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Quality of the recruits from Kharkov and the Kharkov region in 1999

L. Klochko, Kharkov
The Kharkov oblast Union of soldiers’ mothers, the Kharkov working group of the international society of human rights and the Kharkov Group for human rights protection conducted a research of the quality of the recruits from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast in 1999.

We believe that until there exists the conscription, recruits must have the proper state of the physical and psychic health. From our experience we know that the majority of unpleasant accidents in the army happens just with the soldiers who have physical defects or deviations from the behavioral norms. Such people cannot stand the load, they become victims of the dedovshchina and often desert their units. It is they who commit suicides and suffer from accidents. Commanders of military units have to pay special attention to them, being thus distracted from their direct duties. Many of such recruits stay in hospitals, thus spending frugal finances of the army, while able-bodied soldiers have to do extra work. It is possible to continue the list of damages owing to unhealthy recruits, but they are well-known. Unfortunately, recruiting commissions pay insufficient attention to the above-listed arguments. That is why we decided to send letters to all military units, to where recruits-1999 from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast were sent. The total number of such letters was 44.

We received ten answers. The results, as it could be expected, appeared to be distressing. All in all, in those military units, from which we got answers, serve 263 soldiers of the considered group (of the autumn conscription). What happened with them can be seen from the following table.

Got to hospitals or to medical units at once after the arrival 4 1.5% Have chronic maladies that became virulent in the first days of the service 25 9.5% Have deviations from the normal behavior, were detained by militia, used drugs 24 9.13% Related to the risk group, since they have high tendency to suicide 5 1.9% Conscripted with violations of the law (have the right to the postponement by Article 17 of the law ‘On the military duty’) 1

(has a newborn baby) 0.38%

Some recruits managed to get in the table to several lines, but totally 48 recruits out of 263 figure in the table, which means that more than 18% are quite or partially unable to pass the military service.

Unfortunately, the data are incomplete because many military commanders did not answer our questions, nevertheless this is a well-representative sample. Those commanders who did not answer our letters do not understand, perhaps, that we cooperate with them. We contact the parents of those soldiers that raise problems for their commanders, we seek and send medical cards which enable doctors to monitor the dynamics of the disease in question. We have set permanent exchange of letters with some commanders and they even became readers of our bulletin. We hope to work fruitfully with them.

During the spring conscription of 2000 the oblast recruiting commission included two representatives from the Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers and from the international society of human rights. This permitted us to help those who turned to us or in general had conflicts during the conscription. Our representatives N. Kriukova and M. Shutaliova worked actively and fruitfully. In particular they analyzed the course of the conscription. Their analysis showed that the operating laws on the conscription are far from being perfect. In some following issues we shall describe the situation in details.

We would like to stop this article on the optimistic note, but again we have received a message of the new accident. Private T., who was recruited from Chernivtsi on 27 April and served near Kharkov, was brutally beaten in the beginning of June and send to the Kharkov hospital. Another serviceman, private N., committed suicide by hanging.

What were the reasons and who was the guilty needs investigation.

In spring-2000 they called 2200 recruits from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast. Who will be the next?

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