Several Russian celebrities have faced severe backlash after appearing scantily clad at an “almost nude” themed party in Moscow. The country is at war In Ukraine and the authorities are pushing an increasingly conservative agenda.
A December 20-21 party hosted by blogger Anastasia Ivleeva at the Mutabor club in the capital drew criticism from Orthodox Church officials and pro-war activists and pro-Kremlin lawmakers.
One of the participants, rapper Vasio (Nikolai Vasiliev) who showed up wearing socks that covered his genitalia, was sentenced to 15 days in prison and fined 200,000 rubles (about $2,200) after a Moscow court ruled the event was targeted. Propagation of Non-Traditional Sexual Relations.”
Vasiliev was found guilty of crimes including “aggravated hooliganism”.
“Nikolay Vasiliev (aka rapper Vasio) participated in a party at the 'Mudabor' nightclub, disturbed public order, used foul language, and disseminated publications on Telegram channels aimed at promoting non-traditional sexual relations in mass media on the Internet,” the court verdict said.
In recent years, the Kremlin has expanded anti-LGBTQ laws, a conservative shift that intensified following the invasion of Ukraine. Last month, Russia's Supreme Court It declared the “international LGBTQ movement” an extremist organization.
The backlash against the party in Moscow comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin increasingly focuses on traditional values as opposed to what he portrays as the decadence and immorality of the West. He is up for re-election in March 2024.
Vasilyev was one of those who attended the apology party.
Organizer Ivleeva initially said that partygoers' clothing choices were their own, and the event was an opportunity to showcase photos taken during her time as editor-in-chief of the Russian edition of Playboy.
On Wednesday, Ivleeva released a new video lasting more than 21 minutes, where she tearfully apologized, demanding forgiveness and a second chance or a public reprimand.
A lawsuit seeking 1 billion rubles ($11 million) in moral damages was filed against Ivleeva on Tuesday for organizing the party, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
One of the other participants, pop star Anna Asti, had canceled a New Year's event at another club in Moscow, the venue said on its website.
“Dear friends, due to reasons beyond our control, Anna Asti's performance has been rescheduled to a new date, which we will announce soon,” the message read.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Wednesday: “Regarding this party, I ask for your mercy: we will only be in the country without discussing this topic.”
Ekaterina Misulina, an outspoken pro-war activist and head of the Safer Internet League, thanked the Russian police for their response on Wednesday and shared Telegram screenshots of what she said were messages from concerned and outraged citizens.
“How can I explain to my nephew, who lost both his legs in a special operation and was crippled, why he fought for Ivleeva's underwear and why he was crippled?” read one of the messages referring to the official Russian rhetoric for its invasion of Ukraine.
“It is disgraceful to hold such events at a time when our youth are dying in military operations and many children are losing their fathers,” Mizulina said in her own post. “Our fighters on the front lines certainly didn't fight for this.”
Meanwhile, Vitaly Borodin, head of the Federal Program for Security and Anti-Corruption, expressed outrage, calling the event “sodomy, blackmail and LGBT propaganda”, urging the Minister of Internal Affairs to send police to the Mutabor nightclub.