CNN on Russia’s serial kidnapper/torturer of gays who Putin refuses to arrest

CNN just did a blockbuster report on an issue we’ve been reporting on for months: Russia’s nearly two-dozen-city strong network of ultra-nationalist vigilante groups who kidnap young gay teens and torture them on film, then publish them on Russian social media network, that oddly lets them publish videos and photos of their crimes.

This video, below, is a must-see, and a must-share.

CNN’s broadcast comes on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin warning gays attending the Olympics to “leave kids alone,” or face arrest under Russia’s draconian new anti-gay “propaganda” law.

Ironically, the biggest threat to Russian children seems to be Vladimir Putin himself. Put has let children-kidnapping vigilantes organize across Russia with impunity.

Russian vigilante groups have organized around the country to kidnap young gay people and terrorize them.

Russian vigilante groups have organized around the country to kidnap young gay people and terrorize them. In this case, they have kidnapped a young gay man from South Africa, who is being forced to eat a watermelon.

One boy was reportedly tortured at gunpoint, then raped with a bottle that was shoved in even further using a baseball bat:

The series of short clips, making the rounds on the mobile phone application WhatsApp show the victim, who seems to be an ethnic Uzbek, being bullied into confessing that he is gay.

He is asked to identify himself and is stripped of his clothes, which are later burned. He is then handcuffed, beaten, insulted, and threatened with a gun. Ultimately, he is forced to sodomize himself by sitting on a bottle, which is then pushed with a bat.

The man, visibly terrified, weeps throughout much of the ordeal.

Image of the young man who was kidnaped, tortured and raped, via RFE/RL.

Image of the young man who was kidnaped, tortured and raped, via RFE/RL.

The Russian authorities have been generally disinterested in the crimes – the victims are, after all, gay – and to date have prosecuted no one, even though the perpetrators’ faces, and often home towns, are clearly visible in the videos.

The ringleader of the vigilantes is ultra-nationalist Maxim Martsinkevich, who was permitted for operate and organize freely until western media, most social media and blogs, highlighted his ongoing crimes.  He has reportedly now left the country in order to avoid prosecution.  Had the Russians bothered going after his six or 12 months ago, they’d have caught him.  We reported on this for the first time in July of 2013.  And by then, it had been going on for months, if not longer.  The Russians had all year to go after, and didn’t until he finally, allegedly, skipped the country in November of 2013.

Not to mention, look at the videos – he had lots of accomplices.  Where are their arrest warrants. And why did it take the Russians at least six months, if not a year or more, to do something about this man?  I’ll tell you why – because that’s when people outside of Russia, in the civilized developed world found out about it, and the Russian government got embarrassed.

Here’s Martsinkevich’s profile on, with his 134,000 followers.  You’ll note that it’s still live, and that he posted just an hour ago.  I’m surprised we haven’t heard of any lawsuits, or enforcement actions by the Russian government, against this Web site.


And here’s a photo Martsinkevich posted on his account, showing him terrorizing one of the victims that CNN also highlighted. Imagine a US or European social media site permitting the promotion of this kind of criminal activity on their sites.  There are a ton more on his profile.

restrukt is controlled by this man, Pavel Durov.  Though its ownership is complicated, via Wikipedia:

Pavel Durov, who controls, a social media site used by Russian criminals to post videos of the kidnapping and torture of gays.

Pavel Durov, who controls, a social media site used by Russian criminals to post videos of the kidnapping and torture of gays.

V Kontakte was incorporated on 19 January 2007 as a Russian limited liability company. Founder and CEO Pavel Durov owns 20% of shares (although he has majority voting power through proxy votes), and a trio of Russian investors, Vyacheslav Mirilashvili, Mikhael Mirilashvili and Lev Leviev (not from Africa-Israel Investments), own 60%, 10% and 10% respectively. The company is now completely owned by offshore firm Doraview Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands. The full current ownership is not in the public domain, although Group (formerly Digital Sky Technologies) has publicly acknowledged a stake of 39.99%. Subsequently, the full ownership structure was published.The company is controlled by Pavel Durov, founder and CEO. On 29 May 2012 Group announced that it has decided to yield control of the company to Durov by offering him the voting rights on its shares. Combined with Durov’s personal 12% stake, this gives him 52% of the votes.

