BALI, Indonesia — A Russian influencer who posted on Instagram a semi-nude photo of herself in Bali last weekend was detained by police after a local celebrity politician alerted the authorities to a supposed act of “obscenity.”
On Sunday, Alina Fazleeva posted an Instagram-ready semi-nude photo taken during her stay in Bali, in which she can be seen leaning against a large tree with intricate roots, with her arms and legs covering her nipples and pubic area.
The tasteful photo is not dissimilar to scantily clad images that social media influencers — including many adult performers — share daily on the internet, at home or while visiting other countries.
Unfortunately for the Russian influencer — who boasts almost 17,000 followers on Instagram — the Bayan tree in question is considered sacred among the communities surrounding Babakan Temple in Tua Village in the Bali region of Tabanan.
According to the local press, “this incident came to add insult to injury after another foreigner was caught dancing naked at the summit of Mount Batur earlier in the month.” The word “bule,” used by the local Indonesian press for “foreigner,” more accurately translates to “Caucasian” and can be considered a slur.
Fazleeva was promptly detained by the Marga Police Department and, according to the Bali Sun, “has been fully cooperative and has taken strides to make amends for what she claims was an innocent mistake.”
An interpreter working for the Babakan Temple told the Bali Sun that “Alina insists that she did not know that the tree or the grounds were a sacred place, nor that nudity was not only illegal but sacrilegious. She was joined by her husband during questioning by the local police. It is understood that it was her husband who joined her during the 10-minute photo shoot.”
Fazleeva and her husband have reportedly “committed to pay for any costs incurred in performing a full cleansing ritual at the temple and the tree itself.”
After being released by the police, the influencer returned to the tree to take another picture, this time with eyes closed and her hands held before her face in a posture of prayer. Fazleeva posted the picture on Instagram yesterday, apologizing for her actions.
“I appeal to my friends and all the guests of Bali,” she captioned. “I unknowingly made a big mistake for which I regret and I want to tell you so that you don’t repeat it. There are a lot of sacred places in Bali and not all of them have information signs about it, as in my case. And it is very important to treat these places and traditions with respect.”
“It seems that this willingness to make amends is going a long way in ensuring that the criminal investigation does not escalate further,” the Bali Sun editorialized. “The case is still open so there may be further investigations, but if the community is satisfied that justice has been served then it is likely that the case will be closed ... and the attention that it has bought online will serve as a reminder to visitors of all kinds to Bali, and to Balinese temples specifically, that sacred spaces must be respected; that they are not spaces conveniently designed for photoshoots, in spite of their highly photogenic nature.”
A Constant Reminder for Content Makers Abroad
The "Alina Yogi case," as it is known in local media, was amplified by celebrity politician Niluh Djelantik, an entrepreneur and shoe designer who serves as Chairman of UMKM in the NasDem Party.
Today Djelantik took to Instagram to demand the deportation of Fazleeva, posting a series of DMs telling the repentant Russian influencer to "convey this message to all your foreigner friends/photographers/models/influencers/yogi or how they called themselves; when in Rome do as the Romans do. Respect our homeland and follow the rules."
The DMs also warn Fazleeva — whom Djelantik calls "ignorant" — that "Immigrations is following up on this matter. We have pornography law which include nudity public post."
As XBIZ reported last year, recurring arrests of influencers and other people making content they share online are constant reminders that adult performers who shoot content away from their home regions should always be aware of the laws and penalties for the production and distribution of what could be considered “pornography” by local authorities.
Last June, an incident in which a couple posted a TikTok video that was noticed by locals became known in the local press as the “Porn Villa” or “Viral Villa” affair. The video included the caption “Welcome to Our New Porn Villa,” and featured identifiable Balinese landmarks, which appeared to identify the popular resort's location in the Umalas area.
Bali’s police commissioner told local press at the time that the authorities are in the process of posting signs warning tourists that pornography is a criminal offense in Indonesia, the Muslim-majority archipelago where Bali is located. Several sites around Bali are considered sacred to the local Hindu community.
The Indonesian press typically amplifies any scandals with sensationalistic headlines blasting any perceived sexual activity.
Indonesia’s harsh obscenity law, "Law 44," was passed in 2008.