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Russian neo-Nazis sentenced to life for 27 racist murders

Members of the outlawed Nationalist Socialist Society tracked down and targeted Muslims and dark-skinned people during a series of vicious killing rampages in 2007 and 2008.

Members of the country's most vicious neo-Nazi gang stands behind a glass wall at a court in Moscow, Russia, July 11, 2011.
Members of the country's most vicious neo-Nazi gang stands behind a glass wall at a court in Moscow, Russia, July 11, 2011.
Image: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/AP/Press Association Images

FIVE MEMBERS OF a Russian neo-Nazi gang have been sentenced to life in prison by a Moscow judge for the vicious murders of 27 people.

Several other gang members, including one young woman, were found guilty and handed down sentences of up to 23 years.

The members of the illegal Nationalist Socialist Society tracked down and targeted Muslims and dark-skinned people during 2007-2008, the BBC reports. During the 18-month trial, the court heard that the gang, mostly men in their 20s, attacked migrants from Russia’s Caucasus region and Central Asia, as well as Africans and south-east Asians, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The youths ganged up on apparent foreigners and stabbed them with knives, metal rods and sharpened screwdrivers, the court heard, in brutal attacks coordinated by the gang’s scrawny leader, Lev Molotkov. He gave fellow assailants a few rubles for the train and cigarettes. According to court papers, Molotkov, who’s in his mid-twenties, testified that that during a New Year’s toast on 31 December 2007, he proclaimed 2008 to be “the year of white terror” in Russia.

Molotkov’s gang is estimated to have hundreds of supporters nationwide.

The killing rampage included the decapitation of another gang member who was suspected of colluding with the authorities. The murder was filmed and posted on the internet.

Some 12 people in total were sentenced for the brutal killings. Another gang member who had given himself up and cooperated with the police investigation received an eight-year suspended sentence.

Most of the gang members had pleaded partial guilt but requested leniency after their lawyers say they were coerced into committing the crimes.

“Irrespective of whether they were fooled or mentally lost, they are evil killers who will never get back to a normal life,” said Alexander Kolodkin, an ethnic Russian whose son, also named Alexander, was stabbed to death in February 2008. “They should be isolated,” he said.

Additional reporting by the AP

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