Moscow, December 28: A recent party at a popular nightclub in Moscow, where attendees were “almost naked,” has sparked controversy and backlash from officials. A rapper who attended the event wearing only a sock was sentenced to 15 days in jail, contracts with sponsors of some of Russia’s top entertainers have been cancelled, and it is reported that President Vladimir Putin is not pleased.

The party, which took place during Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine and amidst the government’s push for a more conservative social agenda, has triggered a rapid and intense reaction. A video of Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, listening to an explanation from a celebrity attendee has been widely shared online. The news outlet Baza, known for its connections with the security services, reported that soldiers in Ukraine were among the first to complain after seeing the footage, and that Putin himself was unimpressed by photos of the event, reported NDTV.

Peskov refrained from publicly commenting on the growing scandal, asking reporters to excuse him and suggesting that they be the only ones in the country not discussing the matter. Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated that the event had tarnished the reputations of the participants, but that they now had an opportunity for self-improvement. River Turns Red in Russia: Iskitimka River Mysteriously Turns Into Unnatural Shade of Red in Kemerovo, Old Video Surfaces Again.

The strong reaction from authorities, pro-Kremlin lawmakers, bloggers, state media, and Orthodox Church groups has dominated headlines for several days, overshadowing stories about rising egg prices and inflation. The party, held at Moscow’s Mutabor nightclub on December 21, was organised by blogger Anastasia (Nastya) Ivleeva and attended by famous singers, who appeared in various states of undress. Russia-Ukraine War: Moscow Arrests Man With Russian-Italian Citizenship Claiming Military Sabotage Under Ukraine's Order.

Ivleeva, who has since become one of Russia’s most recognized figures and attended the party wearing jewelry worth 23 million roubles ($251,000), has issued two public apologies. In her second apology, released on December 27, she expressed regret for her actions and accepted the consequences, but asked for a “second chance.”

Since the incident, Ivleeva’s name has been removed as a public face of major Russian mobile phone operator MTS. The tax authorities have launched an investigation that could result in a five-year prison sentence, and a Moscow court has accepted a lawsuit from a group of individuals demanding she pay 1 billion roubles ($10.9 million) for “moral suffering.” If the lawsuit is successful, the plaintiffs want the money to be donated to a state fund that supports Ukraine war veterans.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 28, 2023 10:50 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website