December 05, 2023

$10,000 for a Fake Injury


$10,000 for a Fake Injury
Readiness check of the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division. Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Wikimedia Commons

A system of bribery has been uncovered in Russia's army fighting in Ukraine that allows military personnel to pay for various privileges, such as medical leaves, rotations, and even exemptions from participating in assaults.

Novaya Gazeta Evropa gleaned the information from conversations with the mother of a serviceman from the Storm-Z unit – an active Russian officer.

According to the paper, soldiers can pay anywhere from $500-3,000 for a transfer to different sectors of the front. Vacations come at a steeper price, ranging from $5,000-10,000, but officers are barred from purchasing this particular benefit.

A fake concussion, or a wound requiring hospitalization, costs $10,000-50,000, depending on the serviceman's position and the specific sector of the front where they are fighting. The expenses incurred for "acquiring" such injuries could potentially be compensated for through government payments, as wounded individuals in war are eligible for a payout of R3 million (approximately $30,000).

Previously, Vazhnie Istory, an independent Russian outlet specializing in investigative journalism, reported about bribery within the Russian military. Analyzing verdicts from military garrison courts, journalists discovered that conscripts paid up to R400,000 (about $4,000) to evade deployment or to leave the front.

Mobilization began on September 21, 2022, with Russian authorities announcing the projected enlistment of 300,000 individuals. Many have already lost their lives. A recent study concluded that, on average, Russian conscripts perished in Ukraine after just four and a half months of service, and one in five conscripts did not survive for more than two months. Those who manage to endure are compelled to continue their service without the provision of rotations, returning home only after the conclusion of the war.

This situation has led to discontent among mobilized mothers and wives. Additionally, some soldiers resort to extreme measures to avoid frontline duty: one conscript from Buryatia went so far as to fake his own death by purchasing a counterfeit death certificate while on vacation. The soldier received a five-year sentence in a maximum-security colony for desertion.

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