Vremya Novostei reported that Artur Ryno, a student at an icon painting school, detained in mid-April on suspicion of killing Karen Abramyan, an Armenian, told investigators that he has "since school hated people from the Caucasus who come to Moscow, unite and oppress Russians," and added that he suddenly realized "the city needed to be cleaned."
Ryno said he and his friend Pavel Skachevsky, both aged 18, attacked and killed dark-skinned people in Moscow's suburbs. They did not confess to the Armenian's murder until a videotape from surveillance cameras installed at the building's entrance where Abramyan lived was shown to them.
Prosecutors said Ryno and Skachevsky were detained after an eyewitness called the police and said the two people who stabbed Abramyan 20 times escaped in a streetcar. Police stopped the streetcar and arrested the two students whose clothes and a knife found on them were covered in blood.
A police source said: "At first we doubted whether what Ryno said was true - he mentioned too many details and boasted about what he had done, but at the same time the dates and crime scenes named were not precise. But the investigations we have carried out confirm that everything he says is true." However, Ryno's accomplice, Skachevsky has denied attacking anyone.
Vremya Novostei wrote that the teenagers carried out their first killing August 21, 2006, which coincided with an explosion carried out by skinheads at Moscow's Cherkizovsky market, where many traders from the North Caucasus region, former Central Asian Soviet republics, as well as Vietnam and China worked. The explosion left 11 people dead and at least 49 injured.
Ryno said when they were attacking people, bystanders did not interfere, preferring to leave the crime scene as quickly as possible.
Routine attacks by skinheads and young gangs on foreigners and people with non-Slavic features have been reported across Russia in recent years. But authorities have been generally reluctant to treat the attacks as race-hate crimes, portraying them instead as acts of hooliganism.