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KRYVASHEI D. A. The problem of return of cultural property in cultural policy of Belarus (1991–2018)

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   The practical implementation of steps towards the retrieval of cultural values done by the Republic of Belarus is being analyzed in the article. The author gives a review of the legal framework of the restitution, international two-part commissions on heritage and the state commission on restitution. Considerable attention is paid to the aspects of virtual reconstruction of the cultural values of the people of Belarus kept abroad.

   During the analysed period of time the state policy on returning of the cultural values illegally taken from the territory of Belarus had gone through three stages. From the year 1991 till 2002 a regulatory framework had been developed, restitution aspects had been included in a number of international treaties, the public commission “Vyartanne” had functioned, the methodology of identifying of cultural values had been established, and the database had been generated. The joint Belarusian-Polish commission on historical and cultural heritage had been working actively. Under the circumstances of numerous obstacles on the way to direct restitution, which consisted of regulatory framework as well as developed mechanism of practical realization absence, focus had been on “mild restitution”. The first projects of virtual reconstruction of the Belarusian artefacts abroad were implemented.

   The work of the public commission «Vyartanne» had been stopped in 2002. But the experts continued the co-working. The significant attention had been paid to the heritage of the Radzivil. In 2006 the International council on development of the virtual reconstruction of the documentary heritage and the library of Nesvizh ordination of the Radzivil was created. In 2007 archivists of Belarus and Poland exchanged the document copies of archive heritage of the mentioned aristocratic family.

   The new stage started in 2009, when State inter-ministry commission on restitution was created. The work at improving of the methodology of documentary heritage description and the legislation was activated. The register of the cultural values of the Republic of Belarus kept abroad was designed during that period of time. Also, joint commissions on cooperation with Ukraine and Lithuania in the sphere of heritage were created. Similarly, to the previous years the main practical activity was held in the sphere of «mild restitution». Apart from creation and exchange of electronic copies joint use of the values was done by organising exhibitions and transferring antiques to the long-term depository safekeeping. Museums and libraries of Belarus started an active work on purchasing Belarusian history related cultural objects and works of art abroad.

   Keywords: restitution, cultural values, international relations, cultural policy, Belarus