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Trial Set For Man Charged With Stealing Valuable Painting From Moscow Museum

Denis Chuprikov attends a court hearing in Moscow on July 16.

A trial date has been set for the man suspected of stealing a 20th-century painting by a Russian artist from Moscow's state-run Tretyakov Gallery in January.

Valentina Norbakh, a spokeswoman for Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky district court, on July 16 said Denis Chuprikov's trial was scheduled to begin on July 22.

Chuprikov was arrested on January 28, a day after the 1908 painting of mountain ridges by Arkhip Kuindzhi was reported stolen from the museum during open hours.

Chuprikov, a 32-year-old Russian citizen who was born in Crimea, was charged with theft after authorities said the painting was recovered at a construction site near his home outside Moscow.

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 (1842-1910), a Russian artist of Greek origin, is known for his landscapes. His 1881 Birch Grove was sold at Sotheby's auction house for more than $3 million in 2008.

The Tretyakov is one of Russia's leading art galleries and 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 a 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.

Based on reporting by Moskva City News and Interfax