"Let's protect our sons": a slogan at a rally in St. Petersburg in February (epa)
August 4, 2006 -- Seventeen servicemen have died in hazing incidents in the Russian army this year and more than 100 have suffered injuries of one kind or another, according to the prosecutor-general of Russia, Yury Chaika.
Chaika said "the number of bullying cases and the use of physical force by commanders has grown by 3 percent," and that there have been more than 3,500 cases of hazing reported this year.
He added that the overall crime rate in the armed forces has risen by 13 percent year on year.
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov admitted today that the situation remains difficult and pledged to eradicate hazing by tightening checks and improving morale.
The problem of hazing in the Russian armed services was highlighted earlier this year by the widely publicized case of a conscript who was abused so badly by fellow soldiers that he had to have his legs and genitals amputated.