Andrew Roth, Washington Post, March 3, 2016
A nanny accused of decapitating a 4-year-old girl in her care and brandishing the severed head at a Moscow metro station has said that she was avenging the deaths of Muslims in Russia’s campaign in Syria.
In a video that appeared on YouTube and quickly circulated through social media Thursday, Gulchekhra Bobokulova, a 38-year-old native of the mostly Muslim nation of Uzbekistan, told an unidentified interviewer she had “taken revenge against those who themselves spilled blood,” specifically citing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin spilled blood. The planes were bombing,” she said in the video, wearing the same blue pinafore and striped tracksuit she had on during a court hearing Wednesday. “Why are Muslims being killed? They also want to live.”
The source of the video was not clear, and its authenticity could not be confirmed, although the location matched the setting of a short interview with Bobokulova published Wednesday by the pro-Kremlin tabloid LifeNews.
Prosecutors believe she had killed the child and set fire to the apartment of the parents before police stopped her at the metro station for a passport check. She then produced the head from a bag she was carrying and, according to some media reports, threatened to detonate an explosive device. Police apparently backed off because of the threat but later said she was not carrying any explosives.
The incident spurred outrage among some nationalist leaders who for years have demanded stricter control of migrant workers in Russia. But it also found traction in the far more mainstream Communist Party, which shortly after the incident published an illustration featuring a woman in full Islamic covering carrying a bloody head. The post demanded a visa regime for the majority-Muslim former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
The mass-circulation Moskovsky Komsomolets daily cited Uzbek police as saying that the woman has been suffering from schizophrenia for more than a decade. In the video interview posted by LifeNews, Bobokulova said she had recently broken up with her partner of 12 years in Uzbekistan after he began living with another woman.
Bobokulova pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday and, smiling, waved to reporters in the courtroom. News reports said she told journalists on the way into the courtroom that “Allah had ordered” her to kill the child.