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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Neo-Nazi Charged for Hatred Video




Police have arrested a neo-Nazi who appeared in a videotape of what purported to be a burning synagogue, the Moscow prosecutor's office said Thursday.


Pavel Drozdov was arrested Wednesday and charged with inciting national hatred for making the tape, in which he read an anti-Semitic speech.


But prosecutors said he didn't have anything to do with attacks on Moscow synagogues, and that the tape was faked, with the flames actually coming from a burning gasoline tank in the background.


Another man, identified by prosecutors as Alexander Airapetyan, was detained last December and is undergoing psychiatric examination, spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said.


Drozdov's arrest follows heavy criticism of police for not doing enough to suppress political extremism after they failed to stop a march by the violently nationalist Russian National Unity group in Moscow over the weekend.


A few days after the bomb attack on the Maryina Roshcha synagogue, someone called NTV television and said he was a member of a secret Nazi organization, prosecutors said. He claimed the organization was responsible for the bombing and left directions on where to find a tape proving his words.


The May 13 synagogue bombing injured two construction workers. Several dozen students had left the synagogue just minutes before the blast, which blew a hole in a brick wall and shattered windows. The following day someone set a car parked by the synagogue in the Otradnoye area of Moscow on fire. The temple itself was not damaged.


The Federal Security Service is handling investigation of both the bomb attack and the arson. When the tape was discovered, a separate investigation was initiated and passed over to the Moscow prosecutor's office, Petrenko said.


She also said investigators believe the suspects have no relation either to the bomb explosion nor to the attempted arson.


"There are no charges of terrorism against them," she said.


If found guilty, Drozdov and Airapetyan face up to four years in prison under Article 282 of the criminal code.