A Russian city has apparently celebrated Victory Day by having a boy in military uniform shoot an effigy of a Nazi soldier with a BB gun.
On Monday, Russia celebrated Victory Day, a May 9 commemoration of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II by the USSR.
The annual celebration has more nationalist weight this year. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 22, the Kremlin has ruthlessly justified the attack by presenting its mission as a “denazification” campaign.
In the southwestern city of Kislovodsk, Victory Day was marked with a ghoulish “Shoot the last fascist” event. According to Russian media and social media, a boy was forced to shoot a hanging Nazi effigy.
Photos of the incident circulated on Telegram and VKontakte. One depicts a young blonde woman wielding an air rifle in full military attire. In another, an effigy wearing a swastika armband hangs upside down from the side of a building with a “Z” symbol visible.
A third image shows the boy pointing the gun alongside a man in military uniform and another filming the scene.
The photos were widely attributed to the Kislovodsk city administration, as its mayor, Yevgeny Moiseev, shared them on his Telegram channel. The post has since been deleted, but can still be viewed through other channels that reposted it.
Moiseev’s post reads: “The last fascist was killed in Kislovodsk. An effigy of a fascist and an occupant was hung on the door, who was shot by children with an air rifle.
“From childhood, our younger generation must know about the evil in the world, whose name is fascism, Nazism, which today is trying to revive again. We will never allow this. We raise our children as patriots and defenders of the Fatherland. Happy Victory Day!”
Russian media reported that the mayor withdrew the post after he provoked a backlash from locals, who demanded an intervention from the governor of Stavropol, the region where Kislovodsk is located.
The Kislovodsk administration denied that the city organized or endorsed the event, a spokesman told Russian news outlet News Tracker.
“This was not our initiative, it is organized by the citizens of Kislovodsk every year,” they said. “We provide the information about all the activities from yesterday to [Yevgeny Moiseev.] when we saw [the reaction online] Of course, we removed it from all our channels.”
Without elaborating on Moiseev’s retraction of his personal approval of the event, the spokesman told News Tracker: “We do not support [this initiative.] Our boss’s current position on this is correct. And it was the same before.”
The backtracking strategy of city officials did not prevent the growing controversy, as crude images continued to circulate on Russian social media. On VKontakte, dubbed the “Russian Facebook”, users criticized the hack as disturbing.
news week believes that the child in the photo below is actually a woman.
“Only sick people could host this kids event,” one person wrote.
“Is Moiseev right in the head? This is not patriotism, that’s not how children are taught. Let the mayor visit a psychotherapist,” said another user.
In the Russian capital, Moscow, the Kremlin sought to exude its military prowess with its annual parade in Red Square.
While delivering a speech on the occasion of the holiday, President Vladimir Putin defended the controversial war he started without mentioning Ukraine by name.
“NATO countries did not want to listen to us. They had different plans and we saw it,” he said. “They were planning an invasion of our historical lands, including Crimea.
“It was a threat that we could not accept, it was a direct threat to our border. Everything showed that we are dealing with Nazis and we have to do something about it.”