Russian embassy sculpture donation sparks protest in Romania

Russian embassy sculpture donation sparks protest in Romania
Cuminţenia pământului (Wisdom of the Earth) by Constantin Brâncuși (Image: Cuminţenia pământului / Facebook)

28 September 2016

A €100 ($112) donation by the Russian embassy in Bucharest to help the Romanian government buy back Constantin Brâncuși’s famous Cuminţenia Pământului (Wisdom of the Earth) sculpture has caused outrage.

The Russian embassy’s contribution to the Romanian government’s fundraising campaign was seen by many as offensive, given claims that Moscow owes Bucharest gold reserves weighing around 120 tons (along with a collection of other valuable objects), which Bucharest sent to be kept safe in Russia during the First World War. Moscow argues, however, that these valuable assets constitute a form of compensation for crimes committed by the Romanian Army, which joined Germany’s Second World War invasion of the Soviet Union.

A protest took place yesterday in front of the Russian embassy in Bucharest in response to the donation, which was made on Monday.

The Romanian Government has agreed to pay €11 million ($12.45 million) for the sculpture, currently on display at Bucharest’s Museum of the National Bank of Romania (BNR Museum), and has pledged €5 million ($5.7 million) from the state budget. A number of initiatives, including one organised by Uber, have been launched to raise donations.

Source: Balkan Insight