This one is perhaps one of the most memorable and hardest-to-watch to many who follow the shock/gore genre. This fact is likely largely in part because of its length – almost 17 minutes – and the nonchalant way in which the captors/executioners carry out their acts.
In September of 1999, near the end of the War of Dagestan, a group of Chechen Mujahedeen rebels led by Emir Omar Karpinski, attacked a small village. Five Russian soldiers, all of them around the age of 18, put up a fight from a small village until they ran out of ammunition. Realizing they were then obviously outgunned, they surrendered. A 6th soldier was purportedly turned over to the Chechens by the residents of the village.
Karpinski ordered them taken to a clearing. It is here where the clip starts.
It briefly shows one of the Mujahedeen at his car and then shows the rest of his devout Muslim brethren seemingly enjoying some rest and relaxation. The cameraman, Islanu Mukaeva, films this for approximately two minutes and can be heard laughing multiple times. The footage then shows the group start to walk single-file to the point where the executions would be carried out.
Presumably upset by the amount of his men that he had lost in battle, Karpinski ordered all of his men to gather around to watch as the six Russian troops were to be executed one-by-one. After the human convoy to the outdoor execution site is shown, it cuts to one of the near-beheadings of a shirtless soldier already in progress.
As the camera pans out, his fellow soldiers can be seen laying face-down at his feet, with their fingers interlocked behind their heads. When the camera moves, it goes back to the soldier who had just received his brutal fate. You can then hear his body’s struggle to continue breathing – his neck now opened up. It is a sound you will never forget.
As one of the Chechens picks another soldier to stand and move, the former victim’s executioner can be seen starting to saw again on the stricken soldier’s neck. This is how these beheadings are done. Not by a quick, near-painless swipe of a sword, but the slow, methodical sawing motion of a sharp knife.
The second soldier is then focused on again as he is ordered to lie face-down in the clearing. His captor, dressed in casual clothes and sneakers, stands straddling him. As the man stands above him and starts to lower himself and the knife, the soldier repeatedly turns his head around speaking to him.
This is where things become more personal to the average viewer. The victims are no longer merely strangers on the screen, quietly accepting their fate.
The soldier quickly turns his face back downward and can be heard screaming and crying for mercy.
As his screams and cries can still be heard, the camera pans to the left where another captor has already nearly finished the partial beheading of another of the soldiers. This soldier was on his back.
After the cameraman looks around briefly, he again focuses on the one whose neck had just been sliced open. The depth of his wound is then much clearer. His neck is more than half cut through and is quite grotesque.
The camera then pans back over to the soldier that had been pleading. He is quieter now and blood can be seen on his hand, but he is still moving.
The captor who had been straddling him is then replaced by another captor. As this one starts to grab the back of the soldier’s shirt collar, the terrified and injured young man gathers every bit of strength he can, struggles to his feet and breaks free, running away. Gunshots can then be heard as he is then presumably shot dead.
As Mukaeva continues to film various angles and subjects, we briefly see the shirtless soldier again and the now three face-down soldiers next to him; fingers still interlocked behind their heads.
The camera then pans back to the right where yet another of the soldiers has been led a few feet away for his turn.
As the next soldier’s soon-to-be executioner, Tamerlane Hasaeva, straddles him and lowers his knife, the soldier flips back over, face-up, pleading and offering help to his captors. He can be seen pointing off into the distance to the camera’s right. He’s claiming that a house he’s pointing to contains weapons and ammunition. His attempts at being spared are quickly proven fruitless as he is turned back over. But only partially, as Hasaeva is seemingly begins to feel for the young man.
As the desperate soldier continues this exercise in futility, Hasaeva becomes obviously and increasingly impatient but continues to listen and ask an occasional question. The cameraman can again be heard laughing.
The soldier then removes his belt after having been ordered to. Another of the Mujahedeen takes the belt, and as the soldier sits up straighter, slaps it over the soldier’s head.
At this point, all in close proximity are losing their patience. Another captor uses the butt of his rifle to hit the young man’s arm as the man with his belt tries to get the prisoner under control. The man with the gun hits him several more times as the other two finally wrestle the doomed soldier down.
When his shoulders reach the ground, the soldier begins pleading more desperately. As he is held down, the man who had been hitting him with the gun starts punching him in the head.
Somehow, he breaks the hold of the two men but his hands-free state is very short-lived as he is once more brought down to the ground and quickly butted in the head with the rifle again. He is now on his knees in a sort of upward fetal position.
Hasaeva is now bringing the knife to his neck. When the young man tries to push the knife away, this further frustrates his captor and he starts stabbing the soldier in the neck.
We briefly see the stricken young man realize he is doomed as he fights much less now and begins to bleed more. He then half lies down and half collapses to the ground, lying on his right arm which is extended above his head.
We are then taken to the fifth of the six doomed individuals. He puts up no fight as he is lead just feet away from his dying comrade.
This particular partial beheading isn’t shown. Instead, the clip cuts to where the soldiers had been laying at the start of everything. The cameraman is sure to show all the victims nearby.
It is then that we see the similar bygone fate of the last-seen soldier. His arms are behind his back and he is face-down in a small patch of bloodstained grass.
We now reach the final, and in my opinion, the most unnerving scene. This is the part of the video as a whole that seems to have hit at the hearts of many of even the most seasoned viewers.
The final soldier, still face-down, is filmed almost straight-on as he is knelt upon by Karpinski himself. His head is then lifted by the tops of his eye sockets with just two spread fingers.
As the camera zooms in, simultaneously, Karpinski shows far less “mercy” as he immediately starts to saw at the soldier’s neck. The young man, who had been grimacing, then started to scream in pain as his neck is sawed open.
His screams are muddled by the unmistakable sound of blood pouring over his vocal chords through a now-open neck.
After the young man screams for a few moments, his teeth clenching his bottom lip until the literal lifeblood draining from his body proves to be too much. With each of his body’s attempts to draw in breath, his face relaxes just a little more.
At this point, the quite-familiar chant of, “Allahu akbar!” (“God is great!”) can be heard being jubilantly repeated by those in attendance. It is noticeable in this genre when beheadings are done in the name of Islam, the passion with which those words are chanted increases with the suffering of the victim. The louder and more blood-curdling, the louder and more enthusiastically it is cheered.
A few moments later, one wonders in amazement if the mind is stronger than the body or if a body in the throes of death suddenly achieves superhuman strength. The soldier, who most viewers would naturally presume unconscious and/or near death, then manages the strength to lift and nearly reach his feet as he fights to move.
He reaches the upright sitting position for the blink of an eye and then rolls back over onto his belly, where he remains. We see him lightly lift his head one more time as we hear the cameraman and his cohorts carry on casual conversation.
The clip then focuses on the majority of the men in attendance, glancing back once more at the final soldier whose body is still showing signs of fighting to survive.
As the clip nears its end, we can see the captors moving the fifth of the six executed young men by his feet, and the last soldier’s hands are unbound by two others. He is then drug off by the legs by those same two men, his body no longer showing signs of life.
All of the soldiers executed that day have now become veritable heroes in parts of their native Russia.
A majority of those seen carrying out the gruesome deeds in the video have been captured or killed. Most of their identification was done via the video that Islanu Mukaeva had filmed of the events.
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The Dagestan Massacre
This one is perhaps one of the most memorable and hardest-to-watch to many who follow the shock/gore genre. This fact is likely largely in part...