North Ossetian scandal: Tourist "accidentally" desecrates gravesite.
A scandal has erupted in North Ossetia over a tourist who defiled an ancient burial place.
A tourist who visited a historic necropolis in North Ossetia, a Russian republic, caused a public outrage. The video, in which she posed with human remains, led to furor and even threats of violence against the tourist. She faces punishment for desecrating the gravesite.
Based on material from the Caucasian Knot
The traveler is suspected of violating ancient remains during the video, which shows her handling a large bone in the Dargav necropolis, explained her act as merely ignorance due to the false belief that it was a dummy. The girl complained about threats via social networks. Commenters on the video have suggested closing the complex and, punishing both the tourist and her professional guide.
In this video, published via both messenger services and social networks, there are shots of human bones lying in a dark room, including a skull, shortly followed by images of girl with a large bone in her hands crawling out of the darkness.
“City of dead”
The architectural and ethnographic complex known as”City of the Dead” is located near the village of Dargavs in the Prigorodny region of North Ossetia. According to the Ministry of Culture of North Ossetia, the Necropolis includes 97 crypts dating from the XIV-XVIII centuries AD, and is under the protection of UNESCO.
This is the largest necropolis in the North Caucasus. On July 22, 2019, it was closed to visitors after reports of tourists touching the exhibits and removing remains from the crypts. The release of selfies and videos with skulls taken within the necropolis outraged social media users. An 18-year-old resident of Pyatigorsk was later named as a suspect. A week later, the necropolis was reopened with the addition of round-the-clock security.
Threats and possible punishment
According to the tourist, she continues to receive threats via private messages on social networking sites.
“All of this because they cannot even hang up a sign so that people are notified where they have come. Because I didn’t even understand where I was, that these were the bones of people, ”she said.
According to the girl, an investigation has begun and law enforcement officers have already contacted her. The tourist hopes for a fine of around 40,000 rubles, as opposed to a more severe sentence.
The tourist who filmed the video at the burial site is also being investigated under an article of the Russian Criminal Code on the desecration of graves, which provides for a fine of up to five years in prison.
In the video, published on Instagram on August 1, many commenters expressed opinions that the guide accompanying her should be punished together with the tourist. Some netizens declared the need to close the complex. The video had more than 12.6 thousand views.
This is not the first such scandal in North Ossetia. In 2019, stories surfaced about tourists celebrating birthdays and having fun in the sacred Rekom sanctuary for Ossetians. There, according to Ossetian traditions, one should climb exclusively barefoot, observing the division of the sanctuary into male and female sections.
At the end of June, a video appeared online with a sultry dance against the backdrop of mountains and a traditional ancestral stone tower, which sparked a controversy around restrictions for tourists in North Ossetia.
“Tourists need to be presented with brochures discussing local customs and prohibitions, and should one violate local sensibilities, a public apology must be sought,” commented one Instagram user.
“Memorandums of customs and prohibitions in North Ossetia can prevent incidents of indignation among residents,” regional analysts agreed.
According to the chairman of the republican tourism committee Zaurbek Kodzaev, there is enough information at 36 of the most popular tourist sites to get acquainted with the rules of conduct.