In a ceremony at the Russian Embassy on December 3, 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton presented 21 historical documents to the Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak of the Russian Federation to the United States. According to the ICE News Release, the documents dating as far back as the 18th century were reported stolen from national archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg between 1994 and 2002.
“ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) opened four investigations on five websites after receiving leads from the RosOkhranKultura, the Russian Government agency responsible for the protection of cultural heritage property. Documents were identified for sale or loan from Websites in Amherst, N.H., New Haven, Conn., Upland, Calif., Atlanta and New York City. Prices ranged from $300 to $15,000 per document. … Ambassador Kislyak said at the repatriation ceremony, “I would like to express my deep and sincere gratitude to the U.S. authorities and professionals of the and personally to Mr. John Morton, Director of Immigration Customs Enforcement who accomplished great job to return these historic treasures to the people of Russia. We value your contribution to the strengthening of cooperation between Russia and the United States.””
For more on theft, recovery and return of library and archival materials from Russia and Iraq, consider attending the Restitution Conference at Cardozo in March 2011.