The debate on the selection of objects of art intended to compensate for the cultural losses of the USSR had been discussed at various official levels several years before the end of World War II. In 1943 the academician Igor Grabar initiated a discussion about so-called »potential equivalents«. It was assumed that Soviet art historians would compose a lists of art works from Germany and the Allies for »restitution in kind«. A transcript of the meeting of Soviet architects in Moscow in January of 1943 is one of the earliest documents demonstrating that the Soviet authorities above all lacked a clear concept for an evaluation process, both with regard to Soviet and foreign art objects. However, in 1945 Josef Stalin issued official decrees ordering the complete removal of cultural property from occupied Eastern European and German territories, and by 1946 the idea of »potential equivalents« was forgotten.
commented by Anna Pushakova