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    FABERGE COLLECTION RETURNS TO RUSSIA AT THE BEGINNING OF APRIL, SAYS VEKSELBERG

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    NEW YORK, March 12, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Andrei Loshchilin) - The unique Faberge jewels, which earlier belonged to the family of American media magnates Forbes, will return to Russia at the beginning of April. Viktor Vekselberg, the new owner of the collection, spoke about it on Thursday at the New York farewell exhibition of the gem of the collection, the nine Easter Eggs, which belonged in the past to the Russian imperial family.

    "At first, the collection will be shown in the Moscow Kremlin, and this will happen in the middle of May. The exhibition will be opened by Patriarch Alexis II. We have agreed with him about it at our meeting early in March," Viktor Vekselberg told RIA Novosti.

    As it was pointed out by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who visited the exhibition in New York, "the most important thing is that the unique collection is returning to Russia." "This concrete action did not need the Foreign Ministry's support. But if in the future, such efforts need settling diplomatic procedures, ownership rights or organisational and technical problems, the Foreign Ministry will certainly do everything possible to help return art masterpieces to Russia. I can guarantee this," Sergei Lavrov told RIA Novosti.

    The Faberge jewellery firm was founded in Russia in the 19th century by Frenchman Carl Faberge and fulfilled the orders of the imperial family.

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