'Hell is better than this war': Russian soldiers are forced to rape each other, they are spread rot and mocked - ForumDaily
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'Hell is better than this war': Russian soldiers are forced to rape each other, they are spread rot and abused

In the Russian army, by the third year of the war, the problem of extrajudicial punishment, bullying and “abnormal relations” had intensified. The military says that former prisoners especially “become wild” with hopelessness - they take it out on their mobilized colleagues, reports Layout.

Photo: iStock.com/JOHNGOMEZPIX

Soldiers who refuse to fight are tied to trees and put in pits by the officers themselves.

“Our prisoners have completely lost their heads”

The mobilized and contracted prisoners, as the military says, “became completely angry.” One of the main reasons is the lack of rotation at the front. Almost no one is given leave, especially in the most difficult directions like Kherson, where the Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers who crossed to the left bank of the Dnieper could not be pushed back for more than four months. Sources on the front line say that former villages such as Krynki are now frozen ruins, strewn with the corpses of both Russian and Ukrainian soldiers. Every day, according to them, 60-100 people died there on both sides.

“It’s hell here. They wet each other. Ukry is wet. The orders are stupid. Everyone understands that they can’t do this, and they still send us to die,” says a signalman from the Russian Armed Forces about the assault on Krynok.

Since November 2023, group after group has been sent there.

“Almost no one returned,” he noted. — This task was constantly set. During the entire time, one person came out of there. But they still sent and are sending people there.”

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The bridgehead with an area of ​​one square kilometer in Krynki was controlled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in February. But on the 20th, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with TASS that Krynki had finally been cleared. True, two military men from the Kherson direction say that fighting in the village is still going on. Russian and Ukrainian paratroopers are shooting at each other, and at the Aleshkovsky Sands training ground near Krynki, where three brigades were gathered for inspection before the commanders, the Ukrainian Armed Forces fired from HIMARS. A day after Shoigu’s announcement of the liberation of Krynok, sources estimate that more than 200 people from both sides died there.

“The shelling on our positions is still constant. During this time, our prisoners completely lost their heads. They understand that everyone will die, so they terrorize ordinary boys who they can,” shares one of the artillerymen. - They are perverted. Here they created a “zone” in the literal sense. They are in the battalions on their own wave, their commanders are deep in the rear.”

The artilleryman and his colleague sent journalists a video with soldiers from the 345th Regiment of the 104th Guards Air Assault Division. The recording shows night, frost, four naked men standing in front of a crowd of military men in green jackets. They film naked men on several mobile phones with the words: “For everyone to see... I’ll tell you where to send them. F*ck, turn to the camera..."

One of the dressed men tries it on and hits the undressed man in the face.

“What are you doing, dog!” the first one shouts. - Don’t move, everyone stand... And you run into the pit to copulate... Run, you fat dog.”

Four naked men descend into a hole dug behind them.

“This is how they unofficially punish those who drink or indulge in drugs while on duty. What kind of contingent punishes the boys in this way, I think, is clear without comment,” explains one of the military men.

“Yes, there was drinking and failure to follow orders,” confirms another. “But you can’t count on a trial or disputation.” This is what the prisoners do. Misha was the only normal one they had. When he could, he defended. Misha said that they then force them to copulate. They sit and look at it. They laugh and piss on top of them. How they watch TV."

“Everyone is bullying each other”

Misha is a former prisoner from Novosibirsk, Mikhail Maltsev, who was pardoned in September 2023 in exchange for a contract with the Ministry of Defense. It was he who asked to send journalists a video of naked military men in a pit.

“In Lugansk, I already understood what awaited me, but did not dare to run away. Then we were transferred to the Kherson direction, where the most severe horror began. The attitude is bestial, commands that cannot be carried out, everyone mocks each other,” he wrote, sending the video.

