The chief editor of Flirt magazine, a publication known around the capital for its flagrant advertisements for sexual services, was detained in Moscow along with her 36 associates, the official website of the Internal Affairs Ministry reported Wednesday.
Flirt has the appearance of a glossy catalogue featuring a broad array of young, scantily clad women. Each time a client “ordered” one of the girls, the owners of the lucrative publication earned 30 percent of the sum paid for her services, sensationalist news site LifeNews reported.
The editor, identified by LifeNews as 32-year-old Stanislava Kazakova, was detained along with her common-law husband and the owner of Flirt, Dmitry Zyablitsev. The two stand accused of organizing prostitution services. Thirty-five dispatchers were detained in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well.
In addition to the detentions, law enforcement officers raided a printing-house in Leningrad region and several Moscow offices, where dispatchers allegedly connected clients with prostitutes.
Police officers seized the company's database of prostitutes and brothels, as well as 2 million rubles ($35,700) and $10,000 in cash.
For years, Flirt has been ubiquitous in Moscow. It is common to see young men handing out copies of it to male passers-by on busy streets and outside metro stations. The publication is also frequently left wedged against window shields of parked cars.
This isn't the first time the brains behind the magazine have stumbled upon legal trouble. Several previous iterations of the publication have been forced to close their doors, ultimately relaunching under different names.
In 2012, editions called “Flirt y Znakomstva” (Flirt and Acquaintances) and “Auto Flirt” were shuttered by court order. In 2013, Roskomnadzor, Russia's Internet watchdog, requested the closure of a version of the magazine called “Flirt v Bolshom Gorode” (Flirt in the City).
According to the magazine's website, this year two editions were available to lonely would-be clients: “New! Flirt y Znakomstva” and “Flirt v Bolshom Gorode.”