A company commander has received a two-year suspended sentence after a military court in the Urals industrial centre of Yekaterinburg found him guilty of battering his subordinates with a ''black latex baton shaped like a male sex organ''. The soldiers, however, said at the hearing that the commander ''only hit them lightly''.
The story of the captain came to light after Private Ruslan Machnev deserted from the unit’s base in the town of Verkhnyaya Pyshma taking his assault rifle with him He had already served 14 months of his 24-month national service and was therefore one of the more privileged ‘grandfathers’ who are not subject to bullying. He was found a short time later, sleeping in the stairwell of a Yekaterinburg apartment block, embracing his gun.
The military prosecutors intended to charge Private Machnev with desertion, but the soldier said that he had fled after being unable to put up with the relentless taunting that the company commander Captain Damir Ilyasov directed at him. The prosecutors checked the soldier’s claims, which turned out to be true.
Instead of the deserter, the prosecutors instigated a case against his commander, who was charged with ''taunting, with the use of force''. A total of 11 soldiers were named in the aggrieved party and light was shed on some unusual details.
It turned out that the captain carried out so-called ''night formations'' in his unit – waking the soldiers at night and lining them up to check their uniforms. Those who were not looking after their uniforms properly were beaten with the aforementioned ''black latex baton…'' The court materials said that Ilyasov had bought it in a sex shop, without specifying whether punishing his men was the only reason for the acquisition.
In court, the captain pleaded guilty and said he was sorry for what had happened. The beaten soldiers spoke in defence of their commander and recounted his merits as an officer and as a man. It turned out that many of them thought that the court was actually considering the deserter’s case and not the commander’s, so the soldiers told the court that they were not battered – the officer simply ''delivered light strikes'' – with you know what.
As for the deserter Machnev, his comrades somewhat harshly noted that ''a real man must take the hardships of military service with patience''.
Nevertheless, the court gave Ilyasov a two-year suspended sentence, considering that the officer had to provide for his two young children. Ilyasov was also stripped of his officer’s rank and removed from his post.
Private Ruslan Machnev was transferred to another military unit where he will finish his service.