After Dutch museum, Ukrainian criminals rob Italian museum

Painting Vrouw Wereld, by Jacob Waben

This picture shows part of the painting Vrouw Wereld, made by Dutch painter Jacob Waben in 1622. One of 24 ancient paintings (including work by, eg Jan van Goyen) and much silver, stolen in 2005 from the Westfries Museum in the Netherlands.

Dutch NOS TV scheme of the Ukrainian culprits in the Westfries Museum art robbery

This Dutch NOS TV scheme shows the network of the Ukrainian culprits in the Westfries Museum art robbery; like Oleh Yaroslavovych Tyahnybok of the neo-nazi Svoboda party; Valentyn Oleksandrovych Nalyvaichenko, until recently the boss of the Ukrainian secret police, now a right-wing member of parliament; and Borys Humeniuk, commander of the OUN extreme right paramilitary gang. This OUN has the same name as an organisation collaborating with Hitler during the nazi occupation, led by Stepan Bandera.

The Westfries Museum and the Dutch government asked the Ukrainian government to return the stolen art and arrest the culprits. However, for a long time nothing happened, as the suspects were part of the political establishment in Ukraine. After much pressure, including the referendum on 6 April 2016, in which nearly two-thirds of Dutch voters rejected the European Union-Ukraine trade deal, suddenly something did happen: it was said four of the 24 stolen paintings would be returned to the Netherlands.

Now, it turns out something similar to what happened to the Westfries Museum happened to an Italian museum.

Sacra famiglia con una santa by Andrea Mantegna, one of the paintings stolen from the museum in Verona

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Stolen paintings from museum in Verona found in Ukraine

Today, 22:01

In Ukraine 17 paintings have been recovered that were a few months ago stolen from the Museo Castelvecchio in Verona. Among the paintings are works by Peter Paul Rubens and Jacopo Tintoretto.

The works have an estimated value of at least 15 million euros. They were found on an island in a river between Ukraine and Moldova. They were, eg, inside plastic bags.

How the police has been able to track the art is not clear, and as far as is known no one has been arrested.

Why is this so unclear, and why has not anyone been arrested?

Because maybe the suspects were once again Mr Oleh Yaroslavovych Tyahnybok of the Svoboda party, and ex-secret police boss Mr Valentyn Oleksandrovych Nalyvaichenko, or similar Ukrainian establishment people?

The paintings were stolen in November last year. Three armed and masked men entered then shortly after closing time invaded the museum and overpowered the guard and a cashier who were still in the building.

… The police soon after the robbery suspected that the perpetrators had acted on the instructions of higher-ups and that the paintings were smuggled to Eastern Europe.

Another painting stolen from the museum in Verona

Four stolen Dutch seventeenth-century paintings turn up in Ukraine

Vrouw Wereld, by Jacob Waben

Dutch NOS TV reports today that four out of 24 stolen seventeenth-century paintings, for the return of which Ukrainian extreme right paramilitarists tried to blackmail the Dutch government financially, have been rediscovered in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian secret service refused to say how the paintings turned up and in whose hands they were.

According to Geerdink [director of the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, where the paintings, and much silverware, were stolen from] there has been strong political and diplomatic pressure on Ukraine to find and give back the canvases. The four rediscovered paintings will go via Dutch Public Prosecution back to Hoorn. The museum does not know how much time that will take.

Apparently, the overwhelming No vote in the recent Dutch referendum on the Ukrainian-European Union association treaty helped to increase pressure on the Ukrainian secret police to return at least some paintings.

The four paintings include two paintings by Jacob Waben: Vrouw Wereld (Ms World) and The Return of Jephthah.

The other two paintings are (probably) Farmers’ wedding by Hendrick Boogaert; and Kitchen scene by Floris van Schooten.

Kitchen scene, by Floris van Schooten

Twenty other stolen Westfries Museum paintings are still missing.

Dutch voters reject European Union-Ukraine treaty

This video in English from the Netherlands says about itself:

Ukraine: give back stolen art!

6 December 2015

Valuable paintings that were stolen from the Westfries Museum in The Netherlands in 2005, have turned up on the battlefield in Ukraine. The museum calls on anybody that knows where these paintings are, to return them to their rightful owners.

Vrouw Wereld, by Jacob Waben

This picture shows the painting Vrouw Wereld, made by Dutch painter Jacob Waben in 1622. One of 24 ancient paintings (including work by, eg Jan van Goyen) and much silver, stolen in 2005 from the Westfries Museum in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, today, after the exit polls, the majority of votes in the Dutch referendum on the European Union-Ukraine treaty has been counted.

According to NOS TV, 96.1% of all votes has been counted. Of those, 37.8% voted Yes. 61,5% voted No.

In Hoorn, where the museum was robbed, 66.3% of voters voted No; more than the national average.

The NOS says 32,2% of the electorate voted. More than 30%; making the referendum valid.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation on Sunday. The Ukrainian Parliament, Verkhovna Rada, will vote to accept his resignation on Tuesday, April 12. He will be replaced as prime minister by the parliament’s chairman Volodymyr Groysman, a member of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc. In a country where major political scandals and crises occur frequently and regularly, Yatsenyuk leaves government as one of Ukraine’s most hated politicians: here.