Reports from the village of Vanzezat, Beloyarsky District say the “local businessman” was shot dead by one of the people he had illegally pressed into work.
Six police officers from the regional capital of Beloyarsky showed up on snowmobiles to the tiny village following the clash on Sunday night and have opened an investigation into Vladimir Teplov’s death, after he was shot in the abdomen with a Klashnikov rifle.
Following the shooting the village’s local deputy reputedly attempted to round up a posse to follow the escaped slaves into the nearby forest, but no-one wanted to go with him.
No suspect has been formally identified in the 61-year-old’s murder, but comments on local news site YugraPRO suggested that Teplov had been keeping up to 20 people as slaves having taken their papers, and the killing was part of an uprising against him. Speaking to local media one villager, Nina Evgenevna, said: “He had forced four of them to live on the river at gunpoint and work continually in his fish processing plant.” Teplov was also thought to starve his victims.
Russian anarchist group KRAS reports that there has been a social conflict in the area since at least March 2017, when 40 villagers wrote in a complaint to regional governor Natalia Komarova and various other high-profile legal figures. Nothing was done until this year however, when Teplov was investigated for involvement in the unlawful deprivation of workers’ liberty. Security forces searched the premises at the time, but no-one was arrested.
Residents have spoken out against what they see as a case where local authorities were either intimidated or bought off, allowing Teplov to operate with impunity until his death, allegedly at the hands of his victims.
In an editorial, Yugra Pro noted that: “When law enforcement agencies are inactive, “domestic law” comes into force — the population begins to defend itself with the means available to it.”