A former head judge of Miss Russia NZ wants the event cancelled or be used as a voice for women in Ukraine.
Organisers confirmed that the pageant celebrating Russian culture will go ahead as planned at the Alexandra Park Raceway in Auckland on July 30.
But anti-war University of Auckland academic Elena Nikiforova, 48, said public events celebrating Russian culture were inappropriate right now in light of the war in Ukraine.
Despite organisers saying the pageant was "neutral" to the war, former head judge Colin Mathura-Jeffree said he saw "these shows have a whiff of political bias".
"It's important to not be neutral but to espouse the causes of justice and freedom for all, that these pageants so casually but directly speak of," Mathura-Jeffree said.
"You have a platform and opportunity to stand up for the victims of this conflict by being honest. It is time you game changers walk the talk by valuing the sovereign state of Ukraine."
He said that if the event had to go ahead, then he hoped it would be used as a platform for the good of Ukraine and speak directly to the Russian people.
"If you must have your pageant, celebrating your cultural identity, then show the world you're on the right side of history by not supporting such a monstrous war," Mathura-Jeffree said.
"You just can't smile saying you want 'to save the children' while knowing Ukrainian babies are being killed.
"If you must have your pageant then be the voice of the women in Ukraine being silenced by guns and by Russian bullets. Make a difference."
Organizer Olga Ovsyannikova refused to respond to Mathura-Jeffree, saying "this is his problem, not mine" and that he was no longer a judge at the pageant.
Ovsyannikova told the Herald she was neutral to the war in Ukraine, and believed political leaders knew best about what to do for their countries.
She has been organising Miss Russia NZ since 2015 and said the pageant focused on introducing Russian culture in New Zealand and celebrating the cultural diversity of Russia.
"Our beauty pageant opens unlimited opportunities for all Russian-speaking women age 18 and above across the whole country and to ... experience and learn modelling, cat walking, posing, basic acting, fitness, inspirational training, and the opportunity to make a difference in our community through charity and volunteer work," Ovsyannikova said.
"Our endeavour is to help all women feel beautiful, confident, and powerful, to be a role model for the Russian community and to learn about modelling and fashion."
The event is believed to be the only Russian community event going ahead following a string of cancellations of concerts and shows following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.
Members of the Russian community in Auckland have reported experiencing increasing hostility here since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Ovsyannikova said she has been receiving anti-Russian comments on her social media feed and the organisation's Facebook page. She said the comments had made her and those involved in the pageant feel unsafe and unwelcomed.
About half of the 20 finalists of Miss Russia NZ are not Russian, she said.
Nikiforova, a linguist and University of Auckland research programme co-ordinator, said she didn't think any public entertainment events that use the Russian Federation flag or any other national symbols and attributes are appropriate right now.
"The war is still going on and the people are getting killed by the army that is carrying this flag and these state symbols," Nikiforova said.
"That would be highly insensitive and highly disrespectful to the victims of war and to the people of Ukraine."
She said any events emphasising Russian national symbols would "look extremely arrogant" right now.
"Such events would only do extreme harm to the Russian community at large, cause public outrage and a bad reflection on the whole Russian nation," Nikiforova said.
"I sincerely hope that the organisers of Miss Russia NZ will take the current war into account and reconsider their desire to go ahead with this event."
Nikiforova suggested changing the event to an international beauty contest and turning it into a fundraising event to support Ukraine.