Fake video claims German auction house will raise money for Ukraine by selling, then destroying, Russian art

A German auction house has had to issue a statement after a fake video emerged online suggesting it plans to raise money for the war in Ukraine through a sale of Russian art to be destroyed.

The video, which is gaining attention on social media, claims Bremen-based auction house Bolland & Marotz has asked collectors to donate works of art by Russian artists to be destroyed. The auction house published a statement on its website claiming the video was a hoax: “An auction depicted in the video will not take place. [The auction house] strongly distances himself from this video and is outraged that our name is being misused for this one,” he said in a statement.

The post appeared as a report by Euronews; the media also published an articleconfirming that the 67-second video is fake. One version was reportedly viewed over 530,000 times. It has now been removed from all known platforms.

“The video is disgusting, and we don’t understand how anyone could imagine such an auction and besides, why did this someone choose us? It looks like a nightmare,” says Christina Schulze, director of Bolland & Marotz. She adds that the debacle has “a huge impact on our reputation”.

This latest incident illustrates the charged status of Russian culture amid ongoing Western sanctions. “The visibility of Russian culture on the world stage in the current climate has created a platform for people to express their opposition and anger at the invasion of Ukraine by calling for shows to be canceled, or reject or ban Russian artists and musicians,” said Jo Vickery, founder of the eponymous consultancy, which specializes in art from Russia and the former Soviet Union. “We need to make more distinction between the regime and the people. Many of Russia’s greatest contemporary artists have left the country under difficult circumstances and need our support.