MOSCOW, RUSSIAN FEDERATION.- After the Hermitage museum theft and the Yakov Chernikhov works theft, the Russian culture minister requested around $487 million to improve security and staff salaries at Russian museums. Alexander Sokolov requested $161 million to increase museum staff salaries, who earn a monthly average of $175. Sokolov also asked for $37.4 million for improving security installations and $175 million for equipment for controlled-temperature areas for the art collections. He also requested $112.15 million for capital repairs.
Boris Boyarskov, head of Rosokhrankultura (heritage watchdog), stated that an electronic catalogue was required to easily trace stolen valuables. He said, Every year, we register 50 to 100 incidents of thefts, but we recover the valuables in no more than 20 cases.
According to Anna Kolupayeva, a Federal Culture Agency official, it would take around a decade to complete a full inventory of the 79 million items stored in Russian museums and at least two years to do a partial inventory check. In the case of the Hermitage, it has around 3 million items in his possession, of which only 153,000 have been recorded in an electronic catalog.