‘Almost Naked’ party host backs Putin

The Bell

Anastasia Ivleyeva, the host of the notorious “Almost Naked” party that provoked fury among supporters of the war and cost its guests lucrative advertising contracts, has come out in support of Vladimir Putin. In her first interview since the much-discussed event, she revealed she had visited soldiers on the front lines in Ukraine and had donated to Russia’s war effort.

  • In 2021, Forbes calculated Ivleyeva’s fortune at $2.7 million, making her the richest Russian blogger. She emerged from humble roots, working as a manicurist, hostess and then running a car dealership. She became popular first thanks to short, humorous clips on Instagram. Her rising fame saw her move into TV and she now has 18 million followers on Instagram and 4.6 million on YouTube.
  • In late 2023, Ivleyeva hosted the “Almost Naked” party at a Moscow nightclub, with many Russian celebrities turning up in revealing outfits. When images of the evening hit the internet, they sparked a wave of criticism from supporters of the war and in pro-Kremlin media outlets over such an ostentatious show of debauchery at a time when Russian soldiers were fighting in trenches. Guests started to lose advertising contracts, were cut from high-profile New Year TV shows and saw the release of their films postponed indefinitely. The nightclub was forced to rebrand and one of the guests was detained for 15 days for “LGBT propaganda" after he appeared naked, with the exception of a sock covering his modesty. Several others made public apologies and even traveled to war-torn occupied territories in Ukraine. In today’s Russia, this is the most effective way of “atoning” for sins and regaining the favor of the pro-war community. Widespread persecution of those at the party began in earnest after the footage reached Putin, who publicly criticized the party-goers.
  • Ivleyeva had previously apologized for the party. She was fined around $1,000 for public disorder over the party and another $545 for “discrediting” the Russian army in an anti-war post on her Instagram from the start of the invasion. Amid the fallout from the “Almost Naked” party, she has disavowed herself of those previous views.
  • Last week, she gave her first interview since the scandal, speaking to Andrei Tretyakov, a far less prominent blogger and restaurateur. She spoke for more than an hour about the bullying she faced and said the party was an “event that happened in the wrong place at the wrong time,” adding that the backlash was justified. She revealed that she had spent her birthday in Donbas and had helped Russian soldiers by buying them a drone and a minibus. She promised to create an “honest media outlet” where she would analyze the situation “from both sides.” Asked what she would say if she came face-to-face with Putin, she said she would ask how she could help him. When asked the same question in a 2018 interview, she had said: “Aren’t you fucked?”

Why the world should care

Ivleyeva’s story is a clear example of the compromises Russian celebrities have to make with the authorities if they want to preserve their status and income. To stay in the public eye, they have to abandon any hint of criticism of the Kremlin and stand up for “traditional” values.


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