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Russian President Dismisses Head Of Infamous Military Unit


Ella Polyakova, chairwoman of the Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg, said none of those fired were involved in abuse scandals.

Ella Polyakova, chairwoman of the Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg, said none of those fired were involved in abuse scandals.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has discharged the commander of a notorious military unit in the town of Kamenka near St. Petersburg and two other military officials, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg and other local human rights organizations have worked to publicize violations of soldiers' rights at the Kamenka military base for more than two years.

Eight senior officers were sacked from their posts at the end of 2009, after at least two soldiers committed suicide and numerous others deserted the base, claiming they were hazed and even tortured while serving at Kamenka.

But four of the officers have since been rehired after court decisions and they continue to serve at the base.

Among the commanders sacked by Medvedev today were the motorized infantry brigade commander, Colonel Dmitry Yashin; the Leningrad Military District's deputy chief of staff, Major General Aleksandr Ionov; and the Leningrad Military District's deputy commander, Major General Aleksandr Mazharov.

Ella Polyakova, chairwoman of the Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg, told RFE/RL today that none of those officers were known to have been personally involved in soldier-abuse scandals.

Polyakova said that, on the contrary, the military officers who were personally involved in the scandals remain at Kamenka. She said it was too early to say if Medvedev's decree would change the situation at the base.
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