of any. “It is not a book or a page,” said Kristina Kvapilová from the National Museum, which has the second largest library with historical collections in the republic.

The libraries of Charles University, Masaryk University, the City Library in Prague, Pilsen and Karlovy Vary were also unharmed. They did not register absences at UPOL or in the Library of the Academy of Sciences.

Photo: wikimedia, malba od Fjodora Antonovice Mollera

Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol captured by Fyodor Antonovich Mollerav in 1841. Gogol’s works are among the most stolen.

The police did not register any case similar to the one in Prague in the South Moravian or Olomouc regions, where the attackers have other possible targets. “We received information from colleagues from abroad. The libraries were aware of this, but it was not found that such a book was lost here,” said David Chaloupka from the South Moravian Police.

Russian collectors

Europol has so far arrested nine Georgians in connection with the books. They mainly stole old editions of Russian authors, especially Alexander Pushkin and Nikolai Gogol. Libraries across Europe, from Paris to Riga, lost rare copies.

As a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the supply of these books fell dramatically – collectors pay hundreds of thousands of crowns for them – and thanks to this, the black market has strengthened significantly. “Some of these items were sold in auction houses in Moscow or St. Petersburg, which is why they are largely lost,” Europol said on its website.

According to the New York Times the works attack “small fish” in the criminal system in general. “Who is really behind the thefts and what motivates them, is still an unanswered question,” the newspaper wrote.

2024-05-11 12:30:00
#Valuable #works #stolen #National #Library #apparently #Russian #collectors #Seznam #Zprávy

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.