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Monday, November 20, 2006

Now, They're Burying Them Alive

La Russophobe is willing to bet that when you heard about the Russian army of taking actions which result in cutting off the genitals and other body parts of conscripted soldiers, you thought they couldn't get any more barbaric, right? In fact, she'll bet you thought that once that choice bit of Russian patriotism was discovered, some reforms would probably follow, right? Oh ye of little faith in Russia's abilities! Now, it is burying soldiers alive. The Moscow Times reports:

Defense officials are investigating whether a drunken officer buried a conscript alive, the latest claim of a brutal hazing to rattle the armed forces. Confirmation of the case on Friday came as Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov presented plans to increase public oversight of the army. The conscript, Yevgeny Ovechkin, 20, was beaten by a drunken commander in March at Air Force Unit No. 31130 in Yekaterinburg, said Pavel Nakoryakov, head of the Ufa branch of the Committee for Social Protection of Military Servicemen and Members of Their Families, a public group. The conscript's parents live in Ufa.

The commander, who held a personal dislike for the conscript, ordered three soldiers to bury him alive, Nakoryakov said. A Yekaterinburg resident witnessed the incident in hiding, dug out Ovechkin and hid him for several weeks, Nakoryakov said. After that, Ovechkin returned to Ufa and told his mother what had happened. "I talked to him in July. ... I believe his story," Nakoryakov said of Ovechkin. He refused to provide contact information for Ovechkin, saying he was charged with desertion and in hiding. He said pressure from his group had prompted the opening of the criminal case into the commander. He refused to name the commander, who holds the rank of major, citing the investigation.

The commander has been charged with abuse of authority for beating soldiers repeatedly, said a prosecutor with the military prosecutor's office for the Volga-Urals military district. But investigators have yet to confirm the burial account, said the prosecutor, who refused to give his name. "We are continuing to investigate the case," he said. A special Air Force commission had been dispatched to Yekaterinburg to investigate the burial claim, Air Force spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky said, Interfax reported. He also said Ovechkin deserted his unit in March.

The armed forces have been rocked by a series of hazing scandals, most significantly last New Year's Eve when a brutal beating forced doctors to amputate a conscript's legs and genitals.
Ivanov has promised to act, and he announced Thursday that he had signed a decree to create a public council, a consultative body of authoritative public figures. He said the council would "identify in a timely manner and widely discuss the real problems of the Army and Navy and offer optimal ways to solve them." Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov will chair the council, Kommersant reported Friday.

No, that's not a misprint. Russia's "reform" effort will be guided by a movie actor.


The Ranger said...

For some reason as crazy as it sounds, I do believe this is the 100% truth. The reform effort will be directed by an actor. Who are these crazy people ? I know, he will put it on film and do the directing. Damn what a life.

La Russophobe said...

LIFE: You probably have that feeling because you know too much about Russia. I feel your pain! What's even more pathetic is that he's identified as a "director" when in fact he's only made one decent film, and book-ended that with "The Barber of Siberia," dollar-for-dollar the worst Russian film ever made.