Russia fines actress who hosted ‘almost naked’ party over her calls for peace


TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — A Moscow court on Thursday imposed a 50,000-ruble ($560) fine on a TV presenter and actress who gained notoriety for hosting an “almost naked” party, saying her social media posts calling for peace discredited the military.

Anastasia Ivleeva sparked an explosion of public indignation in the increasingly traditionalist country when she hosted a party in December encouraging guests to wear almost nothing.

Ivleeva did not appear in court Thursday for the non-criminal case, in which she was fined for two social media posts in the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that called for peace and negotiations. The court found her guilty of violating a law penalizing remarks discrediting the military, although the law was passed several days after the posts.

One of the posts on Instagram, which is blocked in Russia but often accessed by VPN, showed a black square and the words “No to war.” The other showed a sketch of a dove and called on authorities to “reach those compromises that would stop the killing of people.”

Soon after the invasion launched on Feb. 24, 2022, Russia cracked down on any perceived criticism of what it calls a “special military operation.” In the stiffest punishment so far, prominent opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a speech in the United States denouncing the war.

Oleg Orlov, co-chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization Memorial, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for criticism of the war. Orlov separately has been designated a “foreign agent” and was to appeal that ruling in a Thursday court hearing by videolink, but the hearing was held in a courtroom without that capability, the Mediazona news site reported.

Ivleeva became the focus of a scandal after hosting a bash at a Moscow nightclub whose invitations stated the dress code as “almost naked.” A well-known rapper showed up wearing only socks wrapped around his genitals and feet.

Photos from the party circulated widely on social media. Conservative legislators, bloggers and others then unleashed a storm of criticism, contending the images were unseemly, even unpatriotic, for a country embroiled in war.

The denunciation of the party also reflected the rise of fiercely conservative sentiment in Russia amid President Vladimir Putin’s accusations against the West for trying to undermine “traditional values” and the nationalism intensified by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The lightly dressed rapper, who uses the stage name Vacio, was sentenced to a total of 25 days in jail for disorderly conduct and fined 200,000 rubles ($22,000) for allegedly spreading “LGBTQ propaganda” in a video.

A lawsuit against Ivleeva alleging moral damages and demanding $11 million in compensation be paid into a fund supporting soldiers fighting in Ukraine was thrown out of court in January on jurisdictional grounds.

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