Authorities took action against Russian celebrities who attended an “almost naked” themed party in Moscow, organised by blogger Anastasia Ivleeva, CNN reported. The event, held at the Mutabor club on December 20-21, faced strong opposition from Orthodox Church officials, pro-war activists, and pro-Kremlin lawmakers, especially considering the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Rapper Vacio, who attended the party wearing only a sock to cover his genitals, has been sentenced to 15 days in jail and fined 200,000 rubles (approximately USD 2,200) after a Moscow court ruled the event was aimed at “propagating non-traditional sexual relationships.” Vasilyev was found guilty of offences including “petty hooliganism.”
“Nikolay Vasilyev (better known as rapper Vacio) participated in a party at the ‘Mutabor’ nightclub, disrupted public order, used vulgar language, and disseminated publications in Telegram channels aimed at promoting non-traditional sexual relationships in mass media on the internet,” the court ruling said, according to CNN. The Kremlin’s expansion of anti-LGBTQ laws in recent years, coupled with a conservative shift following the Ukraine invasion, has heightened societal tensions. Last month, Russia’s Supreme Court labelled the “international LGBTQ movement” as an extremist organisation.
Facing public outcry, rapper Vacio issued a public apology. Initially, the organiser, Ivleeva, stated that the attire choices of the partygoers were individual decisions, asserting that the event served as an opportunity to exhibit photos taken during her role as the chief editor of the Russian edition of Playboy. However, in a 21-minute video released later, she tearfully apologized, seeking forgiveness or condemnation.
A lawsuit seeking 1 billion rubles (USD 11 million) for moral damages was filed against Ivleeva for organising the party. Pop star Anna Asti, another attendee, had her New Year’s event in Moscow cancelled. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refrained from commenting on the controversy, urging discretion. “Regarding this party, I ask for your mercy: let’s stay the only ones in the country not discussing this topic,” he said.
Pro-war activist Ekaterina Mizulina thanked Russian police for their response, sharing messages from citizens expressing outrage at hosting such events during a military conflict. Critics, including Vitaly Borodin of the Federal Project for Security and Anti-Corruption, condemned the party as “sodomy, obscurantism, and LGBT propaganda.” Borodin called on the Minister of Internal Affairs to send police to the Mutabor nightclub, emphasising the perceived insensitivity during a time when Russian youth are involved in military operations in Ukraine, CNN reported.