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The Russian military’s growing discipline problems
In a new investigative report, journalists at Mediazona counted 536 service-related felony cases filed in Russian garrison courts against soldiers since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine started last year. Most of these charges involve AWOL offenses, often resulting in probation sentences that allow offenders to return to combat. More serious crimes include refusal to obey orders, striking a commanding officer, and outright desertion.
Citing national-security grounds (and orders from Russia’s Defense Ministry and Federal Security Service), military courts frequently conceal information about cases involving “crimes against military service.” Mediazona dug through available records and spoke to attorneys to learn what it could about this growing wave of insubordination among Russian troops.
To discuss the investigation, Mediazona reporter and data-team journalist David Frenkel joined The Naked Pravda.
Timestamps for this episode:
- (4:02) Why Putin doesn’t rescind his mobilization execution order
- (8:51) Is AWOL the most common offense by Russian soldiers or merely what Russia’s military courts prefer to prosecute?
- (14:52) Rational choice if you’re a Russian soldier who doesn’t want to fight in Ukraine
- (16:39) Morale and discipline
- (24:54) Conscientious objection
- (26:39) Show trials and judges’ “preventative talks” with soldiers
Production, sound editing, and mixing by Kevin Rothrock
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