In December, 32-year-old Maltsev was sent to storm Krynoki. Before leaving, “realizing that he was going in one direction,” he left another note, where he addressed the “convicts”: “I signed a contract, came to the Northern Military District - this is a complete mess, concrete. There is nothing to be done here, we have been deceived. They didn’t pay us any 300 thousand, only forty thousand came. They don't give vacations. The wounded are not taken out of here, there is no evacuation: they patch them up, rest for a week, and then they throw them back into battle. Our boys are lying around, rotting, they are not taken away. They are decomposing, bloated, there is nothing left to help them, I don’t know how their relatives will find out.”

Maltsev spent four November days in a pit on such corpses.

“His commanders forbade him to take them out. There were shellings. He lived on the dead. I took cookies out of their pockets and ate them,” says one of the military men.

“If you ask questions, you immediately go to storm places where you can’t get out alive,” Maltsev continues in his video message. - Guys, it’s better to all stay home, serve your time and go to your wives, children, or whoever you have left. Live better with them. Better go work as a janitor, get these 20 thousand, but there’s nothing to do here. We can't survive here. We do not understand the meaning of what war is. They deceive us however they want."

“I don’t know whether I’ll get out of here. Let normal boys hear me and at least protect themselves and their close friends. Hell is here. I am sending you an appeal in the hope that it will save someone,” Mikhail adds in a postscript to the video.

Maltsev and his entire group were destroyed during an attempt to storm Krynoki in December 2023.

“I will give them to you to be torn to pieces”

In Russia there are two disciplinary battalions to which military personnel who are guilty or have not followed orders should be sent: the 36th - in the village of Kashtak, Trans-Baikal Territory, and the 28th - in the village of Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod region. But soldiers who left to fight with Ukraine are not sent there. According to the law, their cases must be tried in military courts under Articles 335 (violation of the rules of the charter with the use of violence) and 286 (excess of authority with the use of violence on the part of a senior in rank or position) of the criminal code - and in the event of a conviction sent to colony for up to 10 years.

But, as stated in the study of the Military Lawyers team, there are a total of 1 decisions on these articles considered in court from January 2022, 1 to March 2023, 672, and the texts of 233 of them are hidden on the websites of garrison courts. There is access to 63% of cases. And only a small part of them come to the courts “from the trenches.” And in these decisions (for example, regarding commanders who broke the jaws of their subordinates because they dared to discuss the course of hostilities, or regarding a military man who started a fight with his colleagues because of criticism of the SVO) there is often a mitigating circumstance: voluntary participation in military operations.

The closer to the front line, the less often military prosecutors appear, the more often commanders come up with punishments themselves (or colleagues carry out lynching).

“At the forefront, morality becomes an elastic concept. But no one here needs military investigators. And there will be no trial,” one of the sources assured.

To prove his words, he sent a video in which in November 2023, men with RMS GROUP Wagner chevrons on their sleeves massacred soldiers. The filmer says off-screen that they allegedly consumed salt, went out on a mission in an altered state of consciousness, “broke the morale of the rest of the fighters,” which is why “all the boys from their first detachment died.”

In the video, two men are beaten with sticks, shot at with machine guns, and five others dig themselves a hole two human heights deep. The operator's voice is interrupted by groans, shouts, swearing, squeals, shots and the sounds of blows on people's bodies.

“That’s it, please forgive me,” howls one of those who are being “punished.” “That’s it, you’re already dead, you understand, you’re already dead with us,” the military man yells at him. Another, squealing in fear, is forced to his knees, and with the words “now I’ll kill him,” the camera is switched to another person lying on the ground. Shots are heard. At the fence, a man in a LDPR T-shirt kicks a soldier pinned to the fence in the groin and head, spits on him when he shouts: “Please, please, don’t.” The sounds of gunfire don't stop.

The person filming behind the scenes says: “Guys, now I suggest everyone come here and punish them too. Everyone who did not return from our first company from the last mission - it was their fault that they did not return. You come here, I’ll give them to you to be torn to pieces.”

“They are being punished in an outrageous manner,” comments a soldier from a neighboring battalion who sent the video. “There were two corpses there right away, they were beaten very badly.” People did this from the Wagnerites, repulsed as much as possible. They were all rich or involved in crime. But it seems like there will be a check now, that’s what they said.”

It was not possible to find any criminal cases or reports on the November events, as well as reports about this massacre in pro-government media and telegram channels.

