For an entire year, a strip club has operated on central Moscow's seedy main street of Tverskaya Ulitsa, located just a bread loaf's toss from the mayor's office. Nudity and prostitution is certainly nothing new to Russian nightlife, but the club, known as Krasnaya Shapochka ("Little Red Riding Hood"), has been irritating local officials ever since it opened. Its big crime: The dancers are men, not women, and its window displays show large images of well-muscled male strippers.
According to the Moscow Times, it was the window displays that pushed Moscow Duma deputy Mikhail Moskvin-Tarkhanov over the edge last month. In a letter obtained by the newspaper, Moskvin-Tarkhanov complained about the windows to the head of Moscow's central administrative district, saying the building once "housed the famous Filippov's bakery and the Lady Smith cafe, opened to commemorate the Boer war." But now the club treats the public to images of men with "massive loins thrusting toward passersby." Such pictures, continued the official, reflect an "intentional perversion of neighborhood youth."
Moskvin-Tarkhanov asked that the photos be removed, pointing out that residents might assume that the club was linked with various offices of nearby city officials, including the Prosecutor General's Office and the Federation Council.
"The people are deeply offended by 4-meter men in helmets and briefs," Moskvin-Tarkhanov told the Kommersant daily newspaper. "I'm not against the club. Ladies with titties are a sight people have already gotten used to, but guys in briefs are an outrage."
The city issued a formal notice to the Krasnaya Shapochka club, recommending that the windows be painted over. But as it turned out, club director Vladimir Trubnikov had already ordered the windows masked. City officials and Trubnikov plan to meet soon to try to reach an accommodation between Moscow's political machine and the burly naked dancing men.
"I still hope that in the end we will keep our photographs," said Trubnikov. "So far I have not even started to think about any alternatives to the displays we have now."