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Russian socialite TV host under fire for interview with serial rapist

A Russian socialite and TV personality is under fire for interviewing a convicted rapist following his release from prison.

Ksenia Sobchak interviewed 70-year-old Viktor Mokhov who was sentenced in 2005 to 17 years in prison for the kidnap and rape of two teenage girls, whom he kept in a basement for almost four years.

Mokhov — known as the “Skopin maniac” — starved, beat, raped and poisoned the girls with tear gas, according to the country’s Interior Ministry. One of the girls became pregnant and had three children, two in captivity, according to Russian media reports, and the girls were released in 2004.

Sobchak, the daughter of a former St. Petersburg mayor who, after her father’s death, found fame as a reality TV show host, posted the interview to her YouTube channel on Monday, sparking outrage.

One of the victims of the offender, Ekaterina Martynova, said in an interview on the Dozhd TV channel that she intends to apply to the prosecutor’s office asking to initiate a criminal case against Mokhov because of statements he made in his interview with Sobchak.

During the interview, Mokhov claimed one of the girls, Elena Samokhina, got pregnant in captivity, and after she was released she never gave birth again. Mokhov suggested he should “take care of her” implying he could impregnate her again. He also said he still had feelings for Martynova and wanted to meet with her.

“She [Samokhina] gave birth from me and does not give birth anymore. I need to take care of her again,” Mokhov said.

Some viewed that as a threat to his former victims, and said that Sobchak did not challenge Mokhov, but instead discussed his sexual preferences with him.

Alexander Bastrykin, head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, said he has ordered a “procedural check” into Mokhov’s comments, according to an official statement that says in part: “journalists and social activists draw the attention of law enforcement agencies to the possible preparation of a new crime on the part of a man.”

State Duma Deputy Oksana Pushkina said she had sent deputy inquiries to the Federal Penitentiary Service and the Prosecutor General’s Office regarding the intention expressed by Mokhov to “help” one of his victims conceive children.

“Fearing for the victims of the maniac and realizing that the threats expressed by him are illegal, I made two inquiries — to the FSIN and the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation,” Pushkina wrote on her Telegram channel on March 23.

Meanwhile, Ekaterina Mizulina, director of the Safe Internet League, said the interview is a clear example of cyberbullying against victims of crime, according to state media.

“The Safe Internet League hotlines for receiving messages about the distribution of dangerous content have been practically paralyzed in recent days due to appeals from citizens in connection with the interview with a maniac. League experts believe that the interview is a clear example of cyberbullying against victims of Mokhov’s crimes. We can see that YouTube has already responded to complaints from volunteers and introduced age labels for videos,” Mizulina told RIA Novosti.

A company that makes Covid-tests, Avivir, which had placed advertising on Sobchak’s YouTube channel, said they had suspended the advertisements following the interview.

Sobchak, who ran as a Russian presidential candidate in 2018, responded to the criticism of the interview in a post on Instagram, writing: “it is our right as journalists to explore the boundaries of good and evil. You cannot understand the nature of evil if you do not enter its territory.”

“Conversations that Ksenia Sobchak’s film about a maniac can provoke or inspire someone to commit crimes, of course, flattered me, but you overestimate me,” she added.

Article Topic Follows: National-World

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