VK canceled their IPO plans, citing unsatisfactory market conditions after Facebook’s IPO blunder.

Current shareholder structure as of 2011 is: 12% is owned by Vkontakte founder’s Pavel Durov, 8% by his partner Lev Leviev, and 40% by Vyacheslav Mirilashvili and members of his family. Group owns a 39,99% stake, having acquired 7.44% from Pavel Durov and other shareholders last month for $111.7 million.

Perhaps Queer Nation will pay Mr. Durov a visit one of these days and ask him why he thinks letting anti-gay and anti-trans kidnappers use his site to build their fan base, organize, and publicize their crimes is somehow acceptable in any modern social media company.  There are various reports about where Durov lives, including St. Petersburg, Russia and the United States.

The vigilantes call their kidnappings “safaris.”  The number of Martsinkevich’s affiliates – he calls his group Occupy Pedophilia, even though most of his victims appear to be teenage gay boys.  There are nearly two dozen branches in cities like Moscow, Kiev, Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, and Rostov, among others.

Below are some of the images from CNN’s broadcast – you can find the broadcast below.  Beneath each image I give a description of what’s taking place.


Kidnapped Russian gay teen is forced to drink urine after his captor – ultra nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich – strips him naked, shaves his head, and paints a rainbow flag on his scalp.


Kidnapped Russian gay teen is forced to drink urine after his captor – ultra nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich – strips him naked, shaves his head, and paints a rainbow flag on his scalp.


Two young gay teens are forced to dance together naked after they were kidnapped by Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich, who shaved their heads and painted rainbow flags on their scalps.


Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich pours what he claims is urine on another young gay teen he has kidnapped.


A group of vigilantes, lead by Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich, kidnaps a young gay man who they will then torture.


Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich with a gay man he has kidnapped and is preparing to torture.

russia gay vigilante

This young man was given a choice: lose an eye, or be sodomized with a fork. His kidnapper is Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich.

And below is CNN’s video:

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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75 Responses to “CNN on Russia’s serial kidnapper/torturer of gays who Putin refuses to arrest”

  1. Podpolny Al says:

    Stop talking nonsense. He is accused in

    Incitement of National, Racial, or Religious Enmity.

  2. Podpolny Al says:

    No, czarist russia wasn’t all about pogroms. They took place only in the beginning of 20 century, Russian Empire lasted for 13 centuries or so.

    No, there weren’t “pogroms” against dissidents in USSSR because pogroms are lower-class-driven. Riot, you see. There weren’t pogroms at all in that era, actually.

    No, Modern Russia is not all about gays or pogroms or whatever, There even isn’t any law against homosexuals themselves, but yeah, it more like pogroms in the sense of a mad crowd with a State doing nothing.

  3. Ninong says:

    Maxim “Tesak” Martsinkevich and friend.

  4. Butch1 says:

    This man needs to be rendered to one of our black sites and given some hospitality. He needs to feel what it is like to be on the receiving end of torture and what it is like to be scared within an inch of your life not knowing if you are going to live or die. People such as this person do not deserve to walk among the rest of us in my opinion.

  5. barada says:

    Sick, sick, MFer.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Have to doubt the literacy rate thing. A lot of these education scores are corrupt, including in Russia. When a government doesn’t exactly have high standards of integrity, it’s hard to trust their claims.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Very pre-WW2.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “It gets better” really doesn’t apply in Russia.

  9. Anonymous says:

    He’s a greedy, callous man with access to billions of dollars. Why would he care? As long as he takes shirtless outdoors pics, most of the world thinks he’s harmless. Nevermind that the people who really deserve that money are dying in droves, all so he can build palaces.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Are you trolling? A country isn’t any less dangerous because some of its people are nice. Russia isn’t a free country. Is it really the time to say “gee, some people there are good?” The majority are ignorant and stuck in a suicidal government – a bad combination. It’s only a matter of time before there are real problems the “nice” are cast aside.

