Crimean-born social media star, Xolidayboy has been served a summons by the Russian army to serve in the war against Ukrainian. Shortly afterwards, the musician passed out on stage at a show in Stavropol, reports BBC.
The ongoing war has seen many online figures fall victim to censorship and/or conscription with anti-war activists alleging this to be retaliation from Russia’s Safe Internet League for expressing pro-Ukrainian sentiments.
Russian crack down on influencers
Despite mainstream news shifting focus, the war between Ukraine and Russia is ongoing with casualty rates reaching beyond 500,000 since 2022. Xolidayboy, whose real name is Ivan Minayev, is known for his expressive fashions, which contradict accepted norms for men in Russia. He has spoken out against the Russian annexation of Crimea and called himself Ukrainian, having been born in the port city of Sevastopol.
In public statements made by head of the Safe Internet League, Ekaterina Mizulina, she denounces Minayev’s comments about Crimean annexation, objecting to him saying that it hasn’t made life better for Crimeans.
Minayev is not the only one to feel targeted by Russian authorities for holding oppositional views to the invasion of Ukraine. In DNA #286, we feature Russian-born photographer Serge Lee, who shot our cover portfolio.
Serge made the decision to flee Russia when it became dangerous to speak out publicly against the invasion of Ukraine. He explains that when details of the invasion became clear, he found himself at odds with patriotic loved ones.
“I learned how quickly you can become disappointed in loved ones who, at such a moment, tell you nonsense such as, ‘they are bombing themselves’ and ‘if we hadn’t started, we would have been attacked’. When you see that your views on good and evil are as far apart as the poles of the Earth, your world collapses in a matter of seconds,” he says.
Serge found he arrived at a moral line in the sand when details of the casualties became available and were met with indifference by those around him.
“I was simply suffocating being in such a situation when people were being killed every day in Ukraine, while in Russia everyone pretended that nothing was happening,” he says. “I would like to someday be proud of Russia for its prosperity and the well-being of its citizens. I would like to see Russia in a way that you would want to return to. But I’m afraid I won’t live to see this moment.”
Ivan Minayev now faces the same difficult predicament that Serge Lee. Opposing Russia’s hardline stance on Ukraine is dangerous and with a public profile, escaping to a safe country may be impossible. The political situation is so tense and complex with real human lives behind it.
To read Serge Lee’s portfolio in full, pick up the latest issue of DNA Magazine here.