Almost Naked party in Mutabor nightclub has drawn outrage from Russia’s political establishment.
A rapper’s arrest, sparked by footage revealing Russian VIPs in provocative attire, has ignited a storm of protests, calls for boycotts, and investigations. The incident highlights the diminishing space for non-conservative expressions in Russia since its military actions in Ukraine nearly two years ago.
In the aftermath, event organizer Anastasia Ivleeva issued a tearful apology video amid widespread criticism. Facing a class lawsuit from over 20 individuals, demanding a billion rubles ($11 million) for a charity aiding Ukraine, Ivleeva’s apology did not sway everyone, including influential TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov, who urged her to contribute heaters and drones to the southern Ukrainian frontline.
The arrested rapper, Vasio, had already received a 15-day jail sentence for distributing “gay propaganda” and petty hooliganism, based on the strengthened “LGBTQ propaganda” law prohibiting positive information about LGBTQ+ individuals.
Russia’s conservative shift has intensified post-Ukraine military operations, impacting even liberal high society circles in Moscow. Public figures like Filipp Kirkorov and Ksenia Sobchak apologized for their involvement in the controversial December 20 party, acknowledging the inappropriate timing.
Kirkorov, known as Russia’s flamboyant pop king, expressed regret for his attire, citing the need for responsibility in challenging times. Sobchak, media personality and daughter of Vladimir Putin’s mentor, admitted the inappropriateness of sharing party photos globally. Singer Dima Bilan empathized with those on the frontline and acknowledged the public’s resentment.
The Kremlin refrained from commenting, but foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova addressed the issue, suggesting that those involved should recognize the severity of the problem and strive for personal improvement.