Issue #30/55, December 29, 1998 - January 14, 1999  smlogo.gif

Death Porn

In This Issue
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Golden Hairy Ass Awards
"chi-XXX-ploitation" page


low-yield murder

"skull-brain trauma"


really stupid criminal


cries for help ignored


"investigation continuing"

carved up like a turkey

related to victim's job


riddled with bullets

old people


The year 1998 began with an impressive ", SELF" bang, as a record eight suicides were recorded in Moscow last New Year's Day, five of them coming by hanging. It was a fitting way to usher in a year that would see Russia exchange its status as the world leader in cold and calculating contract killings for a new place as humankind's ultimate yardstick for nihilism and hopelessness. This was the year Russia became a kingdom of
1998 Andryusha Awards
criminal extremes, when stolen property was measured in kilometers instead of the traditional kilograms, when the state issued licenses to molest children, and even ax-murderers had to lobby to get themselves arrested. It was almost as though Russia's criminals were campaigning to be granted champion status at some yet-to-be-created Cannes Festival of Audacious Cruelty, while the country's police pushed to be crowned in a parallel ceremony by an Academy for Negligent Indifference. To underscore this development we decided to create the first annual Andryusha awards, given to those criminals, faux-crimefighters, and unhelpful bystanders who demonstrated a superlative absence of ordinary human feeling in the course of the past year. Named in honor of legendary serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, the Andryusha implies a truly exceptional and noteworthy antisocial achievement, and is awarded only to that rare individual who actually manages to significantly disappoint the almost supernaturally low standards for human conduct that have been established by modern Russian society. There are several categories of Andryusha Awards, each reflecting different segments of the criminal-atrocity spectrum. Without further ado, here are the winners for 1998:


One of several Andryusha categories in which the award is not given to a brutal criminal, but to the surrounding "law-abiding" citizens whose very non-participation in a criminal event helped erode one of society's chief defenses against senseless violence--the criminal's expectation that he will be interfered with if he commits his crime in public. By 1998 it had become clear that in Russia, a little extra milk or sugar weren't the only things you couldn't ask your neighbor for anymore. You also couldn't ask for help if you were being beaten to death. There were many nominees under this "Cries For Help Ignored" category, but only one was truly worthy of an Andryusha:

The Neighbors of Pavel Cherkov

Seven-year-old Pavel Cherkov lived in a kommunalka on Prospekt Vernadskogo here in Moscow with his mother and his stepfather, Fyodor Cherkov, a metro station manager. Poor little Pavel's kommunalka-mates, a husband and wife, played cards and listened to the radio in the kitchen while the elder Cherkov and his wife beat the little boy to death with a belt in the bathroom. According to police, the neighbors' excuse was that the beatings were so frequent, there was no way for them to know which one would be fatal.


Given to the police precinct or individual law enforcement "professional" most notably successful in failing to notice the commission of a serious crime or crimes. In deciding the winner of the this particular category of Andryusha award, special emphasis is placed on the non-filing of charges resulting from incompetence or myopia. Corrupt officials who fail to prosecute for pecuniary reasons are excluded from consideration.This year's winner:

The Izhevsk Police Department

When 22-year-old Yuri Artomonov walked into the local police precinct in his Izhevsk neighborhood last January with the intention of confessing, he expected to be greeted as a much-sought-after serial killer. After all, Artomonov had killed five people in a 1-square-kilometer area with an ax over a two-year period and had, in addition, attempted and failed to kill four others with that very same ax before a combined total of 13 witnesses, at least half of whom knew him by first and last name. (Artomonov's objective in each attack was the victim's VCR, which nets the killer a special consolation Andryusha for high-volume, low-yield murder.) Upon confessing, however, Artomonov was surprised to learn that police weren't even on the trail of a serial ax-murderer. Izhevsk homicide detectives had simply chalked it up to "coincidence" that so many elderly residents of the same neighborhood had been decapitated for their VCRs in such a short period of time.


Given to the criminal or criminals who show the most aplomb in departing from the usual TT-pistol-shot-in-the-podyezd method of assassinating "commercial directors" in today's Russia. An absentee Andryusha in this category should probably be given to the still-at-large (surprise!) assassin who in 1996 killed a "commercial director" using a weapon police later determined to have been a Thompson machine gun. When hit-men start becoming self-referentially glib, you know there's something wrong. This year's winner was less subtle, but only slightly:

The Double-Up Killer

Sunday, May 24 marked the first time in anyone's memory that a Moscow assassin doubled up on a story element, shooting not one, but two separate, entirely unrelated directors of commercial firms at the same time. According to police, the award-winning killer (also still at large) had been waiting outside the elevator door in a fashionable Evro-remonted apartment building on Kutuzovsky prospekt for one of two hotshots: either "Rapid-1" director Vladimir Dotsenko or "Promfin" director Yuri Bushev. When the elevator door opened, he gunned down both. Police have yet to determine if there was only one intended victim was, or whether the killer was paid double wages to take out both.


Given to the thief who can actually make the news in Russia by stealing anything at all. In a country where billion-dollar industries are swiped in broad daylight, a theft must be particularly audacious to warrant the award of a prize as prestigious as the Andryusha. This year's winner:

The Wire-Cutters

Criminals in the Volgograd suburb of Ilovlya figured out the ultimate method of committing crimes without fear of capture: cut the phone line. All of it. In what federal Interior Ministry officials called an all-time record for metals theft, a gang of thieves made off with 47 kilometers of heavy aluminum telecommunications cable. The culprits, they said, cut the wires right off the poles on the outskirts of town. Police in the area were subsequently sent back to the academy for remedial rapid-response training.


Given to the police department which apprehends and successfully prosecutes anyone at all on any charge, in the process proving that there are indeed some crimes which are still considered unacceptable by modern Russian society. Falling under that category this year was the following unusual transgression:

The Same-Sex Rape of a Male Janitor

A court in Moscow's Northern administrative okrug handed down a 15-year sentence to a 25-year-old janitor convicted of raping his 20-year-old male coworker after a drunken brawl in his company's locker room. Prosecutors in the case described the crime as a "peculiarly disgusting act that should inspire horror and revulsion in all of Moscow society." No word on whether the victim was offended by the characterization.


Given to the criminal using the most glaringly conspicuous and suspicious method of going about his illegal business. In an age where virtually any crime can be expected to be ignored by authorities, nominees must go that extra step to win an Andryusha in this category, gaining active governmental assistance in the commission of their crimes. This year's winner:

Licensed to Molest

A 43 year-old Tatar from the Pavlovo-Posadsky region was accused of molesting dozens of elementary-school girls last January. The Tatar had gone to the local administration and asked to set up a after-school vocational program in his apartment, promising to teach children typing and other marketable skills. He was given money for the program and a license, despite his lack of a pedagogical background. Proving that good old-fashioned sexism is still alive and well in Russia, he taught the boys to type, while the little girls were fondled and raped--however, all participants received a token salary for their labors. The Pavlovo-Posadsky regional administration never apologized for the bureaucratic oversight, but who can blame them? Running things sure ain't easy!

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