Diplomatic game about St. Nicholas in chains – World

The icon in the shackles, most likely of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, which the media claim is three centuries old on the basis of a certificate, and which was presented to the head of the Russian Presidency Milorad Dodik on December 14 by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, is on its way to becoming the subject of a diplomatic scandal.

Icon about 300 years old found in Lugansk: Lavrov and Dodik in East Sarajevo on December 14 Photo: EPA-EFE / FEHIM DEMIR

Bosnian media, referring to the mentioned certificate, claim that it is about the “property of Soviet Ukraine from the city of Lugansk, which has been controlled by pro-Russian forces since 2014”.

On December 16, the Embassy of Ukraine in Sarajevo sent a note to the government there, asking for clarification on how the icon reached Bosnia and Herzegovina, which its Ministry of Foreign Affairs forwarded to the Presidency of BiH.

On the occasion of the icon that Lavrov received from Dodik, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Oleg Nikolenko, also announced that “Ukrainian diplomats will meet with their Bosnian colleagues in the coming days.”

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs adds that the diplomats found out about the gift from the media, thanks to the photos of the seal which allegedly confirms its Ukrainian origin.

The Ukrainian embassy in BiH did not answer our questions yesterday whether the meeting with Bosnian colleagues was held, whether the origin of Dodik’s gift to Lavrov was determined, whether it was an icon from the official state registers of stolen and missing works of art, nor did we receive more specific historical and artistic data on the disputed icon and its owner.

Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Ukraine in BiH Serhiy Miniailo directed Danas to the “primary source of news” about the icon and appealed to the Serbian media to write as much as possible about the “temporary Russian occupation of Crimea, Sevastopol and certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, and the suffering of Ukrainian citizens.” under it. “

Dodik’s media advisers were not willing to comment on the case of the donated icon yesterday. The Srna agency transmitted a statement from Dodik’s cabinet, which only states that it is a gilded icon created approximately 300 years ago, which was found in Lugansk.

– Whatever turns out to be true in connection with the icon that Dodik gave to Lavrov, the fact is that it is not common for statesmen to hand over icons to state officials of another state without the consent or presence of someone from the Church, in this case the SOC. Especially since both countries are secular. The question is whether Dodik donated the icon on behalf of RS or as chairman of the BiH Presidency, which would be even more inappropriate and a kind of conscious provocation, which is contrary to the Dayton Agreement – the icon represents only one of the three peoples in BiH – political analyst Dusan Janjic told Danas .

Janjic emphasizes that Sergei Lavrov, who “demonstrated top diplomacy” in Sarajevo after Sarajevo and Belgrade, will not care what turns out to be true about Dodik’s gift, because the icon has already become an international diplomatic topic.

Danas’ interlocutor also says that it is unclear what Moscow gained from the meeting in eastern Sarajevo, where representatives of RS were with Dodik as the chairman of the Presidency of BiH.

The official reports of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on Lavrov’s visit to BiH, Serbia and Croatia on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Agreement, do not state details such as gifts.

According to the bulletin published on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lavrov had separate meetings in Sarajevo with Dodik, Dragan Covic, Deputy Speaker of the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly and President of HDZ in BiH, as well as BiH Foreign Minister Biser Turkovic, among other things. signing of the Consolidation Plan of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries.

Serious allegations

– As far as I have heard, proceedings have been initiated against the prosecution, SIPA and Interpol, but I do not know much. The accusations are more than serious and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and their Church have declared themselves regarding the icon. We see that the world media also write about it. Everyone is appalled by the fact that a stolen work of art can be taken out of the country, given away and treated as one’s own, most legally acquired, and in this case it is stolen goods and it is subject to criminal liability. It should be investigated how Dodik came into possession of the icon – said Bisera Turković, on Friday during her visit to Mostar.

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Source: Dnevni list Danas by www.danas.rs.

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