Igor Mangushev, a neo-Nazi pro-Russian Ukrainian national accused of calling for genocide while waving the skull of a Ukrainian soldier in front of a crowd, died following being shot in the head at a checkpoint under mysterious circumstances, Russian state media and independent news reports said.
Mangushev, 36, died in hospital in the town Stakhanov on Feb. 8, four days after a member or members of a checkpoint in the east Ukrainian, Russia-occupied city shot him for undetermined reasons, wife Tatiana Azerevich said in a Feb. 5 video statement. Mangushev’s assailant or assailants used a 9mm pistol to fire into the back of his head execution-style, at point blank range, she claimed.
In an Aug. 28 complaint to the UN, Ukrainian authorities accused Mangushev of committing war crimes and calling for genocide following the appearance of a video showing the pro-Kremlin blogger standing on a Luhansk disco stage and telling revelers the skull was from a Ukrainian soldier he killed in fighting in Mariupol.
Local authorities in Stakhanov refused to investigate the shooting, and due to the severity of his wound the Stakhanov hospital staff was unable to give him proper treatment and unwilling to transport him to a better-equipped health facility, Azerevich said.
At the time of his death Mangushev had been serving as an officer in the 2nd Army Corps of the Russian army, a formation staffed primarily by Ukrainian nationals living in the Luhansk region and fighting on Moscow’s side. Most soldiers are forced conscripts, but some are volunteers.
The pro-Moscow Readovka information channel on Wednesday called Mangushev “A hero of New Russia… who had been fighting as a volunteer with the militia since 2014.” Following Russia’s invasion of Crimea and Donbas, Mangushev, at the time a Ukrainian national, was a high-profile promoter of separatism from Kyiv and a member of an openly pro-Nazi mercenary group called ENOT.
Some Western media including British Telegraph have reported Mangushev’s status as a hired fighter against Ukrainian forces linked him with the Wagner military group which, allegedly, helped finance ENOT.
In 2019 Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an article linking him to a purported Russian public action group that tried to disrupt Moscow City Duma elections, and particularly pro-democracy and anti-corruption candidates, with the backing of Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Prigozhin, in a Feb. 5 statement to the Russian news outlet MosNews, denied knowledge of Mangushev’s shooting or its reasons, saying: “I don’t know anything about that, but seeing as he’s [Mangushev] fighting [in Ukraine], then he’s an outstanding guy.”
On Feb. 24, 2022, the date of Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine, Mangushev made public video of him catcalling pro-Ukraine demonstrators in front of the Russian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
“The Ukrainian dogs have gotten together for some reason in front of the Russian Embassy, they’re waving their flags, but they don’t understand that Ukraine already doesn’t exist. It isn’t there, it doesn’t exist, the Russian army has come,” Mangushev said.
In the July 2022 Luhansk disco video, Mangushev called for wholesale murder of Ukrainians and the elimination of the Ukrainian state as he held up a Ukrainian soldier’s skull to a cheering audience as an example.
“We are at war against an idea – the idea of Ukraine as an anti-Russian state. There can be no peace. Ukraine must be de-nazified. Little Russian lands [what Russians once called Ukraine] must be returned,” Mangushev said. “That’s why we don’t care how many of them [Ukrainians] we have to kill… they all need to be destroyed. Like this guy.”
On Jan. 30, one month and five days before his death, Mangushev wrote on his Zapiski Aventurista channel: “Take Ukrainians prisoner? That raised the question, why? Even if we’re [Russian forces] exchanging prisoners at 1:2 we still have enough. And the rest of the prisoners, that’s just a drag on the budget. If you see a Ukrainian you should kill him. Otherwise, f*ggots in jackets [staff officers] will exchange him and he will return to kill Russians.”
Igor “Bereg” Mangushev, a Neo-Nazi serving with the Russian military, displayed what he called the skull
of a Ukrainian soldier from the Azov Regiment. He claimed he killed the Ukrainian in fighting in Mariupol. Ukrainian authorities filed war crimes allegations against Mangushev with the UN in August. Image is a video screen grab from the UNIAN news agency.
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