Hazing in Russian army increases by 30% this year
Defiant or weak-willed soldiers are beaten and in some
cases tortured, raped and killed
September 4, 2003
MOSCOW — Sixteen soldiers have been killed by hazing in Russia's armed forces this year, with reports of such incidents increasing sharply, and five have died in other cases of assault and battery,
Russia's chief military prosecutor said Wednesday.
Prosecutor Alexander Savenkov said about 2,000 hazing incidents were reported in the military in the first half of this year, an increase of 30 percent on last year.
Savenkov said 1,200 soldiers have died in non-combat situations, 16 of them from hazing and five from assault and battery, Savenkov said. "Assault and battery has increased. Officers continue to
cause grievous bodily harm to their subordinates," he said.
He did not explain the criteria that separate the hazing cases from cases of assault and battery.
Hazing often starts with routine demands for young conscripts to clean toilets, wash older soldiers' socks or beg on the streets for cigarette money. The defiant or weak-willed are beaten and in some
cases tortured, raped and killed.
"This is a phenomenon that we must undoubtedly fight," Savenkov
said. He cited one "exotic example" in which the commander of a
unit detained a lieutenant "in the cellar of a castle" for three
weeks for repeated failure to report for duty.
Savenkov added that more than 300 criminal cases have been
opened against suspected perpetrators, including officers who tried
to hide incidents of hazing in their units.
Every Russian male aged 18-27 is supposed to serve two years in
the military, but many avoid conscription through college
deferments, health exemptions and bribes. Anti-draft campaigners
say hazing in Russia's military is more widespread and brutal than
anywhere else in the world.
Hazing, abuse and poor living conditions are often cited as the
causes of widespread desertion. –Sapa-AP
The gay hero of 911 Mark Bingham
Lesbian Notions: Misplaced hero worship and 911