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Moscow Says Internet, Locals Say Hazing Behind Soldier's Shooting Spree In Siberia

Ramil Shamsutdinov's father says his son went on the killing spree because of hazing.

Two nongovernmental organizations, Officers of Russia and the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, have blamed the Internet for a shooting spree at a military unit in Siberia in which eight men were killed and two were wounded last month.

Representatives of the two NGOs told reporters in Moscow on November 5 that there was no hazing in the military unit in the Zabaikalye region where the tragedy took pace and called for "closure of the Internet."

Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers branch in Zabaikalye, Valentina Mordova, told RFE/RL on November 6 that she "absolutely" did not agree with the statements by the two organizations in Moscow.

"The facts say otherwise. Hazing has been and will be there, unfortunately. And its presence is prompted not by virtual reality but by the society we are living in," Mordova said.

Private Ramil Shamsutdinov shot dead eight military personnel and wounded two more on October 25.

His father, Salimzhan Shamsutdinov, who visited his son on November 5, says the young recruit opened fire because he suffered hazing.

"My son told me that he could not forgive them for what they did to him. They drove him to that point," Salimzhan Shamsutdinov said on November 6.

Meanwhile, the Baza online resource quoted Ramil Shamsutdinov as saying that he had opened fire because an officer who was among the people he killed had threatened to rape him.

Hazing in the Russian Army has been a focus of human rights organizations for years.

In recent years, there have been many photos and videos posted online by members of the Russian military showing the hazing of young recruits in the army.

With reporting by Vechorka, Baza, and Kommersant