Friday, November 05, 2004

Russia's criminal chronicles: a story

They were trained to kill foreign troops and protect their country. But once their skills were no longer required, they realized they became useless too. So the only thing left was the only thing they knew - killing randomly, trying to avenge themselves for the misery of their lives.
This story didn't make the front page of an online newspaper even though it was full of grueling and grisly details. What happened was all too typical:
two guys, named Pilnyk and Sobkovich, from the most western Russian region of Kaliningrad got drafted into the Parus - an elite squad within the Russian navy, akin to the U.S.'s Navy Seals.
Upon honourable discharge they returned to their native town in the Kaliningrad region. They tried to start a security firm but failed. Then, they began to kill local soldiers, sailors, and cops. In total the death count was 12.
They were eventually caught when the cops realized that somebody specially trained was behind the murders. Spilnyk was sentenced to life in prison. During the last hearing he said, addressing relatives of the victims:
you can sleep safely now, I have no plans to get out.
The other guy was declared unfit to stand trail. While in custody he shocked his cellmates (in Russia inmates share cells, there could be as many as 100 in one cell),when he began eating his feces.

I was profoundly touched by it, even though I had read something even more disturbing before. No, it's not the gruesomeness of the killings but the sheer despair that is so common in Russia nowadays. I could readily imagine them hanging around that small town with no purpose and hope. No jobs, no perspectives, only cheap vodka and cigarettes. This is the reality of Russian life outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg. And yet, the Russian government is only concerned with the restoration of the lost Soviet might or raising the GDP by 200% by 2008.
I am sure these kinds of stories will happen again...

the original story (in Russian)


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