Mon, 15 Aug 2022

Woman could face up to a year in prison if convicted under Russian rules protecting feelings of religious believers

Moscow police have opened a probe into a 24-year-old Instagram model who posted sultry pictures of herself posing naked in front of a church in the Russian capital, amid a spate of similar cases involving online influencers.

Polina Morugina uploaded the provocative snaps to social media over the summer. In them, she stands naked and posing provocatively, wearing high heels and decked out in tattoos from head to toe, in front of the Church of the Protection of the Holy Virgin in the Russian capital's Fili region.

The blogger, who also sports three chest piercings and has starred in a number of explicit online clips, deleted her account on Instagram, where the photos had been showcased alongside other nude snaps, after authorities announced this week that they were investigating her. She could face a fine of 500,000 rubles (nearly $7,000) or up to a year in prison for "violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religion."

Credit: Polina Morugina � Social media

In November, Alexander Malkevich, the head of a Russian government commission on mass media, commented on a growing trend of bloggers taking naked photos in front of religious buildings across the country. He said that they should be punished not only on grounds of violating the right to religious freedom, but also for damaging public morals.

Malkevich added that he thought such bloggers should be given much larger fines than previously, but that they shouldn't be threatened with jail time. "They should get such a big fine that a meaningful life for them will end," he elaborated. "Meaning they will be paying off this fine for 25 years. But they shouldn't go to jail, because that would completely destroy their lives."

In October, police in St. Petersburg announced that they were investigating Instagram model Ira Volkova for posting revealing photos taken in front of the city's historic St. Isaac's Cathedral.

That same month, Russian Bobiev, a Tajik blogger, and his Russian girlfriend, Asya Akimova, were each handed ten months behind bars for simulating oral sex in a photograph taken outside Moscow's iconic St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square. The pair were the first to receive time behind bars under the law, with all those previously convicted having been given a fine or suspended sentence.


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