Under a protocol signed on December 18, the university of Voronezh in Russia has granted Estonian experts access to the antiquities, art, and manuscript collections of Estonia’s venerable Tartu university. The agreement also envisages joint cataloguing of the collections. A meeting of the Russian-Estonian intergovernmental commission, held on December 3-4 after a long lull, resulted in Moscow’s political consent to the access agreement which followed. The University of Tartu, formerly Dorpat, was during several centuries one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Northern and Baltic Europe. Its collections, an Estonian national treasure, were carted off by the Russian authorities to Voronezh during World War I.
The issue of restitution has figured on the agenda of Estonian-Russian negotiations since 1992. Estonia seeks also the restitution of the badge of office of the presidents of the 1918-1940 republic. The Soviet authorities seized that badge from Estonia’s last pre-occupation president, Konstatin Paats, who died in Soviet confinement. The Russian government has hinted that it might at some point return the badge, but seems obdurate about returning the collections (BNS, December 5, 18).
TKACHENKO OFFERS EXORBITANT PRICE FOR RUSSIAN RATIFICATION OF TREATY WITH UKRAINE.