June 15 in Russian history

1885: The new labour law limits working hours for children and women. Night labour is forbidden to them.

1886: Yet another labour law defines the rules of the employment on factories. The law requires that work record books are given to the workers, where full details of the employment are given. Factory regulations are to be approved by special inspectors. Fines imposed on the workers are limited (earlier they sometimes amounted up to 40% of the salary). The salary must be payed in monetary form only. It is illegal to collect payments from workers for medical assistance, for electricity, tools, etc. Employers are not allowed to receive interest income from the credits given to the workers. Workers' payments for apartments, laundries, baths owned by the factory owner are not to exceed the limits defined by the state inspection.

1940: Soviet troops enter Lithuania. This event has somehow led to another one, which happened 45 years later…

1985: A 48-year old Lithuanian comes to the Hermitage museum in Leningrad, asks the museum staff which painting is the most famous here and, when she points at Rembrandt's Danaë, he throws one liter of sulfuric acid to the painting, grabs it and starts to slash it with a knife with a battlecry "Freedom to Lithuania!" Policeman Ivan Zhosan ran and knocked the man down. The man had two bombs tied to his legs, but they did not explode. He later explained that the didn't want to harm the people standing around and decided not to explode them, but anyway, the policeman left him no chances. The painting turned into the brown mess. The museum specialists immediately started consultations with chemists and began the attempts to save the precious picture. They cried when they began the work, they kept the painting in the vertical position, and blew mouthfuls of water at the painting to prevent even worse losses. Almost one third of the picture was lost forever. The restoration went on for twelve years, till 1997. In spite of the efforts, the restoration was not complete. It will never be complete, the specialists say. Vladimir Matveyev, the Hermitage museum deputy director on exhibitions, said: "The Danaë that was, will never be. The people who will see the new Danaë, will be shocked. But what remained is not fake." The restorators team leader Yevgeny Gerasimov adds: "We had no aim to hide the wounds. We decided it was honest to leave what remained of the real Rembrandt. Fortunately, the sulfuric acid does not destroy the pigments, it only breaks the ties between molecules of the paint. We tried to restore this damage as much as we could."

The bastard who vandalized the painting, was found to be mentally ill. It is not clear whether the diagnosis was correct. First, he explained his actions by the hatred towards the USSR. No, not political. He demanded the state to pay him pension due to his health problems (hernia and dyspepsia), but received an advice to get a job. During the interrogation, he said: "I do not regret of anything. If I have enough health to survive through the jail, I will do something like this again." He repeated the same in 2005, when Lithuanian journalists visited him. He was not sentenced to jail, but was sent to a mental hospital. Later, he was released and he still lives in Lithuania.

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