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The Ugly Business of Conscription

Dmitry Solovyov’s article on the Russian military’s conscription program in the Moscow Times is beyond words, especially the detail about Anton Kuznetsov.  Anyone who can find more info on that story, just let us know … I only see the state media attempting to discredit Kuznetsov as a traitor gone AWOL.

“I hate to say this, but in fact such a conscription with numerous violations calls this reform into question, if not spells the death of it,” said Sergei Krivenko, coordinator of the public movement Citizen and the Army.

Human rights bodies say even young men with criminal records were drafted this year. Official data show 471 Russians died while serving last year, 29 more than in 2007. More than half of all deaths last year were suicides, often caused by the deep-rooted tradition of hazing, when older soldiers bully and humiliate younger ones.

But it is not only ordinary soldiers who commit crimes. Chief Military Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky said last week that crimes among officers hit a 10-year high in the first half of this year.

“We are now investigating the case of soldier Anton Kuznetsov, who was sold by an officer into bondage and spent five years working as a slave at a brick factory in Dagestan,” Polyakova said.