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Jailed Russian rapper summoned to recruitment center

Prison security tower. (MaxPixel/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian rapper Vacio, who is serving a second jail term for taking part in a party at a Moscow nightclub last month that sparked controversy, has been summoned to a military recruitment center.

A member of the Public Monitoring Commission of Moscow, Aleksei Lobarev, said on January 8 that he visited Vacio, whose real name is Nikolai Vasilyev, in a Moscow jail a day earlier, adding that the rapper had told him that he had been officially summoned to show up at a military recruitment center this week.

However, he won’t be able to do so, as he is serving a 10-day jail term on a hooliganism charge.

Vacio, who attended an “almost naked party” at the Mutabor night club on December 20-21 with just a sock on his genitals, was the only person sent to jail, on a hooliganism charge, for attending the party.

After serving his first term, 15 days, last week, Vacio said he was taken to a military recruitment center, where he was handed a written order to show up on January 9.

However, after bringing him to the recruitment center, police took him to a local station for “a preventive talk,” and a Moscow court again sentenced Vacio to 10 days in jail for hooliganism.

It is not clear why Vacio was summoned to the military recruitment center. He is legally unfit to serve in the armed forces due to an unspecified medical condition.

Pictures and videos taken at the scandalous party that was attended by many celebrities appeared online and caused outcry among pro-Kremlin activists and lawmakers in late December.

The party’s organizer, blogger Anastasia Ivleyeva and popular singers, such as Filipp Kirkorov, Anna Asti, Eurovision song contest winner Dima Bilan, Lolita Milyavskaya, journalist Ksenia Sobchak, and others offered public apologies amid a wave of official criticism.

A court in Moscow did not charge Ivleyeva but ruled that the party had “propagated nontraditional sexual relations.” Propagating gay relations is a crime in Russia.

However, the Investigative Committee launched a preliminary investigation into possible tax evasion by Ivleyeva.

Russia’s largest mobile network operator, MTS, the Tinkoff Bank, the VK social network, as well as the TNT and NTV television channels canceled advertising contracts with Ivleyeva and other celebrities who attended the party.

Also, the concerts of several attending entertainers as well as their participation in special television programs on New Year’s Eve were canceled.

Over the weekend, in an apparent way to clear himself from possible accusations or even charges, the owner of the Mutabor night club that hosted the party, Mikhail Danilov, publicly handed to the Russian Orthodox Church what he called a piece of the relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, which, according to Danilov, he bought in Vatican City last year.

The wave of apologies that participants rushed to issue prompted heated debate online, where some Russians compared them with the era of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, during which many resorted to repenting for deeds real or imaginary in order to try and save their lives amid mass purges.