What happened at the beginning of December in Ivanovka, a small town not so far from the Russian capital, was a real tragedy. Valentina Grigoryeva, a 28 years old young woman, lived with her boyfriend, the thirty-year-old YouTuber Stanislav Reshetnikov, who is well-known in the World Wide Web as Stas Reeflay.
Valentina, aka Valya, and Stanislav had lived together for a long time in a rented house in the outskirts of Ivanovka, a suburban town. In October, Ms. Grigoryeva found out she was pregnant but her domestic life was not at all happy: in several occasions Stanislav, usually drunk, was violent with his girlfriend using an aggressive behaviour not only in private, but also in front of the video camera, during the streaming broadcast that he recorded on his YouTube channel weekly.
However, the usual episodes of violence committed at the expense of the young woman took a different turn on 4th December. The YouTuber Stas had just started one of his live streaming recording and, as usual, he interacted with several of his followers who were connected streaming on his YouTube channel. An anonymous user, while attending Stas’ live recording, decided to throw him a bet: in exchange for 1,000 $, Stanislav Reshetnikov was supposed to lock his girlfriend out on the balcony in an interesting condition, half-naked, for about 15 minutes. After hitting Valya repeatedly in front of the online audience, drunk Stas grabbed her vigorously and locked her out on the balcony, leaving her in the bitter cold and, in the meantime, continuing to drink in the “company” of his followers who were unwilling to believe to what was happening, while Valya was begging for help knocking more and more faintly on the frozen windowpane from the outside.
After 15 minutes, the YouTuber Stas stood up from his recording position and went to Valya, but what he found outside on the balcony was not the cheerful young woman who was carrying his child in her womb, but a cold and lifeless body. In the grip of panic, he dragged Valentina’s dead body inside believing she had just fainted. He laid it on the sofa covering it with a blanket while trying to warm it up. Everything in front of the video camera which was still recording: “Valya, you’re so cold. Guys, what do I have to do? I can’t feel her heartbeat” young Stanislav stuttered shaking, while talking directly to his followers, helpless audience of the atrocious tragedy. He held her tight, frightened and drunk. As soon as he understood what had happened, he called for help and he continued drinking.
Healthcare professionals arrived promptly to Stanislav and Valentina’s home but their attempts of resuscitation were useless: Valentina and her child had already died. Before the police, and the audience on the web, since the video camera of the live streaming broadcast was still recording, thirty-year-old Stanislav Reshetnikov acknowledged he had killed his girlfriend to win a bet. “A cruel act that happened by chance and was transmitted on the web”, wrote the well-known English newspaper The Mirror with regard to the terribile event. According to the forensic experts, during the live streaming Stas inflicted horrible injuries to the young woman, presumably causing her serious damages to the head and face, along with the multiple bruises.
The thirty-year-old man has now been arrested and he risks up to 15 years of prison in the event that the charge of negligent homicide is admitted, or 2 years for having divulged Valentina’s death live streaming in the event that the “accident” he declared is acknowledged. This episode has opened a debate concerning the lack of protection and restrictions on YouTube and on social networks in Russia, given these episodes of violence filmed real time. As Leggo writes, a representative of the platform declared herself shocked by what was published: “This kind of content is not acceptable on YouTube. Even if the original live streaming did not have place on YouTube, we removed rapidly the re-uploading and shut down the associated account”. Actually, those images are still on the web and they are easily traceable. “Those videos are transmitted without haste to the whole world, which means that something is rotten. Until this won’t be solved, censorship is needed”, was the opinion of the feminist activist Liza Lazerson.
Translated by Lucica Oana Maris