Russian males find it hard to escape 2 years conscription in the shambolic army.
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Fresh conscripts aren’t supposed to go to war, but as one Colonel admits, it happens all the time. Since August ground troops and the air force have mounted punitive strikes on Chechnya, yet Russia still refuses to call it a war. Mrs Farhudtinov buries her only son Almaz, killed in a skirmish with Chechen rebels. Conscripted at 18, after a few weeks training he was sent to war. Every Monday hundreds come to an organisation that gives advice on how to dodge the draft. Called “Soldiers’ Mothers”, it came to fame in the first Chechen war from ’94 to ’96. Women braved gunfire to go to Chechnya and rescue their sons. Today the organisation tracks the dead and missing in Russia’s dirty wars. Shocking footage shows the sickening brutality conscripts can receive from their commanding officers. Sasha has just deserted after repeated beatings – the third conscript to flee his unit in a month. Russia still has the largest army in Europe, but only 10% of its troops are battle-ready. Instead they plant vegetables to supplement starvation rations. Yeltsin has promised to end mass conscription, but like most promises in Russian politics, it has gone nowhere.
For similar stories, see:
Chechnya’s Oppressive Regime Pursues Dissidents Into Europe
The Horrible Aftermath of the Beslan Massacre
How the War in Chechnya Descended into Plunder and Double Dealing
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