Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Rare Glimpse of Just How Horrible ‘Dedovshchina’ in Fact Is

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 26 – A film produced by the Turkmenistan military’s training branch and intended to warn against the non-standard behavior in the ranks known across the former Soviet space as dedovshchina has leaked to the media. What is shows is just how horrific such actions can be.

            The 16-minute film shows victims of such activities in such detail that the Alternative News of Turkmenistan agency says that “for ethical reasons and in accordance with the demands of Youtube, [it] cannot publish the video itself,” but only certain pictures and descriptions from the film (

                The narrator of the film points out that Ashgabat declared 2014 to be the year for establishing order and doing away with dedovshchina in the Turkmen armed forces but that, unfortunately, there “continue to occur violations of military discipline” some of which have led to serious traumas, deaths or suicides.

            The news agency lists the names, dates and outcomes of more than a dozen recent incidents of dedovshchina in the Turkmen military, providing pictures in approximately half of them.  It also details cases in which soldiers have inflicted harm on themselves in order to escape from further service.

            In putting out this report, which has been picked up by other news services in Central Asia, the agency says that this film despite the intentions of its compilers “shows the entire world a side of the life of the Turkmenistan army, an army in which as before dedovshchina and irregular actions flourish … and in which it is dangerous for life and health to serve.

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