Police are questioning a neo-Nazi who claims to be the internet distributor of a video showing the apparent sum- mary execution of two non-Slavs.
In the video a Tajik national and an ethnic Dagestani man are apparently killed in a forest against the backdrop of a Nazi flag. One victim is beheaded and the other is shot while kneeling by a prepared grave, to shouts of “Glory to Russia” and a soundtrack of heavy metal music.
The 24-year-old student from the southern town of Maikop turned himself in after the video was picked up by Russian television and shown in full, causing public outrage.
According to police, he said that he had spent two years uploading
material designed to incite ethnic hatred. “This man has declared his
devotion to National Socialist ideas,” the Interior Ministry said.
“According to preliminary information, he has been distributing this
video over the internet but he is not the author of it. Experts are
still working to establish the authenticity of the video.”
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Although the man is not in custody, he is under orders not to leave town. Police searched his home and con- fiscated his computer, along with extremist literature.
Human rights activists said that the video, which first appeared on a blog on livejournal.com, was one of the nastiest they had come across. “I’ve never seen anything so blatant,” said Aleksandr Verkhovsky, the head of the Sova centre, which monitors hate crime. Svetlana Gannushkina, of the Memorial organisation, which monitors torture in the northern Caucasus, said: “It is an absolute nightmare. I have looked through the site and unfortunately there were mainly positive comments on the video.”
The video has since been removed from the internet. Echo Radio said that police were examining the three minutes of footage frame by frame to determine whether the executions were genuine. “They will compare light and shade, changes in the background image, details of clothing and other parameters,” the station said.
A previously unknown group calling itself “the military wing of the National Socialist Society” claimed responsibility for the video in a statement released on a neo-Nazi site: “The start of our party’s armed struggle against coloured colonists and the Russian bureaucrats who support them.”
The National Socialist Society, whose site covers the activities of neo-Nazis around Russia, denied it had such a wing. “Still, we acknowledge that any autonomous National Socialist group could certainly have committed the execution. It would be an entirely predictable reaction to continuing pressure from the authorities.”
Far from putting pressure on neo-Nazis, who have in recent years
murdered and wounded dozens of immigrants, Russian authorities have
seemingly turned a blind eye to race hate crimes, even at times
encouraging them, according to Amnesty International. However,
President Putin has spoken out against neo-Nazism amid an increasing
number of criminal prosecutions. Last week in St Petersburg a young
neo-Nazi was sentenced to 12 years in prison for killing an