The dark side of TikTok: videos glorifying the violence of Russian soldiers go viral

Il lato oscuro di TikTok: virali i video che glorificano le violenze dei soldati russi thumbnail

A recent report by NewsGuard, a team of analysts that evaluates the reliability of news on the web, indicates the virality on TikTok of about 160 videos that “allude to, show or glorify acts of violence” by Russian soldiers, particularly the Wagner Group, mercenary militia on the Kremlin payroll. The clips, also according to NewsGuard, have been viewed more than a billion times.

These are often bloody images. One such video, for example, testifies to the execution of Yevgeny Nuzhina former Russian mercenary from the Wagner Group who defected and was executed in October for it.

TikTok: ballets, social trends and videos of violence by Russian soldiers

According to NewsGuard, the Wagner Group uses TikTok as a form of “propaganda and recruitment.” The company has identified more than 500 videos that are not necessarily explicitly violentbut which describe acts of violence or incite repression of the Ukrainian people.

Obviously, this content violates TikTok’s guidelines, which prohibit the publication of “posts that praise, promote, glorify or support violent acts”. Recall that TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a conglomerate partially owned by the Chinese government.

Who are the mercenaries of the Wagner group

According to European Union documents, the Wagner Group was founded Dmitry Utkin – a former Russian soldier of strong Nazi ideologies, as confirmed by the swastika tattoos that adorn his body. In reality there is no need to go looking for any tattoos, to understand the ideology of the Wagner Group it is enough to analyze the name, which derives from the famous German composer Wilhelm Richard Wagner: Adolf Hitler’s favorite artist.

Sir Jeremy Fleming, the head of GCHQ, said that Wagner Group mercenaries in Ukraine would be used as “cannon fodder”, to try to limit Russian military losses. In August, British military intelligence said Wagner played a “pivotal role” in the capture of Donetsk’s second power station.

The group is believed to be funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman linked to Vladimir Putin. Prigozhin is one of many Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the West in response to the invasion of Ukraine, although he has denied any connection to the Wagner Group.