Exhibition of Estonian National Museum stalled in Russian customs

  • 2021-04-26
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - A traveling exhibition being transported from the Komi Republic of Russia to Estonia has been stalled at the customs checkpoint of Kingissepp on the Russian side of the Estonian-Russian border for more than a month now, with officials refusing to let it move on towards Estonia, Director of the Estonian National Museum (ERM) Alar Karis said on social media.

The exhibition titled "Hunting Paths," which explores hunting in the world view and everyday lives of the Komi-Zyrian people and was prepared in collaboration between the Komi National Museum and the Estonian National Museum, opened in the Komi capital Syktyvkar on Feb. 28, Tartu Postimees reported.

The exhibition features ethnographic items in addition to audiovisual materials, and it was the first international joint exhibition for the Estonian National Museum after a long time, the museum said on its website.

As things stand, the exhibition has been stalled in Russian customs in Kingissepp for more than a month and it isn't known when and whether at all it will reach Tartu, the director of the museum said.

"The statement by the Association of the Finno-Ugric Peoples of the Russian Federation (AFUN) to the effect that they consider participation in the World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples to be held in Estonia this summer as 'not appropriate' puts also the long stalling of the traveling exhibition of ERM at the customs checkpoint of Kingissepp in a new light. The absence of one stamp allegedly gives the right to destroy the whole consignment," Karis said.

Karis said that the Estonian honorary consul residing in St. Petersburg will travel to Kingissepp on Tuesday to try and help resolve the situation. The director of ERM said that he cannot go to Russia to try and help resolve the situation in person because crossing of borders during the ongoing period of coronavirus restrictions is not favored. 

"I hope that this situation will be resolved, since after all we are talking about culture, not politics," Karis said.

The 8th World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples is to be held at the Estonian National Museum in Tartu on June 16-18 this year.