Russian Blogger Khovansky Reportedly Detained On Terrorism Charge Over Song On YouTube

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Police have reportedly detained a popular blogger in Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, over his song mocking government’s efforts to solve the deadly 2002 hostage-taking incident at Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater.

Several media outlets reported on June 9 that Yury Khovansky, whose YouTube channel has more than 4.4 million subscribers, was detained overnight on suspicion of “justifying terrorism.”

According to the reports, police also detained another blogger, Andrei Nifyodov, as a witness in the case, which stems from a song of Khovansky’s that was placed on YouTube last year.

In February, Khovansky, 31, publicly expressed regrets over the song, saying he was “ashamed” of it.

Khovansky used very offensive words in the song when describing young victims of the hostage-taking crisis that claimed dozens of lives.

On October 22, 2002, a group of Chechen militants interrupted the performance of the Nord-Ost musical at the Dubrovka Theater and took the audience hostage.

All of the hostage-takers inside the theater were killed when Russian special forces used an undisclosed chemical agent to storm the building on October 26.

The Russian government was criticized for its handling of the crisis as some 130 hostages also died, many due to insufficient medical care they received after breathing the unknown gas and being evacuated from the theater.

With reporting by Mash, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Fontanka, Baza, and TASS