Some $15,000 already raised toward purchase of Belarusian-language statute of Grand Duchy of Litva


The Mahilyow History Museum in the eastern Belarusian city has already raised some $15,000 to buy a copy of the 1558 Statute of the Grand Duchy of Litva from a private collector in Moscow.

The museum launched on May 14 the $45,000 fundraising appeal for the unique document in the old Belarusian language that had been put up for sale on an online auction.

Museum Director Alyaksey Batsyukow has already visited Moscow to give a deposit of $4,500 to the collector.

“We have paid the deposit, that means that the Statute will not be sold to any other people, they will wait for us to raise the entire amount,” he said.

The museum is to pay the entire sum before July 25.

According to Ms. Batsyukow, earlier this month a large Belarusian company expressed its intention to donate enough money for buying the document. “They proposed to buy this book in a solemn ceremony and donate the book to our museum. They also asked us to stop raising funds and close down the account. We decided to wait until the weekend was over and then these people backed down on their promise. They explained that they wanted to be more than just donors,” Ms. Batsyukow said.

The statute, printed with money from prominent statesman Lew Sapieha (1557-1633) in 1558, was reprinted twice in the old Belarusian language in the late 1590s and came out in the Polish language in the early 1600s. “It is the Belarusian-language book that we are interested in. Belarus does not have its copies,” Mr. Batsyukow said earlier this month. // BelaPAN