by Richard Crews
Recognizing that humanitarian values within the Russian military may not be among your highest priorities, I hope you will find the following appalling, as I did--after all, ever since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., Mother Russia has been increasingly "one of us" (particularly with China breathing down all of our Western and pro-Western necks these days).
The Russian military has about 200,000 conscripts (about half of its personnel are conscripted--half are voluntary or "professional"). To maintain this force, they draft about 25,000 young men a year.
But the Russian equivalent of "basic training" is traditionally harsh--even brutal--with considerable use of physical force, including beatings and "hazing" of recruits.
If fact, about 200 drafted recruits die during their first year of service, mostly during training.
In other words, a young man who is drafted (non-voluntarily) into the Russian military has about a 0.8% chance of getting killed in training during the first year.
By comparison, if the same rate held in the U.S. military (although, granted, it is all voluntary), we would be killing off about 1,200 recruits a year. Which makes the terrible "Fort Hood Massacre" in which 12 soldiers died seem pretty tame, doesn't it?
This also explains their de facto "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Although it is technically legal to be gay in the Russian military, in reality one wouldn't want to be caught dead admitting it.
Caveat: Good stats within the Russian military are very hard to come by--the numbers reported above are gross guesstimates. Reportedly even the military authorities themselves don't have very good data on how many of whom are doing what.
Bun Gladieux, president of the Presssure Positive Company, has a blog with an interesting series of topics.
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