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Three Years For Stealing Painting From Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery

Denis Chuprikov was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

A man who stole a 20th century Russian painting from Moscow’s state-run Tretyakov Gallery Arts Museum in January has been sentenced to 3 years in prison.

A court in Moscow sentenced Denis Chuprikov on September 25 after finding him guilty of stealing and damaging the 1908 painting of mountain ridges by the Russian artist Arkhip Kuindzhi.

Chuprikov and his lawyer said the ruling will be appealed. The trial started in July.

Prosecutors have estimated the cost of restoration work at 13,300 rubles (about $210) and charged that by stealing the painting, Chuprikov inflicted damages of nearly 20 million rubles upon the Culture Ministry.

The prosecutors also said the theft had marred the reputation of the Tretyakov Gallery.

Chuprikov, a 32-year-old Russian citizen who was born in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, was arrested on January 28 -- just one day after the painting was stolen in broad daylight while the museum was open.

Chuprikov was charged with theft after authorities said the painting was recovered at a construction site near his home outside Moscow.

The stolen painting: Ai-Petri, Crimea
The stolen painting: Ai-Petri, Crimea

The stolen work -- titled Ai Petri. Crimea -- depicts a mountain on the Crimea Peninsula and was valued at $1 million but was insured for only about $185,000.

Kuindzhi, a Russian artist of Urum-Greek origin who lived from 1842 to 1910, is known for his landscape paintings.

In 2008, a Kuindzhi painting from 1881 titled Birch Grove was sold at Sotheby's auction house for more than $3 million.

The Tretyakov Gallery is one of Russia's leading art museums. It has been targeted by criminals several times in recent years.

In April, a Moscow court sentenced a man to 2 1/2 years in prison after convicting him of vandalizing a famous 19th century painting of Tsar Ivan the Terrible at the Tretyakov in May 2018.

The court found Igor Podporin guilty of using a metal pole to damage the Russian cultural treasure: realist painter Ilya Repin's 1885 work depicting the seemingly anguished ruler cradling his bloodied son after mortally wounding him in a fit of rage.

With reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax
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