Russian private punished for forcing soldiers to dance Lezginka

A military court in the Russian Urals has ordered disciplinary punishment for a private who forced his fellow servicemen to dance while in the hospital, the Russian Investigative Committee said on Tuesday.

Zainalabid Gimbatov forced three of his fellow soldiers to dance the Lezginka, a traditional Caucasus dance, in front of other patients at a military hospital in the Chelyabinsk region.

“If those dancing made some wrong movements, Gimbatov ‘awarded’ them by hitting them in various parts of their bodies,” the committee said in a statement.

Russian laws stipulate a fine or prison term of up to five years for such offenses if they do not result in serious health harm.

Hazing is common in the Russian military, but it usually affects servicemen of lower ranks who are hazed by their commanders.

Notoriously widespread cases of mistreatment, coupled with harsh conditions, make many young men go to great lengths to avoid conscription, including bribing military officials and doctors for medical exemption certificates.

Experts say moving from conscription to a professional military would improve the situation in the armed forces, where only about 25 percent of some 1 million personnel are contract servicemen.

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