Attrition: Sick Soldiers In Siberia Seen As Suspicious

Archives

December 20, 2010: The Russian Military Prosecutor's Office is investigating why 250 soldiers in a Siberian base were recently sent to a hospital. Most had severe breathing problems, the result of infections. One soldier was suffering from kidney failure. Some are blaming the problems on new uniforms, made of new materials and containing new, and possibly, toxic, chemicals. The local commanders dismiss this, and insist that the number of troops hospitalized is typical for this time of year. Siberia is very cold, with temperatures -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) this year. But the media got hold of the story, prompted by concerned parents, and now an investigation is underway.

Whatever the specific cause of the illnesses, the main culprit will likely be the persistence of corruption in the military. The ranking of nations, according to their level of corruption, shows Russia one of the more corrupt nations on the planet. While the government publicizes some big anti-corruption cases, where senior officials are sometimes busted for trying to extort large bribes, a wider survey reveals that the corruption is still widespread and resistant to any cure, so far.

An example of how this works can be seen in the complaints of soldiers, especially conscripts, about abuse while in the military. Shortages of equipment, ammunition, and even food, are common. And there are conscripts, their starved bodies returned to their parents, to prove it. The government goes through a show of punishing commanders responsible, but the corruption continues. Now the government controls most of the major media, so  there are few stories of starving soldiers, and fewer starving soldiers to report about. Yet the corruption just flourishes elsewhere, when it is stamped out in one area. As for the lack of reporting, the Internet has taken up the slack, so there is still pressure on the government to do something. But the corruption continues.

This time there is an official investigation, and a government that does keep trying to nail corrupt officials. So something interesting may happen here.

 


Article Archive

Attrition: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close