Sova Center receives email with links to hate crimes videos
On August 11 and 13, 2021, Sova Center received an email with links to videos with scenes of violence, published in Telegram. The email was signed by the M.K.U gang (“Maniacs. Murder Cult”, or MMC, in English) and contained text “You are saying M.K.U does not exist? We are killing on the streets of your cities and you better stay home after dark.”
The videos sent on August 13, originally posted to a Telegram channel, contain scenes of at least five attacks on migrants and the homeless, and one arson. It is reported that two attacks ended with the death of the “occupiers” (both of these videos are blurred, one shows a bloodied knife and the face of a man lying on the ground, the other shows a lying man whose throat is presumably cut). In the other videos, three more victims are knocked down and beaten, kicked, and pepper sprayed. Each attack was filmed separately, and it is impossible to determine where and when they happened. Videos also contain inserts scenes of writing calls for xenophobic violence and the abbreviations M.K.U and NS/WP and drawing swastikas on the walls outdoors.
The channel has 35 subscribers. It contains photographs, interviews with leaders, animated GIFs and videos with similar scenes, including two videos referred to as the creative collaboration between M.K.U and NS/WP. The first video is reminiscent of the old NS/WP Nevograd video titled “The Destruction of the Little Jew” and shows a scene of abuse of a corpse. In the second “collaboration project” with NS/WP, a masked young man uses spray paint to write “M.K.U” and “NS/WP” on a wall.
News about the detentions of several dozen supporters of the network gang “Maniacs. Murder Cult” (M.K.U) in a number of Russian cities were reported in winter and spring of 2021. In February, four young men were detained in Voronezh. In March, 13 people were detained in Gelendzhik and one in Yaroslavl. In April, 16 more people were detained in Irkutsk, Krasnodar, Saratov, Tambov, Tyumen, Chita, Anapa (Krasnodar Krai), Pushchino (the Moscow Region), and Pereslavl-Zalessky (the Yaroslavl Region). It is hard to say what M.K.U. really was; there was no information about it prior to the first arrests. The FSB believes M.K.U. to be a Ukrainian organization with cells in Russian cities, which carried out ideologically motivated crimes and were preparing grave attacks on authorities. There is little to no evidence to corroborate the alleged presence of the Ukrainian element in the M.K.U., but the possibility of the existence of such a community (primarily in virtual form) seems quite real (a VKontakte public page with this name used to exist), as do the increasingly more radical acts of its participants.
The neo-Nazi group NS/WP Nevograd was founded in 2009 by Georgy Timofeev and included 12 members. They carried out crimes in St. Petersburg between 2009 and 2010 and were accused of committing a total of 16 crimes, including several murders. The verdict in the case of this gang was handed down in June 2014.
On May 21, 2021, the Supreme Court recognized an organization called NS/WP as a terrorist organization. Which organization exactly this refers to is impossible to determine. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, NS/WP has existed in Russia since 2010 as a network movement, whose leaders have organized at least 18 neo-Nazi groups. Indeed, the abbreviation NS/WP was and still is used by many far-right groups; there is no doubt that personal or even structural ties exist between them, but not necessarily the ties that interconnect them all. We do not have sufficient information on this matter (and we believe that neither does the Prosecutor General's Office).