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Putin Orders Inventory Check at All of Russia's National Museums


President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to conduct an inventory survey of all of Russia's museums, in the wake of the recent discovery of major art thefts.

Mr. Putin told Cabinet members Thursday to set up a commission to start the audit by September 1. The commission will be made up of government officials and members of law enforcement agencies.

Officials revealed last week that more than 200 art objects, with an estimated value of about $5 million, had been stolen from St. Petersburg's famed Hermitage Museum. At least three people have been detained in connection with the case, including the husband and son of a museum curator.

And earlier this week, officials said 2,000 drawings by acclaimed Russian avant-garde artist and architect Yakov Chernikhov are missing from the state archive of literature and art.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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