"He was bullied a lot"

“In my new military unit, in the 24th Motorized Rifle, we have complete confusion, chaos, lawlessness, a swinish attitude towards people, and we ourselves are turning into embittered animals,” wrote one of the officers, confirming the story of violence against the mobilized.

“Bullying is something crests do. We have educational work, cruel but fair,” another Airborne Forces officer from the Kherson direction disagrees. “We don’t just hit anyone.” There are a lot of mobsters here, men who signed a contract recently, and before that they were drinking in garages, and similar characters. Do they have discipline? No. To maintain discipline, you need to beat them hard. You can call it bullying, but for us it’s a job on which our lives depend. No amount of military police is enough to sort this out. If you don’t go for the assault, you go to the basement. It works".

“What is hazing? Well, they gave me a slap in the face for a mistake. Let's get to work. Is this hazing? In this way, literally everything can be classified as hazing. This is war! - says another intelligence officer.

What bullying from fellow soldiers leads to can be judged by the story of 26-year-old Viktor Unkovsky, who was told by three military men from the Kherson direction. In the summer of 2023, Unkovsky served in the 28th regiment, in the first howitzer battery. On one of the missions, he turned to the drone operators, fellow soldiers with whom he was in the group, and opened fire on them. Nobody died. Two soldiers from the shooter’s battalion recall this incident. Unkovsky was detained, but no criminal case was opened. He remained to serve.

On October 22, 2023, Unkovsky, who had not served even a year, was on a mission in Radensk (a village in the Aleshkinsky urban community of the Kherson region). He was attached to an electronic warfare station that jams enemy drones. Soon, her boss, junior sergeant Arayik Grigoryan, saw a military man appear at their positions and began shooting at them with tracer bullets - ammunition that glows in flight, creating a clearly visible trace.

Military police were called to the scene. Together with the sergeant, they fired several bursts into the air, and then knocked the shooter to the ground. Only after this did they recognize him as Unkovsky - as it turned out, this was the second time he had opened fire on the Russian military.

Sergeant Grigoryan informed commanders about this in work chats. Screenshots of correspondence with military numbers and call signs are at the disposal of journalists.

“Now everyone is accusing Unkovsky of going crazy. The fact that we all here already have certain mental problems is understandable,” said one of the shooter’s colleagues. “But specifically about him, I want to say that he was severely abused, and I know for sure about repeated violence against him. And all this was covered up by the command; no one responded to his complaints. That’s why he shot at his own people twice.”

“In poor condition and all to himself”

It is not difficult to understand how Unkovsky ended up in the war. He is an orphan, raised by an uncle from the Belgorod region and an aunt from Maryino, Moscow.
Unkovsky was registered in his aunt’s apartment, but since May 2021 he tried to live independently, rented rooms in Moscow, worked as a security guard and did occasional hack work. He took out loans that he had nothing to repay.

In July 2021, he went to Shebekino to visit his uncle to ask for money for rent while looking for a new job. My uncle lived alone and was unable to give anything. Then Unkovsky waited until the pensioner fell asleep, took his wallet, two Sberbank cards, a piece of paper with written PIN codes for bank cards and two cell phones - and left by taxi to Voronezh. After withdrawing money from the cards, Unkovsky bought himself food, alcohol, a cell phone, black sneakers, sunglasses, a suit, two shirts and ties - red and blue. He boarded the train to St. Petersburg, but did not make it: at a stop in Ryazan, the police took him off the train.

Unkovsky went to a pre-trial detention center, and in September 2022 he was sent to a general regime colony for six months for theft. After the verdict, in addition to unpaid loans, he began to accumulate debts for the work of bailiffs and legal costs.

Judging by open data, Unkovsky was imprisoned until the spring of 2023. His last trace is a fine for traveling without a ticket in Moscow in March. Then the young man signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense and went to fight in Ukraine. This was confirmed by two of his acquaintances, found through Unkovsky’s VKontakte account.

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Judging by the stories of his colleagues, it was difficult for Unkovsky to fight. Two soldiers from his division say he was bullied and possibly physically abused.

