A Russian soap opera actor may have been the victim of an organ trafficking gang, the Daily Mail reports. According to unnamed police sources, a "young, blonde woman" lured 30-year-old Dmitry Nikolaev to a Moscow sauna after a theatre performance. They allegedly kissed and drank beer, then he woke up at a bus stop with his testicles surgically removed.
"It was done like proper surgery by someone with a medical education," say the Daily Mail's police sources. They add that police "believe his beer was spiked by an unknown drug" and believe this may have been the work of an organized gang selling organs on the black market.
Nikolaev is reportedly married, and had to break to his wife that he'd followed another woman to the sauna and returned sans balls.
"The wife of the injured man is still convinced that her husband was in the hospital because of surgery on the genitals caused by a serious illness," reported Russia's LifeNews, the site that broke the story.
"Whoa if true," as they say, but it might not be.
LifeNews is a tabloid media outlet launched in 2013 by the Gabrelyanovs, father-son Russian tycoons with strong connections to Putin and the Kremlin and a tendency to compare themselves to Rupert Murdoch, and its report was suspiciously light on verifiable details (although heavy on juicy ones.)
As Emergent.info points out, that first story didn't name either the victim or any of the quoted police spokespeople. It included photos of a man on a bed, but his face was blurred out. The images tell us virtually nothing.
On the other side of the scale is popular Russian TV channel REN, which not only reports some more specifics—the incident went down near "Red Gate" station on the morning of Feb. 19, Nikolaev says the woman told him her name was Lena—but also claims verification from the press office of Moscow's Metropolitan Police. (We've also contacted the press office, but haven't yet heard back.)
Based on the available reports, we can't say for sure that this wild, fucked up shit actually happened, but we can't definitively say it didn't, either. Approach this story, and strange women in Moscow saunas, with a healthy dose of skepticism.