It was only in 2017, that Russia almost decriminalised domestic violence to a large extent. According to Moscow Times, “minor harm,” such as small lacerations and bruising, will now be considered a misdemeanour punishable by a fine of up to $500 or up to 15 days in jail. Earlier, it could invite up to 2 years in prison. The Russian Orthodox Church had a massive role in the shocking step. The culture of not taking domestic abuse too seriously had pervaded Russia for many years, fuelled by the Orthodox Church. The over-arching mentality has now translated into what is known as ‘trash streaming’ in Russia.
A sub-culture where Russian YouTubers are paid money by their viewers to pull sickening stunts, that often involve murder, assault, torture and even the sexualisation of young girls.
A few days ago, a Russian YouTuber called Stas Reeflay made his pregnant wife stand in the balcony in sub-zero temperatures, wearing nothing but her undergarments. He did so because a viewer paid by $1000 for the stunt.
Eventually, his pregnant wife died in the cold, reportedly, due to suspected hypothermia.
Grigoryeva was 28 years old and was born in the southern city of Krasnodar. According to the Telegram channel Mash, she was pregnant. This has been refuted by Russia’s Investigative Committee, however. According to a medical examination, Grigoryeva suffered a closed craniocerebral trauma, multiple bruises, and a subdural hematoma.
This was not it. After his wife died in the cold, because he was paid to torture her to stand in the balcony wearing nothing but her undergarments, he placed the body of his wife on the sofa and continued to Livestream. Reeflay — whose real name is Stanislav Reshetnikov — continued recording even after he realized that his girlfriend was “half-dead” on a balcony at his home in the village of Ivanovka, near Moscow, East2West reported.
According to reports, he had even streamed live the arrival of the ambulance and had switched his streaming off only after a police officer asked him to.
After trying to revive his wife, the YouTuber told his viewers, “Guys … No pulse … she’s pale. She is not breathing.”
This was not the first time that Reeflay had pulled such a horrid stunt, torturing his wife for money.
According to reports, he had earlier showered his girlfriend with pepper spray, because his viewers paid him money to torture his wife.
Reeflay faces up to two years in prison if forensic experts prove that the woman died of hypothermia, according to the Mirror, citing reports about law enforcement.
“Information will also be checked about possible unlawful actions against the deceased by the young man in whose house the body was found,” the Russian Investigative Committee said, the outlet reported.
Reportedly, Reeflay has no regrets and has been transferred to the psychiatric ward.
How ‘trash streaming’ began – one of the first ‘trash streamers’, Mellstroy
One of the first ‘trash streaming’ YouTubers that Russia saw was one called Mellstroy (Andrey Burim). A native of Belarus, he started his streaming ‘career’ at least three years ago. Burim’s videos are often set in a high-rise apartment in the expensive ‘Moscow City’ business district. He often streams with several online guests, that often include very young girls.
When he started streaming, Mellstroy would look for young girls on video chat applications and then, convince them to strip naked for him. While he did that, he would reportedly also stream live on YouTube and collect donations from his viewers, according to RT.com.
After he had a brush in with the law in 2017 for getting underage girls to strip and then live-streaming the video, he used to also promote the young girls’ Instagram channel over Telegram, telling his followers about the accounts of the girls he had on his YouTube show.
In his streams, Mellstroy has paid girls to strip, given money to two guests to have a fight, and even doused someone with urine – all to collect donations from his audience of thousands, and used to garner millions of views, per RT.com. On October 23, when he was arrested after beating Alena Efremova, a 21-year-old model, live on air. After she joked about his body, he smashed her head against a table, causing bodily harm. Thereafter, he was banned from YouTube as an investigation has been launched. The model who was attacked, received a closed craniocerebral injury, concussion, and bruises.
Thereafter several others from Russia who have joined this heinous trend. In October 2020, live streamers in the city of Bryansk reportedly earned 812,000 rubles for tormenting a homeless man. The homeless man, sadly allowed himself to be humiliated in return for food, reported RT.com. In 2019, blogger Gobsavr (Andrey Yashin) hit his mother with a champagne bottle. During the lockdown imposed due to Coronavirus, the ‘trash streaming’ phenomenon has gained popularity. RT reports that creator of popular YouTube channel Versus Battle (4.55 million subscribers) founded Sosed TV, where several people move into a house together and then do whatever their viewers pay them to do.