Skip to comments.Russian Army Abuse Blamed on Society
Posted on 02/15/2006 7:16:24 AM PST by lizol
Russian Army Abuse Blamed on Society Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006 - 8:56 AM
By STEVE GUTTERMAN Associated Press Writer
MOSCOW (AP) - The abuse that haunts Russia's military is rooted in a society plagued by crime and declining moral values, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday, seeking to shift blame from the armed forces following a horrific hazing incident that left an 18-year-old private crippled for life.
Ivanov speaking in the lower parliament house, where he answered questions focused on military abuse, a persistent problem cast into the spotlight by the ordeal of Andrei Sychev. The conscript had his legs and genitals amputated as a result of abuse at the hands of older soldiers at a tank academy in the Ural Mountains city of Chelyabinsk over New Year's.
"Yes, there was an outrageous occurrence that prompted the well-founded indignation of all clear-thinking people. Yes, unfortunately crimes and incidents occur in the military, and we are not evading responsibility," Ivanov said. "But it's impossible not to note that they occur at least in part because the armed forces are part of Russian society as a whole."
Using the common Russian term for abuse of soldiers by their elders, Ivanov said that "in our country 'dedovshchina' begins in kindergarten."
He said TV programs and media had contributed to a "decline of traditional values" among Russians, and suggested that prosecutors should look into what he said were publications by some media outlets aimed at undermining the spring conscription campaign.
The abuse of Sychev has led to calls from government opponents for the ouster of Ivanov, who is also a vice-premier and is seen as a potential contender to succeed President Vladimir Putin in 2008. He was criticized for initial comments in which he appeared to play down the incident.
Ivanov sought Wednesday to direct public anger over the Sychev incident away from top military brass.
"The Chelyabinsk case shouldn't be a reason for the groundless accusations against the entire army and against generals and admirals in particular. The concrete people involved must bear responsibility," he said.
Ivanov, who has played down the problem of military bullying in the past, said that abuse-related crimes in the armed forces had decreased by 25 percent in 2005. He did not give figures.
He said he hoped that reducing the term of mandatory military service for Russian men from two years to one, a change slated to be introduced in 2008, would help curb abuse.
He warned that establishing a military police force, a plan set in motion following the Chelyabinsk abuse case, would not be a "magic pill against all crimes and incidents."
"- The abuse that haunts Russia's military is rooted in a society plagued by crime and declining moral values, "
The sad result of subjecting a good people to hundreds of years of genocide and despotism - at a scale that is unprecedented in history.
From what I read about the Cold War Russian army, it wasn't all that better back then.
Great are the cognitive merits of the "cover your derriere" reflex - sometimes it even could lead to the conclusions that are self-evidently true.
"Using the common Russian term for abuse of soldiers by their elders, Ivanov said that "in our country 'dedovshchina' begins in kindergarten." "
They have a specific word for it?
They need to re-embrace Christianity BIG TIME.
Older enlisted men would be normally called [slang] "dedy" - "grandfathers". Well, not all, but many of them are less than grandfatherly, although grandfathers (real ones) could on occasion be abusive, too. From this "dedy" comes "dedovshchina" = "grandfatherism". Hopefully this short etymological digression would satisfy your curiosity. What they need is WAY more fundamental, and is called transculturation.
I disagree with him.
Militaries are a societies unto themselves, the Russian Society has it's flaws, and they are independant of the Russian Military's flaws (even though the military may inherit some flaws from society).
Abuse = Putin's fault for indifference with empty promises.
How many more empty promises will he make to the people? His empty promises of security have cost Russians' lives for attacks by Chechen fighters, and probably there will be more abuses for more empty promises. Putin's empty promises, empty promises, empty promises...
Maybe that excuse will work for the Abu Graib problems...? I doubt it though. Americans are always wrong. (sarc)
Yes, a LOT of resistance and from the senior officers' corps. Take away the conscripts and you take away their chance to sell "conscript labor" to construction sites and to people needing work done on dachas, or other slave labor type activities.
Ivanov is partially right. There is a problem with Russian society and right now because of the corruption on the draft commission boards "normal" and priviledged kids are buying their way out of the Army. That leaves poor village kids with no money and no contacts, and the mentally sick, disabled, physically sick and criminal element.
What Ivanov is absolutely WRONG WRONG WRONG on is this - the Russian army, just like any other army, is NOT a democracy. It is a controlled society with strict rules and regulations. If proper leadership and management was shown in tandem with actual punishment of everyone involved AND the firing of the top generals he would make some headway. Until he actually punishes the "leaders" nothing will happen and there will be horrible dedovshina incidents ocurring all the time.
If Putin is serious about this problem (and he should be as Russia's future is at stake), he'd fire Ivanov, fire the General Staff and put into place proper leadership. He'd also get serious about making the Russian army a non-conscript service. They've only flirted with it and their "professional" (kontraktniki) soldiers are lacking and mostly undisciplined as well.
Like low taxation? Like Christianity in schools? Like economic growth? Like private property rights? Like controls on abortions? Like trial by jury?
Oh, that's right, all those are realities now.
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