NEW YORK — Give credit to Thomas Krens, the Guggenheim's director. He remains a genius hustler. For the opening Thursday of ""Amazons of the Avant-Garde,'' the exhibition of paintings by six Russian women from around the time of the Revolution, Krens invited President Vladimir Putin to stop by. Taking a break from the UN Millennium Summit, Putin attended the exhibition premiere, jokingly describing it as Russia's ""expansion"" to the United States, The Associated Press reported. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his wife, Nane, also attended the exhibition's opening. ""While we are summing up the century at the Millennium Summit, we proudly recall Russia's contribution to world culture,"" Putin said. Krens' latest multinational enterprise links the Guggenheim and the cash-challenged Hermitage in St. Petersburg. This is a big deal potentially.