Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) released a series of photos on Monday, reportedly showing the belongings of a group of “Nazi Assassins” who had been plotting to murder Russian TV host Vladimir Solovyov. It is a very funny series of photos, for a number of reasons.
Shared by the BBC’s Francis Scarr, the photos show exactly the kind of things you’d expect a secret and highly-trained cell of covert Nazi assassins to own, like a photo of Hitler stuck to a PC speaker, Totenkopf patches and a red tshirt with an enormous Nazi swastika on the front. All very low-key, very inconspicuous. Other items seized, according to Scarr, included “one IED, eight Molotov cocktails, six Makarov pistols, a sawed-off shot gun, a grenade, over 1,000 rounds of ammo, drugs, forged Ukrainian passports, and ‘nationalist literature and paraphernalia’”.
There was also, if you look in the middle of the bed, a copy of The Sims 3 along with a couple of expansions. Why highlight Maxis’ classic in a photo otherwise dedicated to showcasing Nazi paraphernalia and instruments of terrorism?
Here’s a common and very likely explanation:
The photos were an attempt by Russian authorities to blame a cell of six suspected terrorists for a plot to kill Vladimir Solovyov, a TV presenter who fancies himself a journalist but whose Wikipedia page labels him a “propogandist”, and who has been barred from entry into the European Union and had his assets frozen for his role in broadcasting Russian propaganda.
It was alleged these six terrorists, when they weren’t playing The Sims 3, had planned to carry out the assassination with a car bomb. Having been saved by the valiant efforts of Russian police and lived to work another day, Solovyov used his TV show later that night to claim that the “Nazis” had been sent by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian, TV star and actor who now…harboured a grudge against Russian television: