Russian exhibition to open in London as planned

The Royal Academy of Britain will receive paintings for the exhibition "From Russia: French and Russian Master Paintings 1870-1925," a Russia ’s government agency said Wednesday.

The exhibition is to be opened on Jan. 26, the AP reported.

Russia previously doubted that the paintings formerly owned by pre-Revolutionary Russian collectors could be seized in connection with lawsuits or court decisions while on display.

But Britain sped up the enactment of legislation barring seizure of artworks lent by foreign countries to British museums and galleries. Russia is confident now that the collection would be safe.

Paintings by Matisse, van Gogh and other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists are among the collection. They were seized after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.

Some legal bids to return the masterpieces were made by descendants of the previous owner of some of the works. Russia was afraid that some other attempts could take place when the paintings are in Britain.

The dispute took place amid political tensions between London and Russia .

Recently, Russia ordered a British cultural organization to suspend all its operations outside Moscow at the beginning of 2008, accusing it of operating illegally - a decision Britain 's foreign secretary said threatened to damage Moscow 's global standing.

In 2005, a collection of French masterpieces belonging to the Pushkin museum was seized and held in Switzerland over millions of dollars (euros) in alleged debts that a Swiss company claimed was owed to it by Russia. The Swiss government later stepped in and ordered the paintings returned to Russia.

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