Putin wants new ‘elite’ in Russia
Military veterans returning from the Ukraine conflict should become Russia’s new elite, President Vladimir Putin has proposed. Addressing ministers and top St Petersburg city officials on Friday, Putin also called on Russian ministers to provide decommissioned military personnel with all the support necessary to facilitate their transition back to civilian life.
The Russian head of state previously revealed that some 617,000 service members had been deployed in Ukraine.
“I met today with students, who put their studies on hold, many of them, [and] went to the warzone,” Putin remarked.
“It’s out of these people that we should be forming the country’s elite in the future,” he added. The Russian head of state described returning troops as those who can be entrusted with the country’s development.
“Hence, they should be supported [and] assisted,” President Putin concluded.
He also contrasted veterans with “people who, pardon me, expose their genitals or show their bottom” – an apparent reference to a private party featuring an ‘almost naked’ dress code organized by prominent Russian blogger Anastasia Ivleeva in Moscow last month.
Photos and videos from the event, which was attended by Russian celebrities, mostly pop artists, ended up on the internet, scandalizing conservative activists and authorities alike.
One attendee in particular, 25-year-old rapper Nikolai Vasilyev, aka Vacio, drew special attention as he sported nothing but a Balenciaga sock on his penis in the way of clothing. Some have since suggested that he was emulating Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis’ look from the 1990s.
Several days later, a court in Moscow found Vacio guilty of promoting LGBT values and sentenced him to fifteen days of administrative detention on top of a 200,000-ruble fine (just over $2,000). The rapper insisted that he merely wanted to “surprise the public,” adding that he is not an LGBT supporter.
In the wake of the party, organizer Ivleeva posted videos on her social media, expressing regret that footage of the private event had been made public. She also vowed to direct all the proceeds from the sale of tickets to charitable organizations.
In late December a court deemed the ‘almost naked’ event to be LGBT propaganda under a law banning such activities that had been signed by President Putin in December 2022.
Last November, the Russian Supreme Court under the law recognized the “international LGBT movement” as an extremist organization and banned its activities in the country.