Russian media is reporting that two men were arrested during a raid on a Moscow gay bar Friday.

The men were arrested when they attempted to enter Club Body & Soul, also known as Club Chance, as officials investigated the premises.

An assortment of police, drug agents, prosecutors, and media led by former media tycoon Oleg Mitvol, the prefect of the northern administrative district of Moscow, stormed the huge dance venue as it was set to open. The club, located far from the city center, opens at 11PM.

Mitvol's intentions to raid the bar were widely reported days before it happened. On July 31, a Friday, during a press event, Mitvol said he would target the venue for closure due to residential complaints his office had fielded.

“I think that such clubs which, in line with casinos, lead to moral degradation of citizens and become the source of trouble should be closed,” Mitvol said, reported.

“The building, which belongs to the Society of Blind People, can be used in a more dignified way,” he added.

Officials said they were searching for signs of prostitution and drug use in the mammoth gay club that can hold as many as 3,000 people. Club Body & Soul opened its doors in 2002 and offers two dance floors, live entertainment, billiards and Internet access.

Gay activists in the country believe the raid was politically motivated. Media accompanying Mitvol reported that he told them that the club was being protected by members of the Communist Party.

“... the Duma deputy of the Communist Party is protecting the interests of this club. Is it moral?,” he said.

An arrangement for protection is often necessary and commonplace for a large business to avoid police harassment and dodge administrative hurdles in Moscow, the paper said.

Gay activist Nikolai Alekseev was not convinced such an arrangement was possible in a city where its mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, and police chief, Vladimir Pronin, openly condemn being gay and advocate against gay and lesbian rights.

“If it is confirmed I would find rather surprising that communists, who criminalize male homosexuality and openly spoke against gay rights and gay prides since 2005 in Russia, need to earn money on gays,” Alekseev told

Mitvol is rumored to be a district candidate to lead Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party list in October's Moscow Parliament elections.