Deputy director of Hermitage Museum placed under house arrest

Mikhail Novikov, the deputy director of the Hermitage Museum. Via The Art Newspaper

Mikhail Novikov, the deputy director of Saint Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum, has been charged with suspected fraud and placed under house arrest by a Moscow court, The Art Newspaper reports. The accusation is said to be in connection to construction projects carried out at the museum, and is alleged to form part of a larger embezzlement scheme of roughly £1.4m from restoration projects led by the Ministry of Culture. The Federal Security Service (FSB) started their investigation in the Hermitage’s construction projects in January, leading to the arrest of former deputy culture minister Grigory Pirumov earlier in March. Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage, explained that ‘where such big construction projects are taking place there is a lot of money, many various problems, and many dishonest contractors,’ although stressing that ‘the presumption of innocence nevertheless exists here and it will be possible to comment on everything that has happened only after some time, when the situation becomes clearer.’

30 March 2017