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Gallery Director Who Showed Putin in Underwear Held by Police

St. Petersburg police Tuesday morning briefly held the director of a local art gallery from which a number of paintings were confiscated last week, including one of President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in women's underwear.

Police detained Tatyana Titova, head of the Museum of Power gallery, for unspecified reasons, prominent gallerist Marat Guelman wrote on his Twitter page, citing the gallery's owner, Alexander Donskoi.

Titova told the BBC that she was detained at 4 a.m. and released without explanation three hours later.

An unidentified police spokesman told Interfax that Titova was taken to a police station along with three other people, after a local resident complained about a group of "suspicious" people in his courtyard.

Titova and her colleagues were released two hours later after police examined their documents, the spokesman said, adding that none of them were officially detained.

Titova and her colleagues had gathered Monday night to prepare the exhibition for the gallery's reopening, Donskoi told Interfax. He said last week that he would reopen the exhibition Thursday with or without permission from the authorities, RIA Novosti reported.

Guelman wrote that authorities were "intimidating" Titova, but didn't elaborate.

Artist Konstantin Altunin last Tuesday fled the country after police confiscated four of his paintings from the gallery on suspicion that they were illegal. On Aug. 29 he requested asylum in France.

As well as the painting of Putin and Medvedev, police seized his works depicting Patriarch Kirill with a bare torso decorated with prison-like tattoos and St. Petersburg anti-gay lawmaker Vitaly Milonov against a rainbow flag background. His painting of State Duma Deputy and coauthor of the "gay propaganda law" Yelena Mizulina performing an acrobatic feat was also removed.

Having served as Astrakhan's mayor, Donskoi is now a businessman. He is also a political consultant, the curator of Moscow's Museum of Erotic Art Tochka G and the leader of the Party of Love.

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