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9 Jan, 2024 11:57

Russian rock star accused of LGBT propaganda for performing in a sock

Maxim Tesli was detained following backlash against celebrities who participated in a controversial “naked party”
Russian rock star accused of LGBT propaganda for performing in a sock

The lead singer of the rock band Schenki (Puppies), Maxim Tesli, has been arrested at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport. He is accused of petty hooliganism after he performed on stage wearing just a sock covering his private parts, the Fontanka news outlet reported on Tuesday.

Tesli, who’s real name is Maxim Moiseev, reportedly had a plane ticket to Ekaterinburg at the time of his arrest. From there, according to Fontanka’s sources, he was planning to leave for Kazakhstan.

The arrest follows outrage over a so-called “almost naked party,” which was organized by popular Russian blogger and TV personality Anastasiya Ivleeva at an elite club in Moscow last month. The party was attended by some of Russia’s top celebrities, including Eurovision winner Dima Bilan, five-time World Music Awards ‘Best Selling Russian Artist’ Philipp Kirkorov, as well as former presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak.

Many of those who were photographed and filmed wearing almost nothing at the party have since had to pay administrative fines, lost partnership deals, and seen their concerts and other corporate events canceled.

While Moiseev had nothing to do with the “almost naked party,” on Monday he performed with his band at the MOD night club in St. Petersburg. The singer was fully clothed for most of the set. However, for one of the songs, Moiseev came out on stage wearing only a sock on his genitals. At one point during the performance, the sock fell off. This was later shared on social media.

Ekaterina Mizulina, the head of the Safe Internet League – a nonprofit promoting “media literacy” – reacted to the videos by calling on authorities to investigate the singer. She called Moiseev an “imitator” of Russian rapper Vacio, who was also seen wearing just a sock during the controversial “almost naked” party.

Vacio, whose real name is Nikolay Vasiliev, was initially placed under administrative arrest for 15 days and fined 200,000 rubles ($2,220) after sharing images from the party, with prosecutors arguing that his actions had constituted LGBT propaganda. After serving his sentence, he was given an additional 10 days of administrative arrest for resisting police officers and, on Monday, was also given a summons to the military registration and enlistment office.

Meanwhile, the head of the Federal Project for Security and Anti-Corruption, Vitaly Borodin, called Moiseev’s performance a case of “LGBT propaganda” and has called for a criminal case to be opened against the singer. State Duma Deputy Vitaly Milonov has also called for an investigation into the MOD club, where Moiseev’s band had performed, and for a “children’s dance studio” to be opened in its place.