Church-Torching Cage Fighter Jailed in Russia

MOSCOW, December 7 (RIA Novosti) – Vyacheslav “Red Tarzan” Datsik, a mixed martial artist and notorious nationalism champion who served time in a mental asylum, was convicted in St. Petersburg on Friday of robbing a cell phone shop.

The martial artist, who was given five years in prison, pleaded not guilty and promised to appeal.

Datsik also stood accused of torching an Orthodox Christian church in St. Petersburg in 2010, but the court cleared him on a technicality, even though he admitted to the arson, which he said was motivated by his hatred of Christianity.

An affiliate of Datsik’s, Pavel Stepanov, was tried on the same charges and also given five years for the robbery, but cleared of arson.

Datsik, 32, earned a reputation in Russia for his over-the-top exploits and radical statements bordering on parody, which saw him proclaim himself the son of Svarog, a Slavic pagan god, and blast Christ as an “agent of Mossad.”

“Red Tarzan” was active in mixed martial arts in 1999-2006, walking away with a less-than-impressive record of 6 wins and 11 losses.

His career was cut short by allegations of cell phone store robbery in 2007. The court ruled him insane and placed him in a mental hospital – which he fled in 2010, tearing a gap in the wire fence with his teeth, according to some reports.

Datsik robbed another cell phone store after his escape, and tried to torch a church in St. Petersburg, inflicting about 200,000 rubles ($6,500) worth of damage, investigators said.

Shortly after, he appeared in Norway, claiming he rowed a boat all the way from Russia. Photos allegedly made after his arrival to Norway show him posing with a handgun and an ax in front of a black banner marked with SS runes.

Datsik turned himself in to police and requested political asylum in Norway, but was instead sentenced to eight months in prison for illegal firearms possession and then extradited to Russia over robbery charges.

A new psychiatric examination in Russia ruled “Red Tarzan” sane and fit for criminal persecution. But he could not be tried for the church arson because that charge was not listed in the extradition request, the court said.


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