- A celebrity Neo-Nazi activist and founder of several skinhead groups in Russia.
- Started a movement of Russian thugs entrapping gay men through fake social media profiles under the guise of meeting other gay men.
Maxim Martsinkevich (Макси́мч Марцинке́вич) is something like a celebrity Neo-Nazi in Russia. He is better known by his nickname Tesak (Теса́к), meaning backsword or machete, related to his passion for knives.
The Western world may recognize him through the vigilante movement "Occupy Pedophilia," that entraps gay men and boys through fake social media profiles under the guise of meeting other LGBT youth. The victims are beaten and humiliated by Tesak or his followers on camera. When the torture is over, the videos are dumped online for others to watch.
In 2005, Tesak founded a violent white-power organization called Format 18, trying to unite the Russian skinheads. 18 meaning Adolf Hitler -- A is 1st and H the 8th letter in the Roman alphabet.
The hatred against Russian minorities goes back to his childhood. After being called up for compulsory military service (at the time 24 months), a fellow soldier of Azerbaijani ancestry beat him up so bad that, following a mental health evaluation psychiatrists released him from the service.
A few years later, his group Format 18 used Internet to find people with similar ideas and shock the public with the videos of skinheads beating and stabbing Asian migrant workers and homeless. At the time internet videos were rare. The first video on Youtube was uploaded the same year in 2005 on April 23rd.
Ross Kemp visited Tesak and other members in Moscow during their training scheme for the documentary series for Ross Kemp on Gangs and was first to introduce Tesak to English-speaking world with "From Russia with Hate."
The carefully orchestrated attacks gathered media attention in 2007 when a video title The Execution of a Tajik surfaced. The shocking video featured an execution of two drug dealers from Caucasus region in the forest near Moscow. The men were hanged and dismembered by 20 people dressed in white robes of the Ku Klux Klan.
In 2009, the Supreme Court of Russia found Tesak and another member of Format 18 Artem Zuev guilty of "inciting hatred or enmity on the grounds of nationality or religious affiliation" and sentenced both men three years in prison, Zuev with probation.
The defendants made the court believe the video was staged just like the rest of the videos, hence the light sentence. Tesak maintained the hanging was merely a dramatization, the flesh of the dismembered captives was beef, and referred to himself as "producer," "director" and "a creative person."
Strangely, The Russian Investigative Committee claimed the events shown in the video actually did take place. The website of Format 18 where the videos were initially uploaded was closed at the request of an anti-fascist organization and in 2010 the entire group was banned for extremism by the court.
No one has been tried for the alleged beheading.
After his second trial, Tesak predicted his verdict to journalists:
I think they will give me five years because the drug traffickers are, as I understand, by our Constitution, a protected social group. In principle, I agree with the decision of the court and have to apologize. I'm happy I've never spoken about pedophiles because I think then they would have given me a tougher sentence. I suspect the pedophiles are an even more protected group.
Tesak was released on December 31, 2010.
As promised, soon after his release Tesak created "Occupy Pedophilia" -- another "social project" aimed at promoting National Socialism and a reason to beat and humiliate people. He claims to fight pedophiles., but more often than not, the targets are gay men. They are lured using online dating and social networking for brutal abuse -- all videotaped and posted online for other to watch.
20-year-old dark-skinned foreign student David Smith tempted to meet an imaginary gay 15-year-old boy. His hair was cut, and he was forced to kiss a watermelon (age of consent in Russia is 16).
Some of the men caught on camera actually are pedophiles, but the line for the vigilantes is narrow. From the days of communism, gay men in Russia are sees pedophiles. The negative stereotype of gay men as child molesters has only recently been shed in the civilized western society, but is still very much alive in east. Often, the adjective for someone being gay "pederasty", which means both gay and pedophile just like it was in the criminal codec of Soviet Union.
