Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 48

Georgia has become the first ex-Soviet republic to pledge to return its small share of German book and manuscript collections plundered by the Soviet army from German libraries and museums. Georgia’s consent to return the German cultural property it holds since World War II contrasts to Russia’s rejection of German requests for restitution. Tbilisi’s decision comes in the wake of German foreign minister Klaus Kinkel’s visit and underscores the two countries’ friendly relationship, which in turn stems from Eduard Shevardnadze’s role in facilitating German reunification while foreign minister of the USSR. Even as Tbilisi announced its decision on restitution, Russian officials reaffirmed Moscow’s intent to hang onto the treasures it holds. (12) In one of World War II’s longest-kept secrets, Soviet special units looted German cultural treasures, the better part of which have since been stored in Russia. Post-Communist Moscow holds to the loot on the pretext that it partially compensates for Soviet wartime losses of more than 50 years ago.

Georgian-Turkish Ties Reaffirmed.