In southern Russia, 54 soldiers deserted the 20th motorized rifle division to protest brutality (five of the men were beaten by their officers) and poor living conditions. The men went to the office of an army prosecutor to plead for justice. The army promised an investigation. The lack of a large and experienced NCO corps has long been a problem for the Russian armed forces. Attempts to remedy this problem over the last two decades have been crippled because money was not available to pay qualified men to become career NCOs.