Russia Is Looting Ukranian Art

I am a Seer!



Posted on November 21, 2016 by Royal Rosamond Press


I have contacted INTERPOL and UNESCO about the Habsburg Pianting at the Schnitzer. I will be sending this blog to Jill Hartz, the Executive Director. I sent an e-mail to Cheyrl Hartup, and got no response. I had several telephone conversation with Alexandra V. Cipolle-Notman of the Eugene Weekly. We exchanged e-mails about our meeting place. She never got back to me, and has not replied to further e-mails from me. She asked me on the phone if I tried contacting the Habsburgs. I told her I had not. I do not trust her. Why should I? All my correspondence is copyrighted, along with the contents of my blog. A real crime may have been committed. This is not the time to play games.

Below is an e-mail I sent Stefan Eins in September of 2013 about this Habsburg painting a famous artist from Austria. Jospeh Swobb said he would forward my information to Austrian Consulate. The possible obstruction of a criminal matter of this magnitude, has bid me to be as transparent as possible. Who knows where this will lead?

John Presco

Presdient: Royal Rosamond Press Co.

John Ambrose <>


Today at 11:01 AM

Dear Ms. Hartz – Over ten days ago I contacted Charyl Hartup about the Habsburg painting that is possibly stolen. I was going to meet with Ms. Alexandra V. Cippoli-Notman at a resturant, then we changed that to the Schnitzer because I wanted to introduce her to my dear friend, Virginia Hambley, who is related to Empress Zita. I told her it would be wonderful to take Virginia’s pic in front of ‘The Last Audience’. Alex failed to confirm this meeting and has not responded to my e-mails. This is an insult! I will let members of the House of Bourbon know of it. Virginia’s great grandfather tried to restore the Bourbons, and led the invasion of Algiers to dispose of a Caliphate. Let us not interfere with a international investigation. I have contacted UNESCO and INTERPOL and sent them this message.

John Presco

President: Royal Rosamond Press

I contacted someone at the Austrian Consulate about the Habsburg painting at the Universty of Oregon museum, that I believe belongs to Austria. Just after the war, In Room 318 of the Imperial Hotel in Vienna where the Property Control Branch of the Allied Forces has set up a Reparation Division. Below is part of the correspondence of Susanne Granitsch-Konirsch. She is the daughter of Helene Granitsch who is standing behind Empress Zita and staring out at the intended audience. Thus large unfinished work ended up in a bank vault in Eugene Oregon where it sat for sixteen years.


NBC News

NBC NewsFollow

Evidence suggests Russians are stealing art from Ukraine on a World War II scale

Story by Artem Grudinin and Yasmine Salam and Dan De Luce • 57m ago

Last fall, Ukrainian troops were closing in on Kherson, rolling back Russian forces who had seized the city after Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine. 

At Kherson’s Regional Art Museum, a team of armed Russians in civilian clothes arrived along with several large trucks and buses. Over five days, they hauled away more than 11,000 pieces of art, including paintings, sculptures, graphics and other works from Ukraine and around the world, said Alina Dotsenko, the director of the museum.

“It was obvious that it was all planned. The decision to loot the museum was not made on the spot,” Dotsenko said. “It was all carefully planned.”

The theft, verified by human rights monitors and independent scholars, was not an isolated incident.

Russian soldiers in plainclothes load stolen artwork from the Kherson Regional Art Museum into the back of a truck in November 2022. (Courtesy Kherson Regional Art Museum)© Courtesy Kherson Regional Art Museum

A growing body of evidence suggests Russian forces are systematically stealing art and cultural artifacts from Ukraine on a scale not seen in Europe since the Nazi plunder of World War II, according to researchers and experts documenting the damage

The theft includes precious Scythian gold jewelry dating to the fourth century B.C., ancient coins and thousands of paintings from museums and private collections, researchers said. Some art and cultural sites have been severely damaged and destroyed, including centuries-old Orthodox Christian churches, libraries and paintings by one of Ukraine’s most beloved artists, Maria Prymachenko, whose work was hailed by Pablo Picasso as an “artistic miracle.”

The organized campaign of looting and destruction, targeting hundreds of cultural monuments, churches and museums, appears aimed at wiping out Ukraine’s history and cultural identity, experts said.

Before he ordered the Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly argued that the idea of a separate Ukrainian national identity was fiction, that Ukraine lacked “real statehood” and that it was part of Russia’s “own history, culture, spiritual space.”

A Scythian gold pectoral in 2006. (A. Dagli Orti / De Agostini via Getty Images file)© A. Dagli Orti

“They are trying to erase Ukrainian identity, just the way the Nazis did,” said Chris Marinello, an art restitution lawyer and the founder of a stolen and looted art recovery firm.

