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Contributors 23 October The interactive strip shows and other debaucheries attracted many young Muscovites, eager to experience the sexual liberalization that Russian society had undergone. The club also became a frequent spot for prostitutes, whose presence was becoming increasingly common in Moscow. However, the sexualization of Russian culture had already come too far in early post-Soviet Moscow, and the club was never closed. Today, the Hungry Duck continues to be a major establishment for entertainment in Moscow, catering to the needs of both Russian and foreign patrons, with services provided by teams of official strippers and unofficial prostitutes.
If one were to describe the Hungry Duck to Moscow residents prior to the mids, they would be in disbelief that such an institution could exist, as sex was largely invisible to the public eye under the sexually conservative Soviet state. Furthermore, the phenomenon of sex-trafficking, to which Russia contributes as both a destination and source country, further widens the spectrum of the problem. I will argue that the sexualization of Russian culture has both sensationalized and normalized prostitution, causing many women to seek it as an acceptable form of work in the face of economic hardship.
I will contrast this post-Soviet phenomenon with the Soviet period, when prostitution and the sexual representation of women in the media were almost nonexistent.
By placing current developments into a historical context, I aim to explain the changes occurring today, to broaden the terms of debate, and to further contemporary understandings of the problems of prostitution and sex-trafficking in post-Soviet Russia. Such a survey must distinguish between the sensationalized view of prostitution and the relatively mundane reality of women selling sex to support their families and survive.
The nongovernmental agencies that have become increasingly involved in this situation often present a sensationalized view, in which the woman is purely a victim of male exploitation.