The director of a renowned museum of Russian avant garde art in Uzbekistan has been abruptly sacked.
The government of Uzbekistan's autonomous Karakalpakstan region dismissed Marinika Babanazarova from the Savitsky museum on August 24, without specifying a reason.
Babanazarova, who has been heading the museum since 1984, told the BBC that the decision is linked to accusations that she stole original paintings and replaced them with fakes. She rejected the accusations as "absurd."
Staff members of the museum, officially known as the Karakalpakstan State Art Museum, protested against the decision, saying in a statement that they have no doubts about the director's honesty.
The museum, located in Karakalpakstan's capital, Nukus, has some 90,000 artworks, including the second largest collection of Russian avant garde art in the world.