On March 6th, huge anti-war demonstrations across Russia saw more than 5,000 protesters arrested. 29 were taken to Moscow’s Brateyevo Police Station for questioning. There, an unnamed officer wearing black subjected at least 11 young women to verbal and physical abuse, often amounting to torture. This included suffocation.
Two of the detainees recorded their ordeals and on release leaked the audio to the press. Despite international outrage and multiple calls for an investigation by a Russian politician, the authorities did not open a criminal case.
In place of one, the victims set out to find the ‘man in black’ themselves.
Using a leaked database from a Russian food delivery company called Yandex, archived social media accounts, and old dating profiles, BBC Eye Investigations tells the story of how these young women came together to expose the identity of their torturer and his commanding officer.
On 7 March 2023, the EU announced sanctions on Russian police officers Ivan Ryabov and Alexander Fedorinov – the targets of the film.
- Amnesty Media Award 2023, “Best Investigation”.
- BBC News Award, “Outstanding Innovation”. One judge said “this blew my mind and was genuinely original – not only is the story extraordinary, but it is the innovative use of journalism techniques combined with open source data which enables the tale to unfold. The way this is delivered to the audience 100% enhances their understanding of the issues involved.”
Lead investigators: V. Arakelyan, J. Tacchi
Producers/directors: B. Hill, A. Schirer
Lead video editing & design: A. Schirer
Co-producers: J. Tacchi, V. Arakelyan, M. Ganguly
Add. video editing: E. Costard
Illustration: L. Kessler
Investigators: N. Davis, R. Celina
Exec producer: M. Khalili
(Full credit list)