From the criminal codec of Soviet Union. Artice 121. Pederasty. Sexual relations of a man with a man (pederasty), shall be punished by deprivation of freedom for a term of up to five years. Pederasty committed with the application of physical force, or threats, or with respect to a minor, or taking advantage of the dependent position of the victim, shall be punished by the deprivation of freedom for a term of up to eight years
Interestingly enough, there were no laws against female homosexuality.
Tesak appears in only a fraction of the videos. Vigilantes in different cities than Moscow use the same format, but Tesak takes the fame for starting it. He even goes as far as charging money to be part of "the hunt for pedophiles" and calls it "safari."
Some of the men in the videos have gone missing for unknown reasons; possibly they have been killed or taken their own lives out of shame.
The movement has a large audience and hot topic on Russian social networking sites -- mainly on vkontake.ru.
Tesak has had a hand in everything -- from bodybuilding and vlogging to ponzi-schemes and writing. Restruct is a sort of successor for Format 18 that was banned. The main purpose is spreading National Socialism ideology, catch pedophiles and drug dealers.
The book carries the same name and is a form of autobiography of Tesak (written by himself!) where he thoroughly outlines everything that has happened to him in prison and what he thinks about the current political regime.
Tesak has been on the Russian Internet scene for long time and has gathered a lot of followers.
Occupy Narcotics (directly translated occupy drug addicts/users) is again, a branch of the Restruct movement formed to fight against drugs and drug dealers. Tesak claims to have invented the scene, but nevertheless, there had been similar videotapes released long before Tesak started to identify himself as the founder.
The activists, often very young but in groups, identify drug dealers by making a trial purchase. Then follows a good old public beating and humiliation, often pouring paint over the dealer's head. And of course, film it as a warning for others.
Above is a video of a mob attacking kiosk with flares and hammers after learning they sell drugs. In this video, Tesak himself catches an Asian drug dealer and forces him to eat the very same drug he tried to sell. There are hundreds of similar videos on Russian social networks. Another public shaming and attack on a kiosk even filmed by national TV stations.
Most of the fuzz is around a drug called Spice – a drug which until recently was legal in Russia. Spice is a synthetic mixture made from spraying marijuana-mimicking designer drugs on innocuous herbs. Depending on the form it can be very dangerous.
Escape to Cuba
In November 2013, Tesak announced on Vkontakte that he had left Russia for fear of being prosecuted. He fled to Cuba -- a weird choice for a neo-Nazi to hide in a communist country.
The criminal case against Tesak had nothing to do with "Occupy Pedophilia" but was built upon him posting three videos titled “Kick the churki [people from the Caucasus] out!, "Tesak on the movie Stalingrad" and "the situation in Biryulyovo." Prosecutors claimed he demonstrated "skinhead ideology" and that the video clips contained statements aimed at inciting ethnic hatred.
Interestingly Tesak's attorney Matvey Tzen was half Chinese. Handcuffed and deported from Havana to Moscow, he was quickly sentenced to three years "for not having enough respect for the great victory of the Soviet Union against Nazi-Germany."
Tesak strongly felt that he was a victim of conspiracy run by "pedo" and "narco-lobby", i.e. Russian government. Tesak has always been vocal critic of Putin's regime despite the country’s strict anti-gay laws. His attorney told the experts provided were not qualified enough and demanded a new examination by an independent expert(s). The court rejected the demands and Tesak went on a hunger strike!
He’s yet to be released. Despite having a short term sentence, being a Neo-Nazi in Russian jail is not easy for anyone, especially if you go on a hunger strike. The criminal world will detest you, police and prison staff hate you for not having enough respect for the authority and Putin’s regime. There are many people from Caucasus. Chechen gangs are dangerous, most of the "Thieves in Law" are Georgian. The human right activists don’t want to defend you, most likely you will end up humiliated, raped or killed.
Not all Russian skinheads like Tesak. Nikolay Korolev, the leader of the neo-Nazi terrorist organization SPAS,” serves life in prison and openly hates him. Take a look at the video and feel what the life is for a white-power skinhead in a Russian prison. The video smuggled video is bizarre and gives a glimpse what does feel like to live in an old-school Russian penal colony.• • •