NewsRise in crime by Russian troops. A grim toll on children and justice

Rise in crime by Russian troops. A grim toll on children and justice

Russia is overwhelmed by a wave of crime. 200 members of the Northern Military District convicted
Russia is overwhelmed by a wave of crime. 200 members of the Northern Military District convicted
Images source: © Licensor
2:16 PM EDT, April 12, 2024

Since the invasion of Ukraine began, Novaya Gazeta Europe has identified at least 192 Russian military personnel convicted of committing brutal crimes, a number that has been rising with each month of conflict.

The report reveals that 49 people were prosecuted for murder, while 143 were charged with inflicting bodily harm of various degrees, leading to the death of 26 victims. It also found that one in six military individuals involved in crimes against life and health faced punishment.

Children Predominantly Affected

The frequency of such crimes has surged; in 2023 alone, the number increased thirteenfold, hitting a record high for egregious sexual crimes within the first six months of the year.

In September, a military court in Bryansk sentenced a 36-year-old serviceman to 15 years in prison for abusing his 10-year-old stepdaughter. In a separate incident in April in Tuva, a 24-year-old war veteran raped and murdered a 66-year-old retiree.

According to Sybir.Reali, there has been a noticeable rise in sexual offenses by Russian military personnel in 2023, with at least 64 reported cases of rape in eight months, half of which involved children as victims.

The overall number of convictions for crimes committed by military personnel has increased sevenfold, encompassing not just violent crimes but also offenses such as driving under the influence (252 convictions), drug trafficking (141), theft (84), and fraudulent acquisition of payments (55).

The criminal code stipulates that repeat offenders cannot receive a sentence lower than one-third of the maximum penalty for their crime unless mitigating circumstances are present. Yet, military members often receive more lenient treatment than civilians.

Controversial Leniency in Sentencing

A particularly shocking case involved a former Wagner Group mercenary who was merely fined 5,000 rubles after he mutilated his ex-wife in front of their child. The court's leniency was reportedly influenced by his presentation of a medal "For the capture of Bakhmut".

This leniency extends to other crimes as well; over 80% of military personnel convicted of driving under the influence are fined, a punishment 13 times more common than for civilians, who are more likely to face forced labor. Similarly, 70% of veterans convicted of drug trafficking receive fines, a penalty significantly less severe than what civilians face for the same offense. However, military personnel found guilty of dealing with explosive materials are sentenced more harshly, receiving actual prison sentences four times more often than their civilian counterparts.

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