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Russia To Swap Treasures For Papers

Russia will trade Liechtenstein’s royal archives for documents on Czar Nicholas II’s execution, in what may set precedent for those who hope to regain treasures seized by the Soviets in World War II.

Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein agreed on the exchange Tuesday in Vaduz, capital of the tiny principality, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Russia has kept a steadfast grip on millions of items scooped up by the Red Army’s special trophy brigades in World War II, including priceless works of art and historical documents.

Critics say Russia has no right to the trophies because looting is against international conventions.

The prince will give Russia the archives of a White Guard officer’s investigation into the 1918 execution of Russia’s last czar in exchange for royal family archives seized when Soviet forces occupied Austria in 1945.