Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian Video Shows Apparent Extremist Killings

The web video shows the victims kneeling in front of a Nazi flag (ITAR-TASS) August 14, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A Russian ultranationalist group has posted a video on the Internet that appears to show the execution-style killing of two men from Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Two men are seen kneeling on the ground in a forest, their arms and legs tied up. A large flag with a Nazi swastika stands in the background.

"We've been arrested by the Russian National Socialists," one of the two men says.

A third man walks up to the captives and beheads one of them with a knife. The second captive is shot in the head and falls forward into a freshly dug grave.

Two masked men then raise their arms in a Nazi salute.

Killings Appear Real

This the content of a two-minute video posted on the Internet by a little-known Russian organization calling itself National Socialism/White Power.

The video identifies the two captives as "colonists from Tajikistan and Daghestan."

It appeared on the Internet on August 12 but has since been pulled from most websites.

This is not the first time a Russian hate-crime video has been posted on the Internet. But antiracism experts say that while most of the slayings shown on these videos appear to have been staged, the latest footage seems very genuine.

"This film is the not the first of its kind, there have been other similar ones, says Vladimir Pribylovsky, the head of the Panorama political think tank in Moscow. "While the other films were probably fabricated, it's hard to say with this one."

The video has caused an outcry among human-rights activists in Russia and drawn heated debate on Internet blogs.

The Interior Ministry has reportedly opened a probe into the video's content. The Prosecutor-General's Office has yet to comment on the case.

Shohin Samadov, a representative of the Russian-based organization Migration and Rights, believes prosecutors have no alternative but to launch a thorough investigation.

"This case involves a Tajik and a Russian citizen," Samadov says. "I think that even if they don't do anything for the Tajik citizen, they will try -- for the sake of the Russian citizen -- to bring [perpetrators] to justice. It has become a high-profile case. It is all over the Internet, and everyone in Moscow knows about it."

Officials Reluctant To Crack Down

Russian prosecutors say they opened a criminal investigation into the video's content.

But Svetlana Gannushkina, chairwoman of the Civic Assistance committee for refugees and forced migrants, tells RFE/RL's Russian Service that Russian authorities remain reluctant to crack down on racially motivated attacks.

"Every day, people tell us about similar cases," she says. "This is taking on massive proportions. And the stance of law-enforcement and judicial organs is clear -- for every such case, we have to fight to obtain a normal investigation and a sentence against [perpetrators]."

Russia has seen a surge in hate crimes in past years, most of which target people from Central Asia and the Caucasus.

According to Sova, a Russian group that monitors racially motivated crimes, 37 people have been killed so far this year in racist attacks -- a 22 percent increase over the same period last year.

Few perpetrators of hate crimes have been brought to justice, as prosecutors continue to charge most assailants with "hooliganism" -- a charge that carries relatively light sentences.

(RFE/RL's Russian Service contributed to this article.)

From RFE/RL's Russian Service

From RFE/RL's Russian Service
By Danila Galperovich

The appearance on Russian websites of a video recording showing the apparent murder of two men alleged to be Tajik and Daghestani has sparked a firestorm among Russia's Internet users -- and a fairly modest response from its law-enforcement organs. The official sites of the Interior Ministry, Federal Security Service, and the Prosecutor-General's Office offer no information about investigations into the murders and a search for the perpetrators.

Links to the video first appeared on the afternoon of Sunday, August 12. Twenty-four hours later, the links no longer worked. By then, however, the recording had become one of the 30 most-viewed recordings on the blogosphere, according to the Russian Internet portal and search engine Yandex. Internet chat sites were dominated by discussion of the video -- among nationalists and ordinary users alike.

Internet users calling themselves defenders of the white race or Russian nationalists are continuing to discuss who and what's behind the video. The members of one fascist Internet community have expressed the opinion that the recording is a provocation, posted in order to give the state a pretext to put pressure on nationalist groups. Internet users less inclined toward analytical efforts said simply they hoped to see more such films soon.

Still another group, the National Socialist Society, opined: "From the moment Vladimir Putin called supporters of the 'Russia for Russians' slogan idiots and provocateurs, to the moment when the same Vladimir Putin said -- mumbling and with stipulations, but still -- something about the role of Russians in forming the state, not much time had passed."

It seems many of these web-savvy Nazi supporters are confident that many in law enforcement and the special forces already secretly share their point of view -- and that there's no point in provoking their anger now by criticizing them on the web.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.