Putin’s “forces have bombed, shelled and destroyed hundreds of sites and places that epitomize Ukrainian identity and heritage — from churches and museums to archaeological sites and monuments,” said Richard Kurin, the ambassador-at-large of the Smithsonian Institution.

“He seeks to eliminate the physical markers of Ukraine’s distinctive culture so as to conform to his warped view that there is no such culture.”

The Russian Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

In some cases, museums or other cultural sites have been targeted far away from any front line, according to satellite imagery and researchers on the ground.

Just days after the Feb. 24 invasion, the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum near Kyiv came under bombardment, even though it was not near any fighting or military targets, according to researchers. The shelling ignited a fire that destroyed and damaged multiple works by Prymachenko, whose vivid, fantastical paintings of animals inspired painter Marc Chagall.

Satellite imagery shows the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum before, left, and after it was damaged by Russian shelling. (Maxar)© Maxar

The attack on the Ivankiv museum is part of a pattern of “targeted destruction” of cultural sites, said Katharyn Hanson, the head of research at the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative.

The theft of priceless art in areas seized by Russian forces cannot be explained as random or spontaneous acts by Russian soldiers, Hanson said. 

“Our research suggests that this looting is state-sponsored by Russia,” Hanson said.

Hanson is one of the authors of a report due to be released this month by the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative examining the plunder of cultural heritage in Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

In a modern version of the World War II-era effort to save artistic treasures from German looting depicted in the Hollywood film “Monuments Men,” Hanson is part of a team of archaeologists, historians, satellite imagery experts and other scholars trying to document the assault on Ukraine’s cultural sites.

Using satellite photos, thermal imaging, artificial intelligence tools and on-the-ground research, the U.S.-funded Smithsonian team is sometimes able to verify an incident within hours after it occurs, said Susan Wolfinbarger, the team lead in the State Department’s Office of Advanced Analytics.

“We’re really leveraging new technologies, new data feeds, to help us both document these things but to also do it quickly and at a scale that really hasn’t been previously attempted,” Wolfinbarger said. 

Using a database of more than 28,000 cultural sites in Ukraine, the Smithsonian team was able to spot an attack on the museum in Ivankiv from a combination of thermal imaging from NASA and commercial satellite photos, she said.

The Smithsonian initiative is part of a wider $6 million effort funded by the Biden administration — involving a variety of American research centers — to collect evidence for possible international war crimes investigations.

Russian forces targeted cultural monuments earlier in the conflict, after having seized the Crimean Peninsula and parts of eastern Ukraine more than eight years ago, said Matthew Steinhelfer, the deputy assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

Russian forces left behind empty picture frames after hauling away paintings from Kherson Regional Art Museum. (Kherson Regional Art Museum)© Kherson Regional Art Museum

“We’ve seen this playbook before,” he said. “We’ve seen this since 2014, where Russia has removed artifacts, demolished gravesites and shuttered churches in the Donbas region and Crimea.”

The Hague Convention of 1954 prohibits militaries from targeting and looting museums or other cultural sites. In war crimes trials for conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Mali, international prosecutors won convictions that cited attacks on religious and cultural monuments.

As of March, UNESCO said it had verified damage to 248 cultural sites in Ukraine, including 107 religious sites and 12 libraries.

“We have this list of verified damage, and the numbers keep growing,” said Krista Prikkat, UNESCO’s director for culture and emergencies.

The World Bank recently estimated that the cost of the damage so far to Ukraine’s cultural buildings and art collections from the invasion amounts to nearly $2 billion.

International cultural organizations and Interpol are warning authorities across Europe and around the world to be on the lookout for art stolen from Ukraine. The International Council of Museums has issued an “emergency red list” of artworks at risk, which UNESCO now uses to train border officials in other countries, U.N. officials said.

Works by Prymachenko that were rescued from Ivankiv on display in Lviv on Aug. 23, 2022. (Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images file)© Jeff J. Mitchell

Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials seized three ancient swords dating to the fifth or sixth century, as well as an ancient stone ax head, at New York’s JFK Airport, all stolen from Ukraine. They were returned to the government in a ceremony last month at Ukraine’s embassy in Washington.

When Ukrainian art and artifacts have been looted, Russian troops are often helped by Russian experts who travel to seized territory and know the country’s art collections, say experts in and outside Ukraine. 

“There are expert groups who were specially commissioned to come to Ukraine,” said Ihor Poshyvailo, a Ukrainian curator who was trained by the Smithsonian team before the invasion.

“They were hunting for historic objects,” said Poshyvailo, a co-founder of the Heritage Emergency Response Initiative, which tries to help repair and preserve Ukraine’s cultural heritage collections. 

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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