3,000 Russian recruits die of army hazing every year

Military officials are not willing to talk to parents, who lost their sons in the army 

According to the information from Mother's Right public foundation, about 3,000 servicemen die in the Russian army every year. “The statistics of the Defense Ministry is not trustworthy. Military officials say that 1,100 young men died during their army service in 2004. This information is not true. We are certain that the real figure is three times as much – about three thousand soldiers die in the army on a yearly basis,” the chairwoman of the foundation, Veronica Marchenko was quoted by Interfax as saying.

According to Marchenko, about 28 percent of deaths in the army occur in the Moscow region. The Northern Caucasus ranks second with 14 percent. “About 35 percent of parents that come to our organization say that their sons commit suicide in the army,” the chairwoman of the organization said.

About 16 percent of Russian recruits commit suicide or die as a result of brutal army hazing. Young men's parents do not believe official versions that explain their children's deaths, because “military officials are not willing to answer their questions,” Marchenko stated.

”We have recently had an absolutely outstanding incident, when parents received a call from a military unit. They were told that their son jumped out of a window after he decorated a Christmas tree. Other parents were told that their son committed suicide because he was reading Chekhov,” Veronica Marchenko said.

”We have managed to legally prove numerous incidents when young men committed suicide because they had been either driven to suicide or simply murdered,” lawyer Ludmila Golikova said. It often happens that military authorities do not inform parents of their child's death for months. Furthermore, if parents suffer a severe shock and become disabled people as a result of the loss, they do not receive any financial help from the state (the rule applies to parents under 50 years of age).

The Office of the Military Prosecutor rejects the fund's information about three thousand military men who died in the Russian army in 2004. “This number is absolutely not true to fact. Three thousand deaths are out of the question,” an official spokesman for the Office told Interfax on Monday.

”As far as army hazing is concerned, 44 people died last year in all troops and army units of the Russian Armed Forces. All the guilty people have been called into criminal account and convicted on every of those cases. It touched upon the facts of driving servicemen to suicide too,” an official spokesperson for the Office of the Military Prosecutor said.

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Author`s name Olga Savka