Update: Vladislav Pozdnyakov said Saturday, after the publication of this article, that his detention was a fabrication.
The leader of a Russian ultra-nationalist hate group has been arrested, one of the group’s administrators wrote on its Telegram channel.
Vladislav Pozdnyakov, founder of the “Male State” — an anti-women, anti-liberal social media group — launched a campaign of threats and abuse against a sushi company last week for running an advert featuring a black model.
Under pressure from Pozdnyakov’s online army, who threatened the business and published contact information of the white female models who appeared in the advert, the sushi chain issued a public apology and took the ad down.
Pozdnyakov, who reportedly emigrated to Europe in 2019, was arrested while attempting to cross the Azerbaijani border, according to a post on his Telegram channel.
“Hello, everyone. This is one of Vlad’s administrators. He was detained today while crossing the Azerbaijan border, I can’t give you any more information,” the message posted Thursday evening reads.
The message also urged Pozdnyakov’s supporters to stop donating money as his bank account has been blocked.
Authorities in Azerbaijan denied that anyone by Pozdnyakov’s name had been detained, the Govorit Moskva radio station reported Friday.
Pozdnyakov, who founded the “Male State” hate group that boasted 150,000 members on social media at its peak, was convicted of inciting hatred toward women and handed a suspended sentence in 2018. His sentence was overturned the following year.
In July, Pozdnyakov led a hate campaign against the Russian wife of a Nigerian student who had drowned while rescuing a swimmer in western Russia’s Kaliningrad region.