Accessibility links

Breaking News


Russian conscript Ramil Shamsutdinov attends a court hearing in Chita late last year.

CHITA, Russia -- Prosecutors have asked a military court in Siberia to sentence Private Ramil Shamsutdinov to 25 years in prison for killing eight fellow servicemen in a rampage he says was brought on by the hazing he suffered while being initiated into the army.

The Second Eastern Military District Court resumed the hearing into the high-profile case on January 19, where Shamsutdinov's defense team reiterated that Shamsutdinov had gone on a shooting spree in October 2019, killing eight -- including two high-ranking officers -- in the town of Gorny in the Zabaikalye region after being tortured and beaten by other soldiers and officers during his induction into service.

On December 28, a jury found Shamsutdinov guilty of murder and attempted murder, but decided that he deserves leniency, which according to Russian law means that he may be sentenced to a maximum of 13 years and four months in prison.

The court's officials told RFE/RL that Shamsutdinov’s sentence will be announced on January 21.

The case shocked many in Russia and attracted the attention of rights activists after Shamsutdinov claimed that he committed the act while suffering a nervous breakdown caused by what he had endured.

The Defense Ministry accepted at the time that Shamsutdinov "had a conflict" with one of the officers he killed. In March, Private Ruslan Mukhatov was found guilty of bullying Shamsutdinov and was handed a suspended two-year prison term.

Deadly shootings at Russia's military units as the result of widespread hazing have been a focus of human rights organizations for years.

In November, a soldier at a military air base in the country’s western region of Voronezh shot an officer and two soldiers dead.

In recent years, photos and video footage have been posted online by members of the Russian military that show the severe bullying of young recruits as they are inducted into the army.

Medical specialists carry Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny into an ambulance during his medical evacuation to Germany after he was poisoned in August 2020.

A police officer in the Russian city of Samara has been placed under house arrest on suspicion of leaking data that may have helped the Bellingcat investigative group identify the alleged poisoners of Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny, the RBC business daily reports, citing its sources.

Police officer Kirill Chuprov was detained in December and charged with abuse of power, according to an RBC report from January 19.

Chuprov, who may face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, is accused of leaking confidential information from a database containing information about the movement of people across Russia to a third party, according to the RBC source, who is said to be close to the investigation, said.

The leaked data was later used by investigative journalists who studied flights taken by agents of Russian's Federal Security Service (FSB) who allegedly secretly followed Navalny for several years before he was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent in Siberia in August last year.

Bellingcat, a British-based open-source investigative group, and Russian media outlet The Insider published the investigation in December in cooperation with Der Spiegel and CNN.

Citing "voluminous evidence in the form of telecoms and travel data," the investigation, showed the August 2020 poisoning of the Kremlin critic appeared to have been in the works since at least early 2017.

The European Union and Britain have imposed asset freezes and travel bans against six senior Russian officials believed to be responsible for the Navalny poisoning, as well as one entity involved in the program that has produced a group of military-grade nerve agents known as Novichok.

Navalny, who was transported from Siberia to Germany for treatment after the incident, returned to Moscow on January 17. He was immediately arrested and sent to a pretrial detention center.

On February 2, a court is expected to decide whether to convert into jail time a suspended 3 1/2 year sentence, which Navalny served in an embezzlement case that he says was trumped up.

With reporting by RBC and Reuters

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More