Denis Gorin, a resident of Aniva in Russia's Sakhalin Region with a history of multiple murder convictions, including one involving the consumption of his victim's flesh, has received a presidential pardon for taking part in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Gorin's neighbor revealed the information to journalists from Radio Liberty affiliate Sibir.Realii, and added that Gorin is currently hospitalized in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
Gorin had earlier published a photo of himself in military uniform on the social network Odnoklassniki, according to the Telegram channel Sakhalin Against War (“Sakhalin protiv voiny”). The photo shows a St. George ribbon on the man's clothes, along with a patch reading “Zacheburashim” [a violent reference to the popular Soviet cartoon character Cheburashka — translator’s note], which is similar in design to those sent to the front lines by Russian volunteers.
Natalya, a user on Odnoklassniki who liked Gorin's photo, responded to a query about the pardon from the independent publication Agentstvo (“The Agency”) with another question: “Was he given the death penalty?”. Following that, she ceased communication.
Gorin, 44, has been convicted three times. He received his first sentence for murder in 2003. In a press release, the prosecutor's office highlighted that Gorin mutilated and mocked the victim's body after the murder. He was granted parole in 2010 but went on to commit another murder that year, stabbing the brother of a fellow detainee. After the murder, “he decided to remember the past, namely to cut [the victim's] flesh and eat it,” his testimony read. In 2011, Gorin and his brother killed a man and buried the body on a riverbank. Early in 2012, they stabbed another man to death, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office. In 2018, Gorin was sentenced to 22 years in a high-security prison.
According to Agentstvo, Vladimir Putin has pardoned close to 20 other high-profile murderers over the past two years for their participation in the invasion of Ukraine.
On Tuesday, reports confirmed that Putin had pardoned Nikolai Ogolobyak, a member of a Satanist gang from Yaroslavl that killed and dismembered four teenagers in 2008. The group’s members consumed some of the victims' body parts. Ogolobyak's father told reporters that his son served six months in a Storm-Z unit and returned home after being wounded.
Storm-Z is a series of penal military units established by the Russian Ministry of Defense in April 2023. They are modeled after the Wagner Group's prison recruitment, and were created after the MoD fell out with Wagner's former leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin.