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Russia Probes Bonuses For Punished Army Officers

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov visited the region to familiarize himself with the case.
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Russian military is investigating a report that several army officers censured last year for beating recruits were given large financial bonuses, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Commander Alibek Aslanbekov, head of a mechanized infantry brigade in Leningrad Oblast, awarded the censured officers some 7 million rubles ($320,000) in bonuses last year, according to a military investigation.

All of the officers had been reprimanded for their part in the 2009 hazing scandal at the notorious Kamenka military base.

Several officers in the military unit who did not receive a bonus also complained to officials.

Ella Polyakova, the chairwoman of the nongovernmental organization Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg, told RFE/RL that Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov visited the military unit at Kamenka this week to familiarize himself with the case.

Polyakova said she is "very satisfied" that the case is being investigated by the Military Prosecutor's Office.

Investigators said the case is the first of its kind in the Leningrad Military District. Three sergeants involved in the hazing at Kamenka have been sentenced so far in 2010.

Kamenka became notorious last year after numerous reports of the bullying and beating of recruits, some of whom deserted their units and at least one of whom committed suicide.