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Culture news, 13.01.2004 13:23

Nabokov museum rent arrears

Vladimir Nabokov City Hall says the museum owes the city budget about $23,000, according to an agreement signed by the museum's management in 1998. The agreement determined the rental at $500 per month for the 345-square meter area occupied by the museum on the ground floor of a building at 57 Bolshaya Morskaya, where Nabokov spent the first 18 years of his life. But no rent has been paid.

"According to a new law, the building will soon get the status of an architectural monument of federal significance," property committee spokeswoman Tatyana Prosvirina said Monday in a telephone interview. "When that happens, we may allow the museum to use the space at no charge."

The museum has not been able to raise enough funds to pay the rent because its only income is from ticket sales and private donations, Tatyana Ponomoryova, the museum's director said Monday in an interview. This income is just enough to keep the museum running and pay the salaries of its three employees.

Dimitry Nabokov, the writer's son who lives in Switzerland, has taken the stance that the house belonged to the family and was taken from them illegally by the Soviets, so the government itself should care about such questions as financing for the museum.

Dmitry Nabokov has agreed to transfer to the museum money he receives as payments for publishing rights, but Russian publishers treat Nabokov's works as not subject to copyright law because they were written before 1973.

City Hall's cultural committee is considering putting the museum under municipal jurisdiction, but it would take some time until all the technical details of the plan are clarified.

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