NewsPutin's history of scandal. Unpacking the Russian president's striptease club visit amidst recent 'naked party' controversy

Putin's history of scandal. Unpacking the Russian president's striptease club visit amidst recent 'naked party' controversy

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Images source: © Getty Images | Contributor#8523328

9:06 AM EST, December 31, 2023

On December 20th in Moscow, a television presenter held a "semi-naked" party. Among the attendees was Ksenia Sobchak, Putin's goddaughter. Images from the hedonistic gathering of Russian tycoons subsequently leaked onto the internet.

This event caused a significant stir in Russia. The idea of such events being held in the Russian capital amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine caused widespread outrage. This reaction was amplified by the fact that Russia's elite often portrays themselves as staunch defenders of conservative morality, vehemently criticizing Western culture.

However, it seems this moral high ground might be baseless. Let's remember that during the war between Russia and Chechnya at the end of 1999/early 2000, the then Prime Minister Putin was spotted enjoying himself at a strip club. This occurred on December 25th, six days before Boris Yeltsin resigned from the presidency and the acting head of state role was handed over to Putin. With a few interruptions, Putin remains in power to this day.

Reflecting on Putin's controversial visit. Here's what the dancer had to say

Putin, accompanied by several ministers and Kremlin officials, attended the "Luna" club in Petersburg. The group sat directly opposite the stage. Though, at the time, there were severe security precautions in place, the club wasn't wholly cordoned off from the public.

As per reports in Russian media, that evening, the "Luna" club put on performances dubbed "Moonlight Extravaganza", which included provocative acts like an "erotic bullfight with a semi-naked toreador". There were also dancers in lavishly bold costumes that emphasized their features. The "Express Gazette" noted that Putin was noticeably interested in the show.

One reporter shed light on the entertainment program's compositions that evening – "love between a receptionist and a maid", "a woman-snake dance", and "a powerful bull in a clash with a fragile Toradora"; one can merely conjecture what these descriptions infer.

"Niezavisimaya Gazeta" caught up with one of the dancers who recognized Putin from among the audience. - He kept his gaze fixed on me. I have to admit it made me slightly uncomfortable - shared the dancer.

Interestingly, before departing, Putin left his signature at the club. In his parting note, he expressed his delight at the visit. The signature matches those on his official documents. This plaque bearing his autograph was displayed in the club up until 2003.

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