  11. Indigo says:

    Hallucinatory mold? Is it available in recreational drug form? Maybe that’s the back story.

  12. karmanot says:

    Shifts into hyperbolic overdrive and claims to be an expert on idiots.

  13. karmanot says:

    Might blame it on moldy potatoes and rye bread.

  14. The_Fixer says:

    Thanks, the TinyURL link worked for me. Google translate doesn’t do such a great job with the page, but I got the general idea.

  15. karmanot says:

    Selfie of the year

  16. David says:

    Here is the full link from the Russian site: and here is the TinyURL link:

  17. The_Fixer says:

    Jeepers, I hope he hasn’t got a gun.

  18. The_Fixer says:

    Lesbionic sex… Is that bionic lesbians having sex? That term makes me chuckle.

  19. The_Fixer says:

    A cool thought (in spite of my general distaste for violence), but there’s the problem of networking and coordination. Anyone who would be inclined to do such a thing would have to be in contact with others. How do you do that when gay people (the only ones likely to want to do such a thing) are entrapped by these thugs when they try to reach out to each other on the Internet?

    Apparently, there are very few straight allies in Russia, and the few who are have been driven underground. That makes it very hard to even defend one’s self – difficult to connect with others of your kind, and anyone who would help you is scared shitless as well.

  20. The_Fixer says:

    Yes, I’m happy. Are you done with your winter break? How are things in the third grade?

  21. The_Fixer says:

    Hell, I’ve been saying that for months. He’s a violent closet case that needs some intensive mental health treatment.

    I knew it the minute I read that he said something like “I don’t eat much, I don’t have much money because I spend it on anabolics (steroids, I presume) so that I can look good for you.”

    Notice that he always grapples with his victims, gets very close and puts them in bear-hug situations. Very close contact.

    This is one sick, conflicted individual that needs an army of mental health professionals to tend to him. I really think he is a closet case with serious problems.

  22. jomicur says:

    Yep. And while I’m usually cautious about saying people are gay based just on internet photos, I can’t shake the feeling the Durov has a skeleton or two in his closet.

  23. The_Fixer says:

    That link didn’t work for me. Could you check it and re-post?

  24. The_Fixer says:

    Gee, when the government creates a law (that is, according to polling) supported by the Russian people, and then turns a blind eye toward criminal assaults directed at teenage boys, and allowing the perpetrator to escape, it seems logical to assume that the society in question is dysfunctional.

  25. The_Fixer says:

    I am not hopeful that justice will be served. The phrase “slap on the wrist” comes to mind when we’re dealing with Russia. I expect his trial will be delayed until Sochi is a distant memory.

  26. Jett says:

    The fact that Putin isn’t denouncing any of this doesn’t help.

  27. GarySFBCN says:

    Also, the rate of literacy is often self-reported, not exactly based upon international standards.

  28. Jett says:

    The spirit of the Olympic games has been trashed before they’ve even begun. Thanks, Russia, for your ignorance and cruelty.

  29. FLL says:

    It’s entirely possible for countries like Cuba or Russia to have a high literacy rate because of public education but little or no freedom of the press (or Internet) because of political repression (i.e., imprisonment if you criticize the government or its policies). The converse is also possible, countries with complete freedom of the press and Internet and a relatively low rate of literacy. Literacy is one issue; freedom of the press is a completely different issue. It depends on which of the two issues you’re talking about.

  30. karmanot says:

    rotfl!!! My, aren’t we CROSS today.

  31. karmanot says:


  32. JayRandal says:

    Maxim guy is a sadistic barbarian who gets his rocks off by molesting Gays. I surmise he is ultra-closeted abusing Gays to shield self-loathing of himself lusting for other guys. If Pres. Putin allows
    this brute to continue doing this it infers himself as self-loathing too. I am boycotting Olympic Games in Russia and sponsors of it.

