In this instance, the military legal system’s effort to prevent the scourge of dedovshchina, or hazing and other violence against servicemen . . . .
Today’s Krasnaya zvezda covered military prosecutors’ special campaign to warn servicemen against breaking the ‘regulation rules of relations’ between them this month. The paper talked to the acting military prosecutor of the SibVO’s Yurga garrison to find out what measures he’s trying.
Recall our last mention of Yurga covered its role as test bed for Defense Minister Serdyukov’s attempt to ‘humanize’ military service, so this is obviously a good spot to work to uproot dedovshchina culture.
The Yurga prosecutor said he’s used anonymous questionaires to gather a ‘sufficiently complete picture of the existing situation.’ Taking this and information from sub-unit commanders, the prosecutor proceeds to ‘individual prophylactic conversations.’ He calls such ‘prosecutorial warnings’ a very effective instrument; 18-year-old soldiers have to sign a paper acknowledging they’ve been warned about possible criminal liability for violating regulations and this may have a psychological and deterrent effect on them.
The prosecutor also conducts round tables and extra dissemination of special SibVO ‘pamphlets’ in sub-units. More on these later. The pamphlets include a hotline number for reporting violations of law and order (presuming that conscripts have a phone, and aren’t afraid of who’s listening to their call). He puts up displays informing soldiers of judicial punishments meted out for various violations. All and all, the prosecutor expects more inquiries coming into his office this month as a result of the campaign.
Moskovskiy komsomolets has a number of these ‘pamphlets’ and concludes they’re generally given to conscripts all over Russia. They urge the victims of barracks violence not to break the law themselves, show courage, and, if absolutely necessary, hide on the grounds of the unit rather than go AWOL. But, the paper notes, the ‘pamphlets’ don’t say how long to hide out, or how to eat while hiding.
The ‘pamphlets’ urge conscripts to tell their tormentors that they intend to go to their commander, and to believe that the law is on their side. It exhorts them not to even think about resorting to using a weapon or committing suicide.
Moskovskiy komsomolets concludes, for all their absurdity, the pamphlets show the fundamental plague of today’s army remains the legal illiteracy of conscripts, their inclination toward violence, and the inability of their officers to cope with them.
Vesti FM interviewed ‘Citizen and Army’ coordinator Sergey Krivenko about the pamphlets. He said at least they show the Defense Ministry acknowledges dedovshchina is a problem, and it’s growing, not declining. He believes the pamphlets’ appearance is an indication of hopelessness; military reform is not transforming conscript service or giving conscripts adequate legal protection.