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    EXPERT PANEL CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENT OF RUSSIA'S ARCHEOLOGICAL PRESERVATION LAWS

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 19 (RIA NOVOSTI) - The preservation of Russia's archeological heritage has become a burning issue in recent years, not least because of the imperfect regulatory base. This conclusion was made at a panel discussion held Friday on the premises of the Federation Council, parliament's upper house.

    According to the panelist Sergei Shcheblygin, Chair of the Federation Council Subcommittee for Public & Religious Organizations, a huge archeological market has emerged in Russia by now. He said that the amount of archeological finds made in the past few years was just about the same as that unearthed in the previous 130 years.

    Anatoly Derevyanko, Director of the Institute of Archeology & Ethnography at the Russian Academy of Sciences, who also was among the panelists, pointed out that the preservation of Russia's archeological heritage was not just about preserving the country's 49,000 objects officially registered as archeological monuments, but also about protecting many other objects not classified as such or ones not hitherto discovered and described.

    Nikolai Makarov, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Archeology Institute, warned that unless urgent measures against archeological looting were taken now, the European part of Russia would end up with no archeological monuments in a decade's time.

    And Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director-General of the Hermitage Museum, one of the world's largest art collections, proposed that a special government agency should be set up to administer matters of archeological preservation.

    Today's panel discussion resulted in the adoption of recommendations to the Federal Assembly (parliament), the Cabinet of Ministers, the Supreme Court, the state authority bodies of Federation member states, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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