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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Student Detained in Execution Video Posting

Police in the southern republic of Adygeya have detained a university student who admitted to posting a video on the Internet appearing to show the brutal execution of two men from Tajikistan and Dagestan, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

Police in the Adygeya capital of Maikop detained the student, in his early 20s, Tuesday on suspicion of distributing the video, though the suspect said he was not involved in its creation, ministry spokesman Oleg Yelnikov said.

"He is adamant that he had nothing to do with the making of the video," Yelnikov said.

The student's name has not been released.

The student told authorities he received the video clip by e-mail from a different region, Maikop's acting city prosecutor, Alexander Belousov, told reporters Wednesday.

"This person voluntarily said he distributed the video over the Internet, where it became available for other users," Belousov said, Interfax reported.

The student said he had been an adherent to national-socialist ideas for the past two years, and regional police and prosecutors had confiscated literature of a "presumably extremist nature," Belousov said.

Vasily Guk, spokesman for the Adygeya Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday that a criminal case for the incitement of hatred had been opened against the student. He has not been formally charged with any crime, Guk said, Interfax reported.

The video appeared on ultranationalist web sites Sunday under the title "The Execution of a Tajik and a Dagestani" and shows two men kneeling, bound and gagged in front of a Nazi flag.

The two men say, "Russian national-socialists have arrested us," before masked men cut one's head off and shoot the other at point-blank range.

A hitherto unknown organization calling itself the National Socialist Party of Rus has taken credit for the video and had posted a statement on at least one ultranationalist LiveJournal.com blog as of Wednesday.

The statement describes the organization as the "paramilitary wing" of the Nationalist-Socialist Society and announces "the beginning of an armed battle" against "dark colonists and those who support them," including government officials.

The organization also demanded in the statement that President Vladimir Putin step down and hand power to the head of the National-Socialist Society, Dmitry Rumyantsev, who has penned admiring essays about Adolf Hitler on his organization's web site.

Rumyantsev did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment, but his organization issued a statement Wednesday saying it had no connection to any organization called the National Socialist Party of Rus.

The statement did not expressly condone or condemn the video, the authenticity of which has so far been impossible to verify.

Adygeya prosecutors and officers from the Interior Ministry are handling the investigation, said Yelnikov, the Ministry spokesman.

He declined to comment on whether the ministry's high-tech crimes department had been able to establish the authenticity of the video's content. It had been determined that the video was originally posted on foreign servers, and the ministry was in contact with authorities in those countries, Irina Zubaryova, a spokeswoman for the department, said Tuesday, Interfax reported.

Anna Pozdnyakova, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General's Office, said the Interior Ministry's conclusions as to the video's authenticity had been passed on the Adygeya prosecutors.

Officials at the Adygeya Prosecutor's Office could not be reached for comment.

Denis Levkovich, a cameraman with the Fox News bureau in Moscow who has worked in Iraq and Chechnya and seen several videos of executions, said it would be easy to fabricate a video of a gunshot execution by using pyrotechnics.

Staging a beheading is also possible by editing several short video clips together, although difficult to produce in one long take.

Levkovich said he had seen only video stills of the purported execution posted by ultranationalists Sunday, not the video itself.

But the bluish color of one of the purported victim's hands in the pictures he saw indicates either heavy blood-loss or an intricate cosmetic trick, Levkovich said.

"I'm not sure that whoever took that footage would be sophisticated enough to apply makeup on the hands," Levkovich said. "I would be surprised."

Staff Writer David Nowak and Ross Kenneth Urken contributed to this report.