Moscow moves to shut down ‘depraved’ nudist beach

2019-10-15 05:04:01


Moscow nudists may soon lose their most popular beach as city authorities plan to expel them from the Serebryany Bor natural park.

City Duma deputy Lyudmila Stebenkova, who is spearheading the campaign, denounced the beach-goers as “depraved”.

“We can’t encourage vice. They’re completely out of their minds,” she said.

Moves to transform the beach in Serebryany Bor park, used by nudists for almost 30 years, reflect an increased enthusiasm for conservative values in the country, often supported by the Orthodox Church.

Everything from to erotic scenes in classic Russian literature have fallen foul of this climate.

In May, a similar beach outside . It had been a nudist beach since the 1960s, but this year it was labelled by local authorities as harmful to “public morality”.

“We should protect our children from some old naked hairy pervert passing by,” Vitaly Milonov, St Petersburg’s , said of the closure.

‘Naked shindigs’

Stebenkova, a member of the Vladimir Putin’s ruling United party, launched her anti-nudist campaign on her LiveJournal blog last week.

“Naked people have occupied the Strogino water meadow. Their shindigs often end in fights, drinking or sex in public. But the police can’t put a stop to this orgy because there are no laws regulating nudism,” Stebenkova wrote.

“We will soon discuss this matter in the Moscow City Duma. I don’t think beaches like this should exist,” she added.

The shore of the Moscow River at Serebyany Bor became spontaneously popular with nudists in the mid 1980s, Sergei Mityushin, head of the Moscow branch of the said.

But Mityushin acknowledged that without essential facilities like toilets or rubbish bins, the beach has become quite messy.

“It’s very popular with alcoholics and criminals … They sit there, drink and leave a lot of trash that no one cleans up,” he said, pointing out that other beaches don’t have these problems because they are fully serviced by the authorities.

Bathers in Russia’s rivers are a common site, whatever the time of year. Photograph: KPA/Zuma / Rex Features

Protecting subcultures

Mityushin suggested that Moscow officials wanted to take control of the beach because of its prime location, with an expensive development and real estate project situated nearby.

The leader of the Moscow nudists said the community would gladly consider an alternative venue. “There’s a quarry in Lyubertsy [a town in the Moscow region] where some nudists also go. It’s a good place, not easy to find for regular people, so if there were a beach with all the facilities, including a fence and guards, it would be great [as an alternative to Serebryany Bor],” Mityushin said.

“But no one from the city administration has ever contacted us or asked us to come and discuss options.”

Regardless of these offers for compromise, Stebenkov remains staunchly opposed: “In my opinion, it [nudism] should be banned for good,” she said.

Her colleague in the City Duma, the deputy head of its commission for town planning, Oleg Soroka was less categorical.

“Closing [the beach] is a radical decision. I think we should decide this in a civilised manner … It’s a subculture, and if it exists, it’s wrong to ban it,” he told the Russian News Service radio station.

The issue should be discussed with Muscovites collectively, Soroka said. “If the results of the discussion are positive [for the nudist beach supporters], we will start looking for appropriate places for the naturists,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in

The standfirst of this article was amended on 24 August 2015 to change the word ‘naturalist’ to ‘naturist’.