  33. Indigo says:

    Another semi-historical account tells of Frederick the Great’s Prussian father catching him in bed with one of the guards whom Frederick’s father then ordered beheaded right there in the bedroom. Trauma seems to be a driving force in Eastern Europe. I don’t know what that’s allnabout but it’s enough to raise eyebrows if not doubts about that social structure.

  34. jomicur says:

    I have to disagree. In Putin’s Russia, where even breathing is classified as “gay propaganda,” LGBT vigilantism would only be used as a pretext for further, even more horrifically repressive measures. Whenever gay people stand up for ourselves we always hear a chorus of “that will only make things worse for us,” and I always disagree with that quite strongly. But in Putin’s Russia, I’m afraid it’s the case. The Russian deck is stacked quite firmly against LGBT people, and only pressure from the rest of the world will change things (if anything at all can).

  35. 4th Turning says:

    But not Yasnaya Polyana or an environmental pilgrimage to the Aral Sea…
    I read once the not so great peter had his “effeminate” or otherwise inadequate
    son smothered to death…All things considered, catherine the fabulous must have
    been very tolerant.

  36. 4th Turning says:

    If I knew how, I’d copy and paste to the other location for others to read
    who are wrestling with how we can help without aggravating their situation.

  37. Indigo says:

    You have a misnomer for a screen name and bad manners as well. Best wishes for your effort on the seventh grade debate team.

  38. Logic says:

    Ignorance & arrogance at it’s best. Blame the whole peoples for the actions of a few?
    By the same logic I can say that everyone in USA is a racist & toothless hillbilly that sleeps with his cousins. Every German in s a nazi. Every person from Japan is a dolphin hater. You sir/ma’am are an idiot.

  39. heimaey says:

    Russia is not really first world.

  40. caphillprof says:

    Apparently it wasn’t communism but the Slavic gene pool.

  41. Blogvader says:

    Holy [email protected]#$, that this can happen with a modern first-world government’s approval is horrifying.

  42. Indigo says:

    Czarist Russia was all about pogroms against the Jews. Soviet Russia was all about pogroms against the dissidents. Post-Soviet Russia today is all about pogroms against the gays. Now, the common denominator in all that is the appearance of a Russian need to be waging pogroms. It suggests an insecurity that drives people to behave with malice aforethought. As far as I’m concerned, Russia is a very good place to not tour. The Hermitage be damned.

  43. Indigo says:

    It’s true. One of Castro’s first priorities was to promote publiic literacy.

  44. Thom Allen says:

    He seems to be so caught up in the homo-sexual agenda being shoved down his throat, Amazon forcing him to watch porn and with lesbionic sex (for not wanting to see it, he certainly has found enough pictures and vines of it that he’s posted. Looks like he’s done extensive research), I’m afraid that he has major issues with his sexual preferences and psychiatric health (or lack thereof). And, of course, that’s ALL OUR FAULT.

    Dickie did a self portrait for us. This is him leaving for an NRA meeting. Then he’s going to his evangelical christianist fellowship service.

  45. David Hamburger says:

    From everything I’ve heard, the ONLY reason that the Russian authorities have started going after Maxim is because he stole from the Russian mafia. That’s why he’s currently in hiding in Cuba, after a failed pit stop in the Ukraine. THAT is what it takes to get the Russian authorities to get invilved in these kidnapping and torture cases.

  46. David says:

    John. From a contact on the VK site: The star of the TV show ‘X-Factor’ in the Ukraine Alaxander Bohun of Sevastopol has brought criminal proceedings against Marcinkiewicz Maxim :

  47. Naja pallida says:

    That’s quite the crazy fetish site.

  48. Bill_Perdue says:

    It almost pains me to have you agree with me.

  49. BeccaM says:

    So much for all those claims of omnipotence…

  50. pappyvet says:

    He’s just pissed because his side LOST the battle of middle earth.

  51. Strepsi says:

    I have been to Cuba several times and people here are always amazed that the literacy rate is nearly 100%.

