The Russian authorities said Tuesday that they were investigating a video recording of what appeared to be the grisly execution of two bound and gagged young men, filmed in a forest beneath a large Nazi flag. At least one of the men was beheaded on camera as he lay in a shallow grave.
The video, which appeared Sunday on several Russian ultranationalist Web sites, circulated on the Internet with a note from a previously unknown organization that called itself the National-Socialist Party of Russia. The note announced that a “military vanguard” had begun an armed struggle against “black colonists and those who support them from the Russian government.”
It demanded the expulsion from Russia of all Asians and people from the Caucasus and the granting of independence to all of the Russian republics in the Caucasus.
The note also called for the resignation of President Vladimir Putin and for the establishment of a government formed by Dmitry Rumyantsev, the leader of the National-Socialist Society, a neo-Nazi group.
It further demanded the release of Maksim Martsinkevich, the leader of Format 18, another Russian neo-Nazi group, who has been held since last month on charges of fomenting ethnic hatred and threatening violence.
It was not clear when or where the video was made.
Slightly less than three minutes long, the video begins with scenes of the countryside and the title, “Operation of the National-Socialist Party of Russia to arrest and execute two colonists from Dagestan and Tajikistan.” For a date, it lists only 2007.
The video then shows two terrified dark-skinned men kneeling in the forest under a Nazi flag. Each man speaks through a gag in accented Russian, saying only, “We were arrested by National Socialists.” One has been bound with heavy tape, the other with rope.
One of their captors shouts “Glory to Russia!” and then lunges forward and decapitates one of the men with what appears to be a large knife. Heavy metal music plays throughout.
Later, the second captive is shown kneeling, head lowered. The bolt of a gun is heard to slam closed. The prisoner is shot in the head and falls face down into a grave.
The video ends with two men in camouflage uniforms and black masks giving the Nazi salute.
Videotaped beheadings and executions, a gruesome propaganda tool used by insurgents by Iraq, have a history in Russia that predates the Iraq war.
Chechen separatists have been accused of beheading captured Russian soldiers since the first Chechen war, in 1994, and recordings of such grisly acts have circulated in markets in the Caucasus for years.