Activists In St. Peterburg Say Men Being Forced Into Army
December 22, 2009
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rights activists in St. Petersburg say there have been numerous rights violations during the Russian Army's recruitment process this year, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
A representative of the organization Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg told RFE/RL that they have received a large number of phone calls from people complaining that local military recruitment offices "are literally hunting for young men on the streets, in supermarkets, and the subway to forcibly enlist them into the army."
A representative for the Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg said military medical personnel are working at night to expedite medical examinations for young men caught by recruiters so they can be quickly processed into the army.
Soldiers' Mothers Chairwoman Ella Polyakova said in the last two years, the situation regarding military recruitment has improved, but that suddenly "the hunt for young soldiers-to-be is on the rise again."
One complaint to the Soldiers' Mothers came from the widow of a Russian sailor who died on board a sunken K-159 submarine several years ago. She said the Defense Ministry assured her that the children of deceased sailors would not be sent to the army. But her son was caught on the street and enlisted.
According to Russian law, every male between 18 and 26 years of age is obliged to serve in the military. But an increasing number of young men are avoiding military service as frequent reports about bullying, hazing, and beatings in the army circulate in the media.
Copyright (c) 2009. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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