A shocking video has emerged from Azerbaijan, purportedly showing the extent of hazing, or "dedovshina," in the Azerbaijani Army. The video shows two officers beating newly conscripted soldiers and isn't pleasant viewing.
The Defense Ministry claims the scene, which is filmed on a mobile phone, is staged and has no relation to reality. Ministry spokesman Eldar Sabiroglu went further and said it is a provocation against the Azerbaijani Army.
But according to our Azerbaijani Service, anecdotal evidence from soldiers and rights organizations that points to high levels of hazing in Azerbaijan would suggest the footage is real. Another indicator of its authenticity is the ubiquitous pictures of the presidential dynasty, Heydar and Ilham Aliyev, in the background.
-- Luke Allnutt