In 2011, a video started circulating online. It showed a woman, dressed in blue, laying on a patch of grass in a wooded area. A man squats over her and unceremoniously slices her throat with a knife. The woman barely struggles–her legs kick a little and she feebly tries to put her arm on the man. When his job is done, the assailant, holding his knife, walks away from the woman, toward the cameraman. The victim, her neck and face covered in blood, is seen struggling behind him.
When this clip began to make the internet rounds, viewers quickly dismissed it as fake. A Russian news site even brought in an expert, retired police colonel Yevgeny Chernousov, who said that based on his 30 years of experience, he determined the video to be a dramatization. In a real throat-cutting situation, Chernousov said, there would be a fountain of blood gushing from the neck, which did not occur in the video, proving it to be fake. The video was assumed to have been produced to incite anti-Chechen hatred, which is already rampant in Russia. In the clip, the cameraman is heard speaking the Chechen language to the assailant, and the victim, with pale skin, appears to be of Slavic descent. The video, according to Chernousov, was “primitive and hastily made in a provocative way – to cause hatred of one nationality over another.”
But, according to a press release issued by Russia’s Investigative Committee in December, the video is real. What’s worse is that the woman seen in the video is not the only victim. According to the release, in July, 2011, 26-year-old Salavdi Adamov lured a 22-year-old woman into his car and brought her to a wooded area in the Kurchaloyevsky district of the Chechen republic, where he choked her, poured gasoline over her, and set her body on fire. Then, the release states, on August 8, Adamov picked up another young woman. After she got into his car, he forcibly stuffed her in the trunk. Then, he invited his friend, 22-year-old Beshto Abalaev, to go relax in nature on the outskirts of their village. Abalaev got into Adamov’s car, not knowing that there was a woman in the trunk. When they got to the wooded area, Adamov pulled the woman out of the trunk. She threatened to tell the police, so Adamov made the decision to kill her. According to the press release, he choked her until she lost consciousness, then slit her throat. Abalaev filmed the act with Adamov’s cell phone.
Adamov is charged with two counts of murder and abduction. Abalaev is charged with concealing a serious crime.
Note: Russian language sources were translated by the author of this article.