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Convicted Leader of Murderous Russian Ultranationalist Group Gets Life in Prison

Ilya Goryachev

The leader of a Russian nationalist gang that committed a slew of high-profile murders which shocked the country was sentenced to life in prison by a Moscow court on Friday, the Interfax news agency reported.

Ilya Goryachev, 33, the leader of the BORN nationalist organization, was found guilty of five murders, organizing an armed extremist group and illegal possession of weapons earlier this month.

Goryachev, who had denied the accusations, lost consciousness as his sentence was being read out Friday, Russian media reported.

The members of BORN, a Russian acronym for Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists, murdered at least 10 people, including human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were shot in broad daylight in central Moscow as they left a courtroom.

The group also killed Eduard Chuvashov, a federal judge who had issued guilty verdicts in a number of high-profile hate crime cases. Other victims whose murders were arranged by Goryachev included antifascist movement leader Ilya Dzhaparidze and a Tajik migrant worker.

Prosecutors said the organization was set up in 2008 by Goryachev and Nikita Tikhonov, who is already serving a life sentence in prison for the murders of Markelov and Baburova.

Goryachev was extradited back to Russia in 2013 from Serbia, where he had been in hiding after being put on an international wanted list.

Media photos from the courtroom showed Goryachev wearing a T-shirt reading “Krym Nash,” the catchphrase widely used on Russia social media last year to celebrate Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

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