Agudas Chasidei Chabad v. Russian Federation: Who Can Break the Deadlock?

September 18, 2019 | 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm | Price: Free for members, $15 for non-members, $5 for students

Holland & Knight LLP, 800 17th Street, NW, Suite 1100 Washington, DC 20006

Come learn why Russian State Museums’ art loans to the United States have been stopped for more than 10 years and help explore ways all parties involved might find a resolution.

In early 2013 the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted Agudas Chasidei Chabad of the United States’ (“Chabad”) motion for civil contempt sanctions against the Russian Federation, for not returning to Chabad a collection of religious books, manuscripts and handwritten documents that were seized by Nazi Germany during the invasion of Poland and subsequently transferred by the Soviet Red Army to Russia in 1945. The objective of the sanction was to compel compliance with the Court’s 2010 default judgment against all defendants and have the collection returned to Chabad. According to the sanction order, the Russian Government must pay $50,000 for each day of non-compliance. Today the total amount owed is close to $150 million. An unintended but harmful consequence of the sanction is Russia’s freezing of art loans to the U.S., which has been hurting American museums and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Refreshments: 5:30 – 5:45 pm

Program: 5:45 – 7:30 pm, under Chatham House Rule

Welcome: Antonia Tzinova, Partner, Holland & Knight; President, Washington Foreign Law Society, Washington, DC

Introduction: Brian Finlay, CEO & President, Stimson Center, Washington, DC

Legal overview: Stephen J. Knerly, Hahn Loeser & Parks, Cleveland, Ohio, for Association of Art Museum Directors

Unintended Consequences, the Art Moratorium: Dorothy Kosinski, Director Phillips Collection and Sue Frank, Curator Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

Discussion:

Moderator Kornélia Nagy Koppány, Founder and Managing Partner of KNP LAW, Member of WFLS Board of Governors

  • Introductory statement from Ken Feinberg, Mediator, to be read
  • Opening remarks via video, Stuart E. Eizenstat, Senior Counsel at Covington & Burling, Former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
  • Igor Sergeev, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the U.S. in Washington, D.C.
  • Representatives of the interested parties including Chabad, their counsel of record, and the U.S. State Department have been invited

Audience involvement in searching for avenues for resolution will be encouraged.

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