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'In Prison, He'd Still Be Alive': Anticorruption Video Goes Viral In Russia

  • Deana Kjuka

A shocking anticorruption video that appears to suggest graft can kill has gone viral in Russia.

The 28-second animated clip opens with a shot of a hunched man sitting behind bars while a stern-looking judge reads out a verdict.

An older man standing next to a woman in tears -- presumably the inmate's parents -- whispers reassuringly, “Don’t worry. Everything has been paid for.”

Sure enough, the young man is acquitted. Now a free man, he exits the courtroom triumphantly amid cheers from the waiting crowd.

But just as he takes a phone call, a female figure in gray appears and shoots him at point-blank range.

A menacing voice announces as a message scrolls across the screen: “In prison, he'd still be alive.” A final message says: “By encouraging corruption, we take a risk.”

The video, posted on YouTube on May 9, has since gone viral, with more than 270,000 views.

The clip has elicited hundreds of comments and has been reposted on several Russian news sites.

"What is this supposed to mean? Is it to encourage vigilantism?" asked one user.

According to, the video, which appears to be a public-service announcement, was created by the former owner of the Mega Star advertising agency, Yury Atayev.

Atayev is currently a member of the board of the fund for development of animation and cinematography in Daghestan.

Atayev told that he was commissioned to produce the video two years ago by Daghestan’s Committee for Press and Mass Communications. His script for the video had previously won a competition organized by the same committee.

Atayev was quoted as saying that he initially posted the video on YouTube two years ago but that it remained largely unnoticed until another user reposted it on YouTube last week.

It's unclear if the clip has been shown on television in Daghestan.

Atayev says it was broadcast there two years ago, but representatives of RGVK and GTRK say it did not appear on their channels.

Suleiman Muradov, deputy minister of justice for the Republic of Daghestan, who oversees the fight against corruption in the region, told that he saw the clip on the Internet but not on television.

“I reported it to the authorities. I don't know what kind of measures will be taken," said Muradov.

"He'd Still Be Alive" is not Atayev's only foray into anticorruption videos.

In "Diploma," a live-action clip, a father presents his daughter with a medical degree that he has bought, saying "Congratulations! You're now a doctor." But he sees the folly of his ways almost immediately when she is unable to help as he suddenly grips his chest in pain.

And "Medicine" shows three students who have bribed their way through medical school. Fast forward a year, and one of the newly qualified "doctors" is in need of surgery. He looks up from the operating table, only to find one of his erstwhile partners in crime snapping on some surgical gloves.

In recent years, Russia's troubled North Caucasus region of Daghestan has become the center of a regional insurgency. High levels of unemployment and corruption have also plagued one of Russia’s poorest republics.