“I can only say from the guy that he was constantly running errands, drooping. They said that during another drinking session shortly before the first shooting, they tried to rape him. Then they said that they were simply frightening him and that no one was going to rape him. But it’s hard to say what really happened. Personally, I saw that the guy was in bad condition and completely in himself,” his colleague explained.

In the fall of 2023, Unkovsky’s aunt died; nothing is known about his uncle, whom he robbed in 2021. He has no other relatives left.

“Perhaps after the first shooting this is why nothing happened, he was not attracted. They were afraid that facts of violence would come to light, and they did everything as if nothing had happened. After the second incident, everyone was afraid to remain silent - in fear that he would shoot them. They all mocked him very much, even in public,” concluded another colleague of Unkovsky.

Unkovsky was taken to the rear. No evidence could be found of a possible criminal case against him.

“I am telling you so that this information is recorded somewhere and so that Victor is not killed right here, without trial. This happens in war,” explained another of Unkovsky’s colleagues. “Therefore, it is extremely important that he is not completely intimidated and that he is able to give his honest testimony.” Let him be responsible for his own mistakes, and let everyone else be responsible for theirs.”

Another interlocutor from the Kherson direction adds that he has seen such an attitude personally many times, for example, at formations. “This is the attitude towards those who are weaker. As happens in our yards and in schools, it is therefore not surprising. This is our society, and the army only intensifies all this cruelty,” he said.

“They accused them of espionage and opened fire in the dugouts.”

At the beginning of 2024, a man who could hardly be suspected of wanting to discredit the army “at war with the Western world” in Ukraine spoke about violence in the ranks of the Russian army. Serbian mercenary, member of Vladimir Putin’s team, Dejan Beric, sitting in front of the camera in a “Putin’s team” T-shirt, recorded a video in January. Berich spoke about the same thing that former prisoner Maltsev said.

According to him, mercenaries who came from Serbia to help the Russian troops before the New Year were sent on an assault without grenade launchers, with two magazines of ammunition, and “with this you won’t walk even 10 meters before it’s all over.” The Serbs refused to go on the assault and requested a transfer to another unit with “real Russian officers.” In response, according to Berich, they took away all their ammunition and machine guns, and kicked everyone out, including those with pneumonia with a temperature of 39, from the dugouts to the street. They spent two December nights in the forest, three or four people lost consciousness. The mercenaries were not allowed to approach the kitchen, Berich said, they spent two days in the cold without food or water. Military police came to the Serbs on January 8, “accused them of espionage, opened fire in the dugouts,” and began beating the mercenaries with rifle butts.

“I understand that our enemies will use this video, I agree to sit down, but please resolve the issue,” Beric asked in the video.

No criminal case was brought against him for fakes, but later another video appeared on his account, where Putin’s confidant says that the “incident” is being dealt with and that he himself got excited while recording the video.

Semyon Kiskorov, a Russian soldier from Khakassia, also spoke about the fact that soldiers who refuse to go on an assault are not sent to military investigators, but are kicked out of dugouts into the cold, handcuffed to trees and not allowed to eat or drink. In November 2023, he and his brother Gennady did not comply with the order to go on an assault and wrote a letter of refusal to serve. In it, the mobilized Kiskorov quoted the Gospel: “The Bible says not to kill and to love your enemies. Based on Articles 28, 59 (Part 3) of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, I declare that military service is contrary to my religion. It is contradicted by the use of weapons and participation in the destruction of the enemy. I ask you to make a decision to replace my military mobilization service with an alternative civilian service.”

The commander did not accept Kiskorov’s report, but called his brother Gennady and ordered him to be handcuffed to a tree for a November night in the rain. After standing for two days hugging a tree, the soldier agreed to go to the front line.

His brother Semyon said in his video message that not only Kiskorov, but also other servicemen were tied to the tree at night. Footage of this type of punishment was captured in a video that Semyon Kiskorov sent to his relatives.

