Sun, 27 Sep 2020

A court in the Russian city of Volsk in the Saratov region has sentenced a teenager to seven years in prison for attacking students and teachers at his school with homemade firebombs and an ax.

The court ruling on August 4 is the latest in a series of cases over school attacks by teenagers in Russia.

The teenager's name was not released on grounds that he is a juvenile. He will begin his seven-year-sentence at a facility for juvenile offenders.

He was 14 years old in May 2019 when he entered his school in Volsk with two Molotov cocktails and an ax.

The court found that he had lit and thrown one gasoline-filled bottle into a classroom with 18 students and a teacher.

He also threw another firebomb into a school corridor, the court determined.

Then, while fleeing the building, he encountered a 12-year-old girl in the corridor and attacked her with the ax. The girl survived the attack but lost one of her eyes.

Before his attack, the teenager had written a message in on social media declaring that he admired the two teenagers who'd carried out the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in the U.S. state of Colorado.

At his trial, he pleaded guilty and asked the court to hand him a suspended sentence, saying that he 'became absolutely another person' while in pretrial detention.

The ruling came less than two months after Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said its security officers in the southwestern city of Volgograd had detained a teenager suspected of plotting a school attack.

In April, a court in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk arrested a 14-year-old boy suspected of plotting a school attack.

In February, FSB officers detained two teenagers in Saratov on suspicion of plotting a gun-and-bomb attack in a local school.

Also in February, the FSB said that its officers had prevented a school attack in the city of Kerch -- which is on Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula.

A court in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk also sentenced a teenager to eight years in prison in February on charges of planning a school shooting.

Historically, attacks at schools in Russia and other former Soviet republics are uncommon. However, they have been on the rise in recent years.

The latest occurred at a college in the Far Eastern city of Blagoveshchensk in November 2019. One student was killed before the shooter committed suicide.

In April 2019, a court in the Urals city of Perm sentenced a 17-year-old to seven years in prison after finding him guilty of a knife attack in January 2018 at his school that left 12 people hospitalized.

A year earlier, a teenager in the Bashkortostan region entered his school and stabbed a female student and a teacher before setting a classroom on fire.

Another girl sustained serious injuries in that attack when she fled by jumping from a second-story window.

In January 2018, a ninth-grader attacked fellow students with an ax and other weapons in the Siberian region of Buryatia.

In October 2018, an 18-year-old student killed 20 people in a gun-and-bomb attack at a college in Kerch before fatally shooting himself.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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