Over 1 million Russian kids romanticize prison
Experts say there is an unprecedented increase in popularity of the AUE (Prisoners’ Practice is Unified) among the youth.
The ideas of the Prisoners’ Practice is Unified movement (AUE) have found six million supporters on social media, one million of whom are children and adolescents, Life says with reference to a 2018 private study by Kribrum.
The criminal subculture of AUE is the 90s’ heritage, copying the rules and concepts of the criminal and mafia world. Like adults, young AUE adherents have their own bosses who get them out of trouble, check youngsters’ actions against the criminal concepts, issue verdicts, execute or pardon.
The groups have their own common fund, which is replenished by voluntary, or more often compulsory contributions. Sometimes, funds from it also go to adult colonies. In some regions of Russia, AUE groups are formed as early as in primary school. According to experts, every other child may be at risk, being subjected to the deliberate destruction of the basic values of adolescents, pushing them to crime commission.
Like adult gangs, groups of young AUE adherents try to take control both of educational institutions and entire neighborhoods, demanding tribute from students and peers. Those who disagree face violence. Teachers say on social media that children who have been persecuted by AUE are forced to leave schools and even move to other neighborhoods in some cases. Parents’ fighting with members of the criminal gangs rarely leads to anything. Most students simply obey the rules of the AUE to avoid violence. Teachers who are unable to cope with the criminalized adolescents suffer from their actions.
According to correctional teacher Veronika Borisova, teachers become hostages of the circumstances, as they have to follow certain rules when communicating with students, while the children do not have those borders and they feel free to take advantage of that. The Internet has a lot of videos with objects thrown at a teacher during a lesson, insults or even beating that they have to suffer through. The school does not always take necessary measures, which strengthens the criminals’ position.
Timati’s fashionable jacket covered with AUE symbols
On July 26, two second-graders (!) armed with an air gun attacked the seller in a toy store in the Zheleznodorozhny district of Yekaterinburg. The saleswoman was able to resist them.
In Nizhny Novgorod, juvenile bandits beat passers-by and shot at them with pneumatic and traumatic pistols. Meanwhile, the police did not accept people’ complaints at first, since the age of the attackers ranged from 10 to 15 years. The gang leader just recently returned from a correctional institution, so he may be considered a recidivist.
Social media users say that teenagers under 13 years of age who are not subject to criminal liability are increasingly being involved in crimes. Only those who have reached the age of 14 face a correctional colony for minors for a term of six months to one and a half years.
The criminal movement spread so much due to the popularization of thieves’ life on the Internet. The AUE subculture is especially active in Transbaikalia, when many bosses tried to reassemble young gangs upon their release from prisons. Previously, young members without any experience - sports or professional, and especially military one, were only accepted into the criminal ranks in the 90s. However, now adolescents form criminal communities freely, getting most of the information about the thieves’ life from the Internet.
The next stage is educational colony, where one can get for real crimes. That is where teens gain new knowledge and become mature criminals.
As Kribrum’s Igor Ashmanov said, only a small part of the public pages about the youth criminal subculture is commercial; the rest are real.
While Moscow and St. Petersburg the pages’ owners fill the young heads with thieves' life details in order to sell clothes with the subculture symbols, in Chelyabinsk, for example, they are real groups, most of which are outside the Web. They are ready for crime, such as robbery, fighting on the streets,” Ashmanov said adding that the growth dynamics is about 30% per year. There are few active users on such pages, usually about 20%. Besides, in destructive groups of this kind, only the first two layers are public, and there are others, closed ones. According to the analyst, most of those groups are created by professional manipulators. That is, it’s not some teenagers who gathered to talk about criminal life, it’s not amateur activity,” Ashmanov said.
Their success lies in the fast involvement of children in online communities and various public pages. According to psychotherapist Anna Basova, today’s kids have lost all informal communication skills. Earlier, they used to socialize through outside games, while now you would barely meet an unaccompanied child on the street. In any line, such as one to a doctor, a five-year-old is given a phone with a cartoon or a game to stop them from acting up. With such parenting, it comes as no surprise that teenagers often seek support on social media rather than from their families or friends.