By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com November 11 2013 3:12 PM ET
A Russian nationalist who launched an "anti-pedophilia" campaign that lured gay men with promises of sexual encounters, then filmed as the victims were harassed, beaten, assaulted, and made to "confess" their homosexuality, has reportedly fled Russia after state police raided his and his parents' home in connection with a recent antigay attack.
Former skinhead Maxim Martsinkevich, also known as "Cleaver," posted on VKontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, that he's suddenly left Russia "on an urgent vacation" to avoid criminal charges for "extremism," according to BuzzFeed.
The charges, which could carry a two-year prison sentence, reportedly stem from a video Martsinkevich filmed in Ukraine last month in which he trapped, humiliated, and apparently beat a gay Iraqi man. BuzzFeed has posted the violent, disturbing video that seems to be at the center of the charges here.
Martsinkevich's Occupy Pedophilia campaign has produced a series of videos documenting the violent and homophobic harassment of men the group claims were seeking to have sex with minor boys. The graphic videos often go viral and have also been used to humiliate gay teenagers who responded to false romantic invitations from what they thought were other gay youth in chat rooms.
Although Martsinkevich seems to have fled the country — BuzzFeed notes the alleged neo-Nazi posted a smiling selfie from a beach in Thailand — the group's harassment of LGBT people in Russia continues.
The International Business Times reports that a 20-year-old South African student was kidnapped, beaten, and humiliated by members of Occupy Pedophilia. David Smith, reportedly a student at Shukov State Technological University, was lured into an apartment by antigay bigots who posed as a 15-year-old gay boy.
In a disturbing 33-minute video that received thousands of "Likes" on VK, Smith is stripped to his underwear, has his head shaved, and is made to simulate sex acts on a beer bottle and watermelon, before the watermelon is smashed into the young man's head.
The Business Times reports that lawyers from South Africa have demanded an investigation into the latest homophobic assault, calling out Russia's recently enacted ban on so-called gay propaganda as having lent a sense of legitimacy and purpose to the nationalist vigilantes, who don't even bother to conceal their identities in the videos.
"This thing of pedophilia, that comes from the thugs and that is the excuse they use to justify their actions," wrote Pretoria lawyer Coenraad Kukkuk in an official letter quoted by the U.K.'s Business Times. "They're neo-Nazi skinheads, the paedophile thing is just a ruse. It's a thinly veiled smokescreen for homophobic attacks."