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Stolen Hermitage Icon Returned

August 9, 2006

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russian police said Wednesday that a private collector has returned a silver-framed icon to them, making it the 13th object to be recovered from the missing Hermitage artworks, the Interfax news agency reported.

More than a week ago, the Hermitage _ Russia’s most famous museum _ announced the theft over a period of years of more than 220 artworks valued at $5 million.

On Tuesday, Russian officials revealed yet another theft from a cultural institution _ the disappearance of architectural drawings, worth millions of dollars, from a Russian state archive.

The incidents have illuminated the lax security and appallingly poor record keeping at Russian cultural institutions, as well as the funding crisis that has plagued museums and archives since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

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