The Russian city of Tolyatti, an automobile-manufacturing center not unlike Detroit in the United States, recently celebrated a dual holiday. The city turned 277-years-old last Sunday, June 1, 2014, the same day as the International Day for Protection of Children. In honor of the two occasions, there were several public events throughout Tolyatti. Not all the attractions were family-friendly, however. The city also hosted an outdoor car show that featured scantily clad women pole dancing. Unsurprisingly, images from the spectacle have both captivated and outraged many Russians online.
Vkontakte user Mikhail Kalashnikoff, a self-described Tolyatti native, appears to have uploaded to the Web some of the first video footage of the pole dancers. His recording and a (graphic) photograph by another eyewitness have allowed Internet users to view the performance with their own eyes, adding to the scandal a mix of voyeurism that has only boosted public interest. The story is currently trending on the Russian image board Pikabu.ru, where it has attracted over 100 comments and more than 900 “up-votes” in the past 11 hours.
Holiday footage from Tolyatti on June 1, 2014.
Many RuNet users have been quick to mock the irony that Tolyatti hosted lewd dancing in broad daylight on a holiday dedicated to keeping children from harm. Some commenters posted images of Yelena Mizulina—the Russian politician responsible for laws against “gay propaganda,” obscenities online, divorce, and foreign adoptions of Russian orphans—implying that her conservative social campaign has failed. Others quoted a popular sketch by the troupe Comedy Club, where a character, the corrupt mayor of the fictional city of Ust-Olginsk, defends the decision to build a strip club on the ruins of a schoolhouse, arguing, “What’s the big fuss? Strippers are kids, too. They walk around in underwear and sleep during the day.”
Still others have battled over semantics, insisting that pole dancing isn’t the same as stripping. Indeed, there is a whole body of literature delineating the differences between stripping, exotic dancing, strip dancing, striptease, pole dancing, and so on.
RuNet users have been happy to debate the nuances.