The wives of military personnel told the human rights activists of the organization “Movement of Conscious Objectors” about everything that was happening. Lawyers convinced them to write a statement to the military prosecutor's office and demand the release of their husbands from an obviously dangerous situation. But after the scandal hit the media, the commanders, according to the wives, demanded that the Kiskorov brothers write an explanation that it was Ukrainian, not Russian, soldiers who tied the soldiers to the tree. And later Semyon called his wife and asked to withdraw the statements about the crime, calling them “the influence of Ukrainians and foreign agents.” After that, says Elena Popova, coordinator of the Conscious Objector Movement, in December 2023 the brothers were sent “on a combat mission to the front line,” and they never made contact again.

“Our state is too strong”

Forcing people to participate in war through illegal methods occurs not only on the front line, but also in the capital’s military units. Popova, coordinator of the Conscious Objector Movement, talks about a paramedic from a unit in the village of Mosrentgen. Roman, whose family asked not to give his last name, served under a contract in the medical service. His medical record showed fitness category “B” - for a psychiatric diagnosis, implying only non-combatant service.

In November 2023, commander Roman returned to his unit after fighting for several months on the territory of Ukraine.

“I arrived with the roof blown off. In an argument, he attacked Roman and hit his head against the wall several times. The paramedic was hospitalized with a brain contusion,” the lawyers said. Roman filed a statement about the incident to the military investigation department.

When he was discharged from the hospital, they reported that a combat order had arrived - to send a paramedic “on a business trip to the Northern Military District.” On January 12, Roman called his father from the unit and said that his phone was being taken away and “thrown into the train.” Roman managed to escape from a bus traveling towards Ukraine; his father picked him up on the federal highway. They spent two days at home, and on January 14, the two of them went to the clinic to get documents for proceedings with the commanders.

In the courtyard of their house there was a car with people from Roman’s military unit - although, according to his father, they were dressed “in civilian clothes” and they smelled of alcohol. The men attacked Roman, dragged him to the car, his father began to pull him away, and eventually the police arrived and took the paramedic to the military unit. Popova from the Conscious Objector Movement says that on this day Roman was seen “beaten and handcuffed” at his military unit in Mosrentgen - the wife of one of the military men wrote to her about this.

On January 16, the father of the paramedic called human rights activists: “Roman will go to the Northern Military District, they promised him that he would work in the hospital there. There’s no need to tell the journalists anything more, thank you, that’s what they agreed on.”

A few days later he wrote: “Our state is too strong. There's nothing you can do".

“They don’t feel sorry for people at all. It's like they're not people."

There are those who are fleeing the war. Although it is very difficult. The military sent journalists internal reports for three months of one of the brigades, where more than 30 people were listed as having left their duty stations.

“I am also enclosing the documents that I have: cards of my missing guys, who were at first in the group, and then they were simply deleted! I accidentally managed to save a few. This is only a small number, they are simply cleared from the database so as not to be looked for,” the military man noted. In other documents sent to him, there are 30 more missing colleagues. They are most likely dead or in captivity.

“People are fleeing from here more and more often. Therefore, they are checking more strictly now. So the longer you wait, the harder it will be to run. Ideally, this should be done in a small group when, for example, you go somewhere to the rear. To the hospital or to pick up parcels,” one of the interlocutors explained.

But the military from the Kherson direction has not had such an opportunity for a long time. According to the military, they practically stopped taking people to the hospital from there in the winter of 2023.

“They don’t take you to the hospital even if you’re injured. They provided help, whoever was nearby, and then fed us breakfast. But there is no calm here. Constant battles,” admitted a soldier from Samara. - Sometimes a little quieter, sometimes a little more. They don't talk about losses in the news at all. And they must be assessed as catastrophic. They don't feel sorry for people at all. It's like they're not people. And this makes everyone around me go wild.”

“I used to watch a movie about the war, and it was creepy. And having seen everything that is happening here, all the worst things from the movies seem like kindergarten,” the soldier assured. “I couldn’t imagine that in the 21st century you could treat people like that.” I had no idea what people were capable of. It’s really better in hell than in this war.”

In January, three sources from the Kherson direction stopped communicating. A month later, their colleagues wrote that they were captured “with minimal injuries.”

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