Accessibility links

Breaking News

Hazing On The Increase In The Russian Military

A woman holds a placard with victims of hazing during a protest against conscription in Moscow in 2006
MOSCOW -- Russia's Military Prosecutor's Office says instances of hazing in the army during the first five months of 2010 have increased by 50 percent compared to last year, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Additionally, the prosecutor's office said on July 21 that since the beginning of 2009, 1,170 recruits have been registered as having been abused or mistreated by another service member. Four deaths have been reported.

It said 90 percent of the attacks were committed by other recruits.

Much of the hazing is a result of the system of "dedovshchina," or "the rule of grandfathers," a military initiation process that new recruits are subjected to. It entails new enlistees to submit to more experienced soldiers and military officers.

As part of the system recruits are generally harassed, forced to do menial jobs, and often tortured by their superiors.

The Russian military has since 2005 published statistics on the cases of injury and death resulting from "dedovshchina."

But many experts say the real number of those being abused is much higher than the official figures.

The Russian military's own numbers contradict a statement by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who said on July 20 that the "dedovshchina" system has been eradicated from the military.