  52. Strepsi says:

    I didn’t comment here yet — you might be thinking of the Putin post, all the comments are intact :)) not to worry. kisses

  53. GarySFBCN says:

    In other news about Russia and Sochi – showing their ‘humanity’, they captured two orcas to put on display at the Sochi aquarium during the Olympics. Because Russia knows how to thumb its nose at civility and all things good.

    “WTF?! Two Orcas Captured by Hunters for 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics”

  54. 4th Turning says:

    Not sure what happened, but half or 2/3’s of my comment section just disappeared?
    I did make it as far as Strepsi’s(?) comment (thanks!) and think the idea of some sort of asylum makes sense. The kids in these videos should get State Dept. fasttrack visas. They surely will
    need urgent and long term medical care and psychological counseling. There’s a bunch of
    bleeding heart money in our community. I would immediately donate if something
    got going. All our collective hand-wringing needs some kind of mission/focus…
    What are they saying about all this in Europe?

  55. Yeah I was wondering about that too

  56. mtblaze says:

    Your God is a real quitter isn’t he?

  57. BeccaM says:

    I just knew that somewhere in America, a bridge was missing its troll…

  58. GarySFBCN says:

    Yes – there are some photos from Cuba in December on his profile page.

  59. TampaZeke says:

    Good. We can expect you to moving to Mother Russia any day now?

  60. TampaZeke says:

    Word has it he’s in Cuba.

  61. TampaZeke says:

    This guy is a sick closet case who gets sexual satisfaction from kidnapping and sexually abusing these kids.

  62. Thom Allen says:

    In case anyone wants to visit Dickie Drywater he lives under this rock:

  63. GarySFBCN says:

    I pains me to agree with Bill about anything, but he’s correct regarding literacy. I left some contraband books in Russia during my visit in the last days of the Soviet Union. People were offering me a lot of money for them, but I just gave them away. They were desperate to learn about their own history. The highest demand was for a book I had about the history of Russian art, before Social Realism (I was studying Russian art at the time). All information about previous art movements was eradicated by the State.

    Also during that visit, I was reading a lengthy book by Lewis Mumford and one Russian asked to borrow it overnight. She returned it the next day, having read all of it, and was eager to discuss Mumford’s observations.

    All over Russia and the Ukraine there are (were?) statues of Russian poets and authors. They, like the Spanish, are a culture who value literature and learning and are fanatics for books.

    I agree with everything else you wrote.

  64. I’ve banned him, but left the comment up because funny :)

  65. Darlene P. Monroe says:


    ♋♋♋♋♋ ♋♋♋

  66. Bill_Perdue says:

    Not quite Nicho. This issue is homophobia and it’s very bad in Russia and here, granting all the historical differences.

    Literacy in the USA, the worlds most barbaric country (Iraq, Vietnam, native peoples, only use of nuclear weapons on civilians) is 86%, In Russia it’s 99.7%, in China its 95.1%, in Cuba 99.8% and in Vietnam 94%. That’s because socialist governments, even Stalinists and Maoists, value literacy.

  67. Bruce Wayne says:

    your comment has nothing to do with the topic, assbreath,
    If God gave up in America it’s clearly because of moronic, cherry-picking bible-thumping haters like you. Now go back to watching “Duck Dynasty” while you polish your pistol.

  68. GOD has given up on OSAMA AMERICA and sided with COMMUNISTS. Are you happy now?

  69. nicho says:

    Russia is — and always has been — an ungovernable country (except by extreme brutality). The vast majority of people are poor and uneducated, if not outright illiterate. It has always been ruled by a 1 percent, overseen by a 0.01 percent. And people have always been threatened by roving gangs of thugs. The only thing that has changed is the cast of characters at the top. It is a third-world country with nukes.

  70. imaboygenius says:

    Barbarians! What is the UN doing about this? What about the rest of the world. OMG.

  71. GuestStop says:

    Why aren’t people hunting these assholes down and shooting them? All you have to claim is that they were gay, and no one will touch you.

  72. cole3244 says:

    sometimes you either succumb or react in a like fashion.

  73. barada says:

    I am not usually a fan of vigilante groups, but that might be the only solution at this point.
    If evil power is not challenged, it tends to grow.

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