The dressing down of Russia’s underdressed celebs
On December 20, a well-known Russian blogger and TV host threw a nightclub party in Moscow. Billed as an "Almost Naked Party," the event drew large numbers of celebrities. Then photos taken inside the club began to hit social media, and the backlash began. How, some Russians asked, can people behave so scandalously while our boys fight in Ukraine?
The event organizer now faces a class action lawsuit aimed at redirecting proceeds from the event to a veteran’s organization called Defender of the Fatherland. One especially under-dressed rapper was jailed for 15 days for "disorderly conduct" and fined for "promoting non-traditional sexual relations." Other famous partygoers face threats of public boycott and must choose between online apologies or cries for fairness. Politicians are competing to provide the most colorful expression of wartime outrage.
This is our first reminder that 2024 is an election year in Russia, and that traditional values will have a big year. It’s hard not to like President Putin’s re-election chances, but his past actions make clear he does care about public opinion and voting-day turnout. Candidates for other offices are also hoping to make names for themselves before the balloting.
So, it isn’t only the lonely dissident who faces the long arm of Russian law and threats to stay in line this year. It’s anyone in public life who hopes to remain there.