“Dog food for soldiers” whistleblower Major Igor Matveyev was sentenced to four years in prison and stripped of his rank by Vladivostok garrison court on Friday for violently abusing his subordinates.
Matveyev was swiftly charged with assault after accusations emerged that he kicking a young soldier in the face. Matveyev said the soldier in question was facing an inquiry for drug offenses and had fabricated the accusations against him to avoid punishment. Other officers testified that they witnessed Matveyev abuse the soldier.
The judge said the prison term was decided upon taking into consideration that Matveyev has already been convicted twice, once for making murder threats and once for insulting a superior officer. The court also ordered Matveyev to pay compensation to the victim. His lawyer said they would appeal the decision.
The allegations appeared after he posted an incriminating film on YouTube addressed to President Dmitry Medvedev in which he accused officers at a military base in Russia’s Far East of institutionalized corruption and said that troops were fed dog food.
Matveyev’s explosive online testimony said that soldiers were fed dog food, Chinese migrant workers lived at the base, and that corruption flourished.
The major blamed Colonel Valentin Sultanbekov, head of the unit in Vladivostok, for the offences.
An investigation was soon launched, which confirmed many of Matveyev’s allegations, but said it was old news which had already been dealt with and that proceedings had already started.
An audit in April uncovered $1 million of stolen food at a warehouse in the region, including the tinned beef which had been substituted with pet food.