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Mothers Urge Russian Ombudsman To Help Conscripts

Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin
Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin
ST. PETERSBURG -- The nongovernmental organization Soldiers' Mothers of Petersburg has called on Russian Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to get involved in the adverse situation faced by young soldiers in the Kamenka military unit, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The NGO says that 19 soldiers from the unit, which is located near St. Petersburg, have asked for help since June, when two conscripts in the Kamenka unit committed suicide and several other recruits deserted.

All of the soldiers have complained about their rights being abused while in the unit.

The organization has also addressed the Russian military's prosecutor-general, defense minister, and the commander of the Leningrad military region to intervene by ordering investigations of the alleged beating and bullying of the young recruits in Kamenka.

Recruits have also complained about "nonregulation" behavior and humiliating treatment by junior officers as well as substandard living conditions.