The Russian Army has almost completely rid itself of the decades-old evil of bullying and “barrack hooliganism,” Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kartapolov has announced, adding that this will motivate more young people to serve.
In Kartapolov’s words, the military authorities have “paid special attention to restoring order in the Armed Forces.” The “preventive measures” undertaken in recent years have led to a “noticeable decrease” of hazing in the barracks, he said.
As a result, Russian recruits have been increasingly motivated to serve in the Armed Forces, the ministry added. Last September, Army supremo Sergey Shoigu also declared that there was no more bullying among the troops. He admitted, however, that “common hooliganism” has survived.
And official statistics, at least, are fully in line with these statements. According to Russian Supreme Court data obtained by the newspaper RBK, in the last decade, cases of harassment in the now 1.9-million-strong Armed Forces decreased five-fold.
The non-commercial organization Recruits Assistance Service also agrees, saying that hazing sharply declined after the length of military service was shortened from two years to one, in 2008.
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Still, the number of incidents remains high, assuming that not all cases of bullying are actually reported.
The most recent case that came under the medita spotlight occurred in October 2019. Private Ramil Shamsutdinov shot four conscripts, two contract servicemen, and two officers in the Far Eastern Chita Region. Two more soldiers were wounded in the shooting spree.
The soldier told the garrison court hearing in March 2020 that he had killed eight men after they threatened to rape him. The court found that, apart from Shamsutdinov, five other conscripts were repeatedly bullied in that unit.
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Remarkably, the surviving abuser was only given a suspended term of two years. Also in 2019, a garrison court in Ekaterinburg sentenced to three years a private who had inscribed an offensive word on his fellow soldier’s forehead with a razor. Afterwards the victim committed suicide.
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