KANIV, Ukraine, August 23, 2010 (RFE/RL) -- A museum dedicated to prominent Ukrainian poet and artist Taras Shevchenko was officially reopened today in the town of Kaniv in central Ukraine where he is buried, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.
Hanna Herman, President Viktor Yanukovych's deputy chief of staff, said at the ceremony that Ukraine intends to recover Shevchenko's heritage from Russia and Kazakhstan. She said Yanukovych has started talks with Russian and Kazakh officials on the possible return of Shevchenko's works and personal belongings to Ukraine.
Shevchenko (1814 – 1861), the national bard of Ukraine, also left many masterpieces as a painter and an illustrator. He lived mainly in Russia, and spent many years in exile in what is today western Kazakhstan.
The museum was refurbished and reopened in time for Independence Day on August 24.
Herman said the museum does not have enough exhibits illustrating Shevchenko's personal and artistic life. The majority of his manuscripts and personal belongings remain in Russia and Kazakhstan.
Herman also said that the talks on the possible transfer of Shevchenko memorabilia to Ukraine are being held within the framework of preparations for joint Ukrainian-Russian celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Shevchenko's birth in 2014.