Russia’s FSB, the federal safety service, shot and killed three males within the Voronezh area of Russia on November 23. Russian state media subsequently reported on the incident and claimed the FSB had eradicated a terrorist cell, and the FSB launched an official assertion describing the group as (machine translation) “a clandestine cell of supporters of the Ukrainian nationalist ideology.”

Nevertheless it now seems to be like issues weren’t so easy, and that the people shot could have been killed in a case of mistaken identification as a result of they roleplayed as characters from the videogame S.T.A.L.Ok.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl.

The FSB’s assertion provides an account of the alleged incident through which it claimed the people opened fireplace earlier than being killed. “After they tried to detain the ringleader and his two accomplices […] the latter supplied armed resistance to the Russian FSB officers and have been destroyed by retaliatory actions.”

The state claims that its brokers discovered numerous objects on the scene, together with two “improvised explosive gadgets” and firearms. 

The Russian state TV report on the incident, nevertheless, unwittingly opened one other line of enquiry. Within the video under the supposed terrorist compound will be seen: on the wall a British flag is hung, in entrance of which is a flag that includes the pinnacle of a wolf. A pocket book is proven that’s an accounting of the “Svoboda Group”. 

Remember that this video comprises footage some may discover distressing.

The Svoboda political celebration is an ultranationalist political celebration in Ukraine. Nonetheless, additionally it is a faction in S.T.A.L.Ok.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, and the imagery proven within the state video is from the game’s faction, not the real-world political celebration. This was first seen by navy historian and researcher Chris0_Wiki on twitter.

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“It isn’t clear what the three males have been supposedly planning,” writes the navy professional. “However in response to the Moscow Occasions, two of the three have been well-known members within the Voronezh airsoft neighborhood. One used the nickname Stalker Phosgene for live-action roleplay primarily based on the S.T.A.L.Ok.E.R. video games.”

The actual-world political celebration doesn’t use any imagery that might be confused with the fictional faction.

S.T.A.L.Ok.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl has given rise to a live-action roleplaying neighborhood in Russia and Ukraine, and additional reporting by the Moscow Occasions tracked down the social media accounts and associates of the people killed (thanks, Vice). One was Vladimir Kotovsky, who had the character Stalker Phosgene for roleplay, and whose account reveals photos of him and associates cosplaying stalkers and exploring Voronezh. His social media pages additionally embody the identical wolf emblem proven within the compound footage.

The Moscow Occasions spoke with associates of the people killed, who confirmed that the lads have been a part of an area LARPing neighborhood who roleplay Stalkers and performed with air weapons. The under video is from the LARP group the people have been apparently concerned with.

The FSB was additionally within the information earlier this yr after a weird piece of propaganda that linked the Sims 3 to an alleged assassination plot. In that case, the confusion gave the impression to be over the game and cell phone sim playing cards.

It does appear to be the FSB has made a horrible mistake right here, three males are useless due to it, and the truth that the Moscow Occasions, an organisation that will be topic to the intensive stress that the state asserts over the media in Russia, is querying the state model of occasions says every little thing.