A world-renowned collection of avant-garde Russian art housed in a remote museum in Uzbekistan may be at risk after the director was abruptly fired on allegedly trumped-up charges of theft, staff say. The alarm was raised by staff working at the Savitsky Karakalpkstan Museum who claim the director, Marinika Babanazarova, was forced to resign over allegations she had stolen works of art. But the staff insist that nothing has been stolen from the state-run museum, which is located in the remote city of Nukus some 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of Tashkent and houses more than 50,000 pieces of Soviet-era avant-garde art. They claim the move to oust Babanazarova, which has not been confirmed by the Uzbek authorities, is part of a ploy by officials to seize control of its valuable collection which

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