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Feature Story June 10, 2004
How to Survive the Russian Army

Every few weeks there's a story about a Russian soldier who "goes crazy," shooting down fellow soldiers or officers, then himself. These Army rage murders are so common that many in the more remote provinces are largely unreported. News reports rarely say anything about how Army service turns ordinary Russian boys into mass murderers. Sometimes "bullying" is mentioned. But what does "bullying" actually mean?

The eXile's own Dyecadent Dyev, Lyola Androsova, interviewed several survivors of Russian army services and came back with some wild, gory tales of beatings, humiliation and torture. Humanitarian readers, if any, should read the story to arouse their righteous indignation. The rest of you can just sleaze along enjoying other peoples' misery.

The Editors

In theory, all able-bodied young men in Russia are required to serve in the military. In practice, kids with well-connected or wealthy families rarely if ever see the inside of a Russian Army barracks. A good-sized bribe to the local recruiting officer will usually ransom your pampered son. But recruiting officers are a notoriously treacherous lot, and have been known to keep the money and drag the boy away anyway. It's probably a better bet to bribe the doctor who does the medical exams to exempt your son on medical grounds.


Dec. 17, a 100 days till the Dyediis' discharge, for us the 100 days will be sheer Hell, it means we'll have to come up to them and congratulate them every day on getting out. Then they ask you questions, like, what color are the boots? Or what color is the ceiling? If you get it right they won't touch you, if not, they knock you down. You're supposed to say 'green' as Dyedii will be discharged in summer which is green. In return they're supposed to give us their bread and butter but lots of them just throw the butter on the floor or the ceiling, our ceiling is covered with butter. Every night we have to bring them cigarettes with a number on it showing how many days till discharge they have got.

They also beat us with belt-buckles or sticks on our butts. They are afraid of putting bruises on it though.

I miss you and I love you and please write back soon.

Your always hungry son Seryozha

If your parents don't have that kind of money, or are just glad to be rid of you, you can try escaping on your own. Some boys are so terrified of the army they become drifters, running from town to town before the cops can catch up with them. Others intentionally contract serious contagious diseases to make themselves physically unfit for service. And some take the even more drastic step of fathering two or more children, in which case a grateful Russia will let you skip the Army to stay home washing nappies -- yes, even that is better than getting dragged into the Russian Army.

Dear Mom, Dad, Zhenya, Natasha!

Today is Dec. 15, Sunday. Got up at 6:30, made my own bed, had breakfast. After that we got notepads and pens and wrote down what the Lt. dictated. Then we were taken outside to get valenkii [felt boots]. We waited for more than an hour, almost froze to death but the quartermaster never showed up. So they took us back to have dinner. Our platoon, the 4th, was the last in line and when we finally got our food all the others had already eaten and our sergeant gets his food first so usually when we get our food he shouts that everybody has to get up and get out. It happened again this time, we didn't even get to finish the soup. I only had time to eat a little bread and we had to get up. Then we went back to the storehouse to get our valenkii. It was like a crazy-house there, the quartermaster threw out handfuls of valenkii and everybody tried to catch them, all fighting over them like dogs with bones. And they weren't even good valenkii, old, worn-out and didn't match. We tried them on right there in the snow and the wind, just took off our boots and put on the valenkii. I got a different-sized pair, different colors too. A lot of us told the quartermaster later and he said it wasn't his problem, we could exchange them with each other afterwards. That's what he always says.


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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
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eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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