Federal Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin said on Tuesday that the students who carried out attacks in January at high schools in Perm, Chelyabinsk, and Ulan-Ude had frequented “sadistic” websites “that propagate school violence,” including a website dedicated to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in the United States that killed 15 people, including the two shooters: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Speaking at an agency board meeting, Bastrykin also discussed the existence of “suicide websites” dedicated to Russian teenagers who have killed themselves. According to the chief investigator, 40 juveniles in the Moscow region alone committed suicide after finding these websites last year. Bastrykin also said that some parents were aware that attacks were planned in January, but they didn’t believe the students would actually go through with it.
Bastrykin isn’t the first person to link Russia’s recent school attacks to the Columbine massacre. According to their classmates, the attackers in Perm were obsessed with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. In Ulan-Ude, the attacker wore a T-shirt labeled with one of the Columbine shooters’ favorite bands.
In 2016, Russian journalists started writing about groups on social media that encourage troubled teens to kill themselves. The authorities eventually arrested and imprisoned several administrators of these communities.