Konstantin Altunin said he fled to France and has already received the list of documents he needs to present to French immigration authorities, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Police confiscated Altunin's satirical painting, which depicted Putin, Russia's president, in a woman's nightgown, and Medvedev, the prime minister, in a bra and panties, from the Museum of Authority in St. Petersburg Monday. Three other Altunin works, including one of St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, who authored legislation banning promotion of homosexuality to minors, also were seized and the gallery's "Rulers" exhibit was shut down Tuesday.
Police have suggested the paintings may have broken Russian law without specifying exactly what the infraction may be.
Altunin wants his paintings back.
"I demand the return of my paintings, which were stolen from the Museum of Authority by an organized criminal group led by lawmaker Milonov," he said in an open letter posted on the museum's VKontakte social network page.