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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Yet Another Russian Conscript Tortured and Murdered by his Patriotic Colleagues

As Russians get themselves worked up into ever more furious fits of hystrionics over the failure of Estonians to treat their stormtrooping rapist military as heroes, that same army continues to inflict barbaric torture upon its own conscripts with not a finger being lifted by these same hysterical "patriots" who attack Estonia. Why don't Russians ring Lubianka and demand action, as they've done the Estonian embassy? Is it because they couldn't actually care less about their soldiers, but simply enjoy any opportunity to bash foreigners? The Guardian reports:

Military prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation into the death of a Russian soldier that allegedly resulted from abuse by fellow servicemen, officials said Tuesday.
Investigators were looking into the allegations of abuse against Sgt. Sergei Zavyalov, who died in a hospital over the weekend, said district military prosecutor Igor Lebed. The Russian military has been plagued by rampant abuse of conscripts by fellow servicemen, making the compulsory draft extremely unpopular. Officials initially said Zavyalov had injured himself accidentally, but Soldiers Mothers, a leading rights group, claimed he had been brutally beaten by fellow soldiers on April 27.

Ella Polyakova, the head of St. Petersburg's branch of Soldiers Mothers, said that an officer with the soldier's unit saw Zavyalov's condition but told him just to go to bed. As Zavyalov's condition worsened, officials sent him to a nearby military hospital where doctors were not qualified to treat his grave head injuries, Polyakova told The Associated Press. When Zavyalov was finally sent to the St. Petersburg Military Medical Academy, the city's top military clinic, he fell into a coma and doctors were unable to save his life, she said. She described Zavyalov's case as the latest example of widespread bullying of soldiers by fellow servicemen in the nation's military. "The cases of abuse and murder of soldiers in Russian army are endless now,'' Polyakova told the AP. "Serious measures should be taken now to stop this situation.''

The Defense Ministry reported 554 non-combat deaths last year, about half of the number in 2005. It said that last year's figure included 27 deaths from bullying and abuses by other servicemen and 210 suicides. So far this year, the ministry reported 110 non-combat deaths as of mid-April, including five deaths from abuse by fellow soldiers and 65 suicides. Soldiers' rights groups say that many of the suicides also resulted from bullying and other abuses. All Russian men between the ages of 18 and 27 are required to serve in the 1.2 million-member military, but only about 9 percent typically are drafted. The rest avoid the feared conscription by signing up for college, being excused for health reasons - often falsified - or simply paying bribes. A recently passed law cut the current two-year conscription term to 1 years starting this spring and will further reduce it to one year beginning in 2008, but it will also cancel most existing deferments.


Anonymous said...

This is Hector,

In the Soviet Army, this barbaric abuse never occured. I remember reading an article that mentions how one of these abused conscripts recalled his days as a child living near a Soviet Army base. "They were like a family", he said. Another article stated that there are even Russian officers who refuse to let their children in the army for that reason. The failures of capitalism in Russia are truly staggering.

Kevin said...

I have to say that I usually find the tone of this website strident and exaggerated, but the perverse hypocrisy, bullying and petulance the Kremlin is exhibiting at the moment shows that it may be the only tone that properly decribes the sorry state of affairs in contemporary Russian politics.
Putin's absurd bully boy tactics have worked him into a corner. Once his sinister eminence grise used to prattle on about sovereign democracy, but it is clear (as if it wasn't before) that this was just a fig leaf for the squalid excesses of this midget fascist regime.
But you are wrong to describe this as a neo-Soviet regime. The Soviets did do some good things. Putin and his band of henchmen are interested only in wealth and power to their own ends. There is no ideology in all of this, just the lower order KGB mindset that wants to sumbit everything to central command.
And particularly stupid the Russians are being too. Do they think the EU is Belarus that will roll over with the necessary application of pressure. As for the Estonians, they have endured real nationalist repression at the hands of the Soviet regime. Do Putin and his thuggish Nashi pom pom girls really think some playground intimidation will achieve what decades of totalitarianism failed to?