It starts with a young blonde boy, who looks to be in his early teens, his face covered in dirt and bruises, bent over on his knees kissing the pink sandals of a teen girl. The video, which was filmed in Novomoskovsk–a city in western Russia–and depicts three teens violently bullying and abusing one of their peers, has gone viral on the Russian Internet.
At first, the video is difficult to parse without understanding Russian. Is this a game? you might wonder for the first few seconds. But as the video plays on, it becomes evident you’re watching an assault. A few more seconds into the video, another teen in the group kicks the young blonde boy in the stomach. The girl’s brother, in a blue Nike shirt, joins in and kicks him in the belly, in the face. Soon, you might begin to feel sick.
Betabeat has not been able to verify the source of the video independently. But according to Russian news sources, the video was initially uploaded to YouTube before being removed by administrators. It was then copied to a Latvian server, where it’s being hosted on the site RuCrash.com. Russian web sleuths wasted no time unearthing the identities of the students in the film. The girl is said to be Tataiana Muravyova, a 13-year-old student who was dating the bullied boy in the video until he decided to dump her for another girl. Ms. Muravyova allegedly sought her revenge by getting her brother and a few of his friends to beat up the boy, all while the camera rolled.
LifeNews reports that police in the Tula region where the video was allegedly filmed are investigating the incident. Meanwhile, though the video only hit news sites a handful of hours ago, Ms. Muravyova’s profile on the Russian social network VK has already begun filling up with hateful comments by users who have seen the video. “You’re a stupid whore,” wrote one user in Russian, translated to English via Chrome. “Tanya’s mother, why do not you think about abortion?” asked another, also in Russian, translated to English.
The video, bleak and sickening, is yet another sad example of teenage bullying gone viral. Back in June, when a video of a bus monitor being bullied by teens in Greece, New York went viral, the victim–Karen Klein–received hundreds of thousands of dollars from an Indiegogo campaign started in her name. Ms. Klein decided to use the funds to start an anti-bullying foundation.
That incident, however sad it was in the beginning, ultimately ended happily. But the story of the viral Russian bullying video is a little more complicated. For one, the backlash against Ms. Muravyova seems to be far more violent and aggressive than that against the teenage bullies in Greece, NY ever was. In this case, bullying has begotten more bullying–even if Ms. Muravyova’s actions seemingly make her a complicit in the attack.
So far, in this situation, there’s no redeeming crowdfunding outlet, no spot on the Today show. There’s just the young blonde boy with the dirt and the bruises, and the 13-year-old girl with a checkered past being sought by police.