Popular tiktoker Nekoglai talks about torture by Russian police

Image taken from a video inTikTok account of Nekoglai. The subtitles say “If you open your mouth, we will find you in Moldova too”.

Moldovan blogger Nekoglai, a huge online celebrity in Russia, recounts his aggression in Russia on his TikTok account and how he left the country to find safety in Moldova.

Since being expelled from Moscow on Nov. 24, the popular TikToker Nekoglai [en, come i link seguenti, salvo diversa indicazione] he has appeared in various videos in his channel. According to the information reported by [es] Global Voices, was arrested and deported for parodying a video of a Russian soldier throwing grenades. The video is now the most viewed of his channel, with more than 20 million views. Other videos from his account were also viewed more than ten times than before. All the most recent videos show the blogger back in Moldova and also tell part of his ordeal at the Moscow police station.

One of the videos shows Nekoglai with a Moldovan flag on background. The comments below the post are in Russian, Romanian and Ukrainian and say “it’s very nice to see you again (on TikTok)”, “here (in Moldova), no one would touch!” and “Slava Ukraini – Glory to Ukraine”, among others.

Image taken from a video inTikTok account of Nekoglai.

The latest video, posted on Nov. 30, shows the blogger being “assaulted” by men who look like Russian policemen and with Russian subtitles saying, “If you open your mouth, we’ll find you in Moldova too.”

Image taken from a video inTikTok account of Nekoglai.

Nekoglai also has 615,000 subscribers of his channel Telegram messaging, a popular media in Russia, Moldova and Ukraine, and 573,000 on YouTube. On his YouTube channel he had announced the publication of a video on December 4, in which “the functioning of the police in the Russian Federation would be shown in all its extent: anarchy, torture, humiliation”. The transmission was also made in Twitchwhere Nekoglai has 2.4 million followers.

In the video, Nekoglai says he was tortured in Moscow’s Presnenskii district police station.

The whole floor of the room in the police station was covered with my blood, my vomit, I was vomiting from stress, from shock, from a blow to the kidneys, to the stomach, my whole head was in blood from blows to the back of the head.

The whole floor of the police station room was covered in my blood, in my vomit, I was vomiting from stress, from shock, from a blow to the kidneys, to the stomach, my whole head was bloodied from blows to the back of the neck.

The blogger added that the policemen beat him severely and even tried to rape him with a bottle.

Beatings, torture and threats of sexual violence (sometimes even actual abuse in this sense) have long been practiced by the Russian police: they apply these methods en masse to people accused of protesting. One of the latest examples, in addition to Nekoglai’s testimony, is that of a girl arrested for protesting against the mobilization. How informed OVD Info [ru], after being arrested, the policemen threatened her and her friends with beating and gang rape; they didn’t give them water or food and suggested they drink from the toilet bowl. The girls had been stopped because of the “Peace” sign they were holding. In November, the police hit and he used electric shocks [ru] against a member of an anti-fascist organization in Tyumen, leaving him 10 hours with a bag on his head, without food or water.

In September, the police had beaten and raped the poet with a dumbbell Artyom Kamardin [ru]; he had been arrested for reciting a poem during anti-war and anti-mobilization poetry readings. The police recorded a torture video of him and showed it to his girlfriend, who was also arrested and tortured.

Nekoglai’s story is available on YouTube:

On Dec. 4, Nekoglai’s YouTube comment section was flooded with Russian bots, mostly posting messages saying “Glory to Russia” with a strong arm emoji.

Image taken from a screenshot of theTikTok account of Nekoglai.

TikTok is important in Russia because it is the second most popular downloaded application in the country and TikTok light (simplified version) occupies the eleventh position, according to Similar web [en, come tutti i link successivi, salvo diversa indicazione].

In March 2022, TikTok he forbade allows Russian users to post new videos and does not allow them to view global content within Russia. Still, some bloggers may post new content, though it’s unclear how the platform decides who can and who can’t, an investigation by digital rights organization Tracking Exposed has shown.

The report he claims that users can continue to see new and global Russian content in their recommendation lists. This raises doubts about lack of transparency of algorithms by TikTok. In addition, the ban on Russians from accessing global content has been criticised, given that social media platforms play into the hands of Russian government censorship. So, “shadow promotion” or seeing content in TikTok that shouldn’t be there, might not be so bad.

If Russian users can access the content of Nekoglai (in Moldova), or that of other TikTokers who may be critical of the Russian government, this can influence resistance to the Russian government line.

For now, there is evidence that the Russian government may have paid some of the bloggers most popular of VK (similar to Facebook, and now the only social media allowed in Russia, besides YouTube and Telegram) to promote military recruitment efforts.

Image taken from a screenshot in the Telegram channel of Mediazonean opposition supporter media

Although the campaign has caused outrage in the media aligned with the opposition outside of Russia, it may have been effective for propaganda efforts.

It is possible that the opposition wants to use similar methods to convince people. Nekogiai’s example demonstrates that videos with political and oppositional content can be as popular with young audiences as entertainment videos.

Popular tiktoker Nekoglai talks about torture by Russian police