Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dedovshchina Declining in Russian Military but Crimes by Officers Aren’t, Investigator Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 18 – The mistreatment of one group of soldiers defined by time in service, ethnicity, religion or region by other soldiers who differ from the first in terms of these has long been a serious problem in the Russian armed services, but today, it is far less significant than it used to be, Boris Glebov says. However, violations of the law by officers remains a serious one.

            Col. Glebov, who works of the Investigation Committee of Russia and oversees the situation in the Kyakhta garrison in the Transbaikal, made that comment to Baikal-Daily on the occasion of the first anniversary this week of  the creation of regional military investigation units (baikal-daily.ru/news/16/390641/).

            Dedovshchina, Glebov says, still exists but now, “as a rule, such crimes occur among soldiers only in the absence of clear command and control from above.”  The short draft cycle – now only one year – means there are no longer the groups based on length of service that were the basis of dedovshchina in earlier times. 

            According to the military investigator, he and his colleagues now focus less on such crimes among soldiers than on crimes by officers involving exceeding their authority, theft and corruption. Investigating these acts is not always easy because of the reluctance of other officers to testify. Fortunately, he says, he has not had to conduct murder or rape investigations this year.

            His office did conduct criminal investigations involving ten officers, whose crimes he took very seriously indeed because violations of the law by military personnel are “the most dangerous destabilizing factor” not only for the military but “for the state as a whole because the situation in the military is a measure society uses to evaluate the state of social security.”

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