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Russian couple deported over nude photoshoot on sacred tree at Indonesian Island

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date
Russian couple deported over nude photoshoot on sacred tree at Indonesian Island

Denpasar: Indonesian officials announced on Friday that a Russian influencer and her husband will be deported from Bali after they staged a naked photoshoot on a sacred 700-year-old tree three years ago.

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Alina Fazleeva, who has over 18,000 followers on social media, staged a nude photoshoot in 2019 at a weeping paperbark tree inside Babakan temple grounds in the Tabanan Regency. She uploaded the photos, taken by her husband Andrey Fazleev, and in the caption described hearing “her ancestors’ voices” when she hugged the tree, saying that she had become a “part of an endless chain.”

Police have so far refused to charge her with a crime, but have turned her case over to immigration officers who may take a dim view of someone devout Hindu-Buddhists have branded a ‘trash tourist’.

The picture, which was taken by her husband Andrey Fazleev, was uploaded to Instagram and went viral, irking Balinese communities.

Mountains, trees and other natural features are considered holy in Balinese Hindu culture, as they are thought to be the homes of the gods.

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“Both of them are proven to have carried out activities that endanger public order and do not respect the local norms,” Bali immigration chief Jamaruli Manihuruk told reporters Friday.

“So, they will be sanctioned with deportation.”

The husband and wife will be banned from Indonesia for at least six months, and also had to participate in a cleansing ceremony at the sacred area in accordance with local belief, he added.

Alina Fazleeva apologised on her Instagram account in English and Bahasa Indonesia, acknowledging that she “made a big mistake”.

“There are a lot of sacred places in Bali and not all of them have information signs about it, as in my case,” she said.

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“And, it is very important to treat these places and traditions with respect”.

Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster said his administration would no longer tolerate disrespectful tourists.

Last month, a Canadian actor and self-proclaimed wellness guru was also facing deportation from Bali after a video went viral of him naked at holy Mount Batur while doing the Haka, New Zealand’s Maori ceremonial dance.

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