Saturday, September 15, 2012

U.S. Says No to Sanctioning Russia in Art Embargo Case

The Obama Administration has asked a federal court to keeps its nose out of U.S. foreign affairs and Russia's internal affairs in the case brought against Russia by the Jewish sect Chabad.

The Department of Justice urged the court not to impose monetary sanctions against Russia on the grounds that they "would be contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States," impermissible under the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and, on the facts of the case, "entirely without precedent internationally."

Chabad had requested that Russia be sanctioned for failing to comply with the court's order to turn over two collections of books and manuscripts to the U.S. embassy in Moscow or to representatives of Chabad.  The judgment in that case triggered Russia's embargo on lending art to U.S. museums, which has passed its second anniversary.

Read more about the U.S. position in my story in The Art Newspaper, here, and more about the dispute and the embargo in my New York Observer piece, here.