Undercover police in Russia have arrested two members of a Soviet nostalgia group after an elaborate “sting” that involved faking the murder of a rabbi, it was revealed over the weekend.
The 60-year-old man and the 70-year-old woman who allegedly ordered the rabbi’s killing are now on trial in the southern Krasnodar region. They are alleged members of Citizens of the USSR, a fringe group that believes the Soviet Union still exists and that they are in charge of the Communist state.
The pair, Alexander Dudarenko and Zoya Malova, are said to have hired a “hit-man” to carry out the crime last year. According to police, the “hit-man” was an undercover officer who had infiltrated the group. To increase authenticity, instead of asking for money, the “killer” demanded to be appointed as head of the group’s KGB Directorate for the Krasnodar region.
The rabbi, Yury Tkach, 52, agreed to take part in the sting operation after learning of the group’s reported antisemitism and its beliefs that members of Citizens of the USSR were “superior“ to Jewish people.
A make-up artist applied fake blood and a “wound” to his temple. Pictures of him slumped in the stairwell of his apartment block were shown to Mr Dudarenko and Ms Malova by the “killer” as evidence of the murder.
Police shared a video of the rabbi being prepared for his “death”, in which the make-up artist could be seen at work, as well as “blood” being added over his neck, beard, and shirt.
During the regional court hearing, both defendants denied the charges and Mr Dudarenko said he did not recognise the legitimacy of the proceedings. Members of the group consider Russia’s current government to be illegitimate and many refuse to pay taxes.