Thursday, January 29, 2009
Russian Military Suicides Still Remain High
Russia Today (RT) was very quick to make an article entitled "US army suicide highest in 3 decades" the first viewed after its main story. From an unnamed source at the Department of Defense, RT reported that at least 128 soldiers killed themselves in 2008 alone (13 more than in 2007). The English language news-service from Russia ended the piece by suggesting that:
"American troops are under unprecedented stress because of repeated and lengthy tours of duty due to simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
This is in stark contrast to figures coming out of Russia's armed forces, where a total of 341 military personnel committed suicide in 2007, the equivalent of an entire battalion of Russian soldiers. Fortunately, that high figure is a reduction from 15% the previous year. Analysts credit the number with the process of dedovshchina - literally, rule of the elders, in which young soldiers are often violently bullied into killing themselves.
With morale low, corruption among senior staff high, and violent prostitution all common themes, the hopelessness of military life in Russia is reason enough for many families to pay bribes to keep their children away from conscription. RT should not pretend that the US Army has an extensive problem when they themselves have been struggling for over a decade to improve their excuse for a modern military.