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Russian Court Sentences Man to 5-year Term in Connection with  Art Thefts

A Russian court has sentenced the husband of a former museum curator to five years in prison following conviction for stealing valuable art objects from St. Petersburg's famed Hermitage Museum.

The court Thursday also ordered Nikolai Zavadsky to pay back more than $280,000 in damages to the museum.

Zavadsky had confessed earlier that he conspired with his late wife, Larisa, to steal the artifacts over several years.

His wife died last year soon after Hermitage officials completed a routine inventory, which revealed that more than 200 pieces, valued at more than $5 million, were missing from the museum.

The museum has recovered some of the items.

The Hermitage's vast collection includes pre-historic antiquities, European paintings from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, and a renowned collection of porcelain.

Russian cultural institutions have been plagued with thefts since the early 1990s when funding for preservation was reduced.

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