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Incheon to send research team to Russia to file Korean relics

INCHEON (Yonhap) ― The Incheon Metropolitan Government will send a team of experts to Russia to catalog Korean historic relics scattered across the Eurasian country and work toward having them exhibited in their home country, city officials said Wednesday.

The move follows an agreement Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil signed with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during his visit to South Korea in November to increase the exchange of historic relics and cooperation in research.

Russia is particularly known to have a trove of historic relics from Korean independence fighters, as the country was used as their operation base along with China during the 1910-45 Japanese colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula.

The city government will organize a team of about 20 cultural and historic experts to conduct the field survey from May to November, officials said. Places to research will be the state historical archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Russian State Archive of Navy Fleet, the Russian diplomatic archives, the Oriental Institute, the Orient Museum, and Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, which are all known to preserve books, documents, photographs and microfilms on the Korean independence movement as well as Korean history, geography, folk customs, art paintings, celadon potteries and handcraft works.

“This research comes on the ground of the agreement on friendship and exchange with Russia. We will make sure preparations will be done thoroughly so as to maximize the achievement of the research,” a city official said.

Last year, Incheon returned to Russia the flag of the Russian cruiser Variag, which had sunk off the port of Incheon in 1904 during the Russo-Japanese war. In the losing battle against a squadron of Japanese ships, the Russian sailors refused Japan’s offer of surrender and sank the ship so as not to let the enemy take the ship, which is now remembered by Russians as a symbol of self-sacrifice and dedication to the nation.
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