AMBER ROOM: BRITISH EXPOSE THE GREAT MYSTIFICATION OF THE 20TH CENTURY

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ST.PETERSBURG, May 31 (RIA Novosti) -Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of one of the world's largest museums, the Hermitage, argues that the Amber room was eliminated in the WWII by those who began that war. Such were Piotrovsky's comments in a RIA interview on foreign media allegations that the famous Amber room was ruined by the Red Army rather than by the Nazis.

"This is one of many theories linked with the Amber room. No one knows what really happened in the thick of Koenigsberg, the capital of Eastern Prussia turned by the Nazis into an insurmountable fortress," said Piorotvsky.

"I can venture only the following opinion-and it is my deep belief-that the blame for all destruction happening during a war should be laid at the door of those who began that war. This applies to everything: the instigators are responsible morally and legally for all subsequent devastations. As to the Amber room, one should bear in mind that it was the Germans who carried the room from Tsarskoye Seklo in the St.Petersburg suburbs," said Piotrovsky.

Tatiana Zharkova, the press-secretary of the Tsarskoye Selo museum where the authentic amber room was mounted and the new one has been restored according to available blueprints, says that the museum does not treat the version about the elimination of the Amber room by the Red Army rather than Nazis as something worthwhile talking about.

"The disappearance of the Amber room has given rise to many versions, suggestions and hypotheses. This is just one of the many and we do not look at it seriously," said Zharkova.

"There is neither proof nor refutation of this version and therefore it remains a hypothesis-nothing more. However, one more version is evidence of great interest in the history of the amber room," added Zharkova.

Allegations about the Amber room having been burnt out by the Red army appeared in articles published by Britain' The Daily Telegraph and Guardian. In their book about the amber room as the greatest mystification of the 20th century, which was issued in Britain's Atlantic Books Publishers and is to be on sale from June 3, the researchers Adrian Levi and Catherine Scott-Clark write that the Amber room was burnt out in Koenigsberg in 1945.

Amber panels for decorating interiors was presented to Peter the Great by Prussia's King Frederick William I in 1716. It was mounted later in 1755 in one of the halls of the Grand palace in Tsarskoye Selo, the emperor's summer residence.

When Tsarskoye Selo was occupied during the WWII, the Amber room was dismantled and sent to Koenigsberg. As search for it has been futile, its destiny remains unknown.

Following the Russian government's decision of 1979 to restore the amber room, its live-size replica was opened to visitors during the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of St.Petersburg in May 2003.

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