A Russian man who allegedly abused and taunted other residents of Cancún and uploaded videos of his actions to social media is in an induced coma in hospital after an angry mob almost stoned him to death Friday in retaliation for his behavior.
A 20-year-old man was killed in the incident.
Aleksei Makeev, 42, known to locals as “El Ruso” or “The Russian” is being treated for brain injuries that may leave him partially paralyzed after he was repeatedly struck with rocks in the attempted lynching.
Staff at the Cancún General Hospital say that he sustained a skull fracture, broken arm and blows to his entire body and is suffering from cerebral bleeding.
The former dive instructor had become notorious for hate-filled and racist videos he filmed of himself insulting Cancún residents in English, Russian and broken Spanish.
In his videos he refers to his victims, including women, children and disabled people, as “shit”, “bastards” and “monkeys,” among other disparaging terms.
In one video, he is seen stepping on food that a group of teenagers were sharing at a beach.
In another he drops a coin on the floor at a supermarket and tells an elderly lady who was working as a grocery packer that it was her tip.
In some of the footage, a Nazi swastika is visible on his face, leading him to be dubbed online as #LordNaziRuso, or Lord Russian Nazi.
On Friday night, a mob initially made up of Makeev’s neighbors in a working class area of Cancún descended on the street where he lived, intent on retaliation against the aggressive Russian.
However, as word of revenge spread – including on social media – the size of the mob swelled as people arrived from other parts of the city.
According to Kena Huerta, one of Makeev’s neighbors, sxi police patrols also arrived at the scene but took no action and left, further inflaming the situation.
“The lack of action by authorities ignited people. If they had taken the guy away, nothing would have happened.”
Huerta said that hours earlier Makeev had abused and hit a woman and child in a neighborhood store. He also had a record of indecently exposing himself.
As the mob gathered, Makeev continued to hurl abuse from the rooftop terrace of his building to which the mob responded by throwing rocks at him and shouting threats.
Some of the indignant throng gained access to his building with the intention of removing him.
The first to enter was 20-year-old Carlos Eduardo Gutiérrez, reported to be a recovering drug addict who had been targeted by the Russian.
However, Makeev met the man at the door and allegedly stabbed him, inflicting wounds from which he later died.
While Gutiérrez was bleeding in the street, Makeev jumped to the rooftop of an adjacent building where rocks continued to rain down on him.
Some onlookers live-streamed video of the attack, attracting more people to the scene.
According to witnesses, some 40 minutes elapsed before police returned and rescued a shirtless and bloody Makeev, transporting him to hospital, where he remains under protective custody.
“The guy was a piece of shit. It doesn’t make me happy . . . [but] he deserved it,” Huerta said.
The newspaper El Universal reports that the National Immigration Institute (INM) started deportation proceedings against the Russian national in December after receiving several complaints about his aggressive behavior.
However, the Russian consulate in Mexico refused to recognize Makeev and did not issue the safe conduct pass required to complete the deportation process.
Still, the INM ordered Makeev, who had previously gained permanent residency, to leave Mexico by January 19 but he did not comply with the directive.
Mexican authorities will continue to seek cooperation from Russian authorities to deport Makeev, but it is probable that he will first need to answer to the charge of murder.
The state Attorney General’s office has opened an investigation into the incident.
Makeev has been living in Cancun since at least 2015 and was previously employed by dive operator and tour company Aquaworld but was dismissed for aggressive behavior.
It has also been reported that Makeev was known to authorities in his home country and had been placed under psychiatric care there.