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Russian soldier who gunned down eight fellow servicemembers was retaliating against hazing, says his father

Source: RBC

Ramil Shamsutdinov killed eight fellow soldiers in late October in retaliation against hazing, Shamsutdinov’s father told journalists after visiting his son in pretrial detention. “What could have pushed him so far? It’s obvious: it was hazing — constant, prolonged bullying. They drove him to this state,” the father told the website RBC.

In an interview shared online by the YouTube channel Vechorka TV, Salimzhan Shamsutdinov says he didn’t talk about the murders directly with his son, saying he’d wait to discuss the matter with a lawyer, but Ramil apparently implied that the other soldiers had mistreated him.

In late October, before he ever spoke to his son after the murders, Salimzhan Shamsutdinov told the news outlet Radio Svoboda that he suspected the killings were a response to military hazing, known in Russian as dedovshchina. A day before he finally met with Ramil in jail, Salimzhan told the website that his son’s lawyer had confirmed that hazing prompted his son’s rampage. 

Update: The website Baza has published the alleged text of Ramil Shamsutdinov's testimony following the killings, where he says he acted in self-defense. As soon as he arrived at the military base, he says, the officers confiscated his phone, beat him, and stole his money. On the day of the killings, a lieutenant allegedly said Shamsutdinov would be raped that evening. “It was my turn that night, and I had nowhere to go. What was I supposed to do?” Shamsutdinov said.

On October 25, Ramil Shamsutdinov killed eight fellow soldiers at a military base in Russia’s Zabaikalsky region. Defense Ministry officials said the gunman may have suffered a nervous breakdown, though sources told journalists that the shooter was the victim of intense hazing.

The public organizations “Officers of Russia” and “The Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers” have stood by the Defense Ministry. Sergey Lipovoi, who heads the former group, even denied the existence of hazing in the military, and blamed Shamsutdinov’s actions on violent computer games.

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