Russian Soldier Who Killed Eight After Brutal Hazing Sentenced To Almost 25 Years

By RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service

CHITA, Russia -- A military court in Siberia has sentenced Private Ramil Shamsutdinov to 24 1/2 years in prison for killing eight fellow servicemen in a rampage he says was brought on by his hazing in the army.

The Second Eastern Military District Court, which announced its decision on January 21, closely followed the prosecutor's call for a prison sentence of 25 years and set aside a jury's call for a more lenient punishment.

Shamsutdinov's lawyer, Ruslan Nagiyev, told RFE/RL that the sentence will be appealed.

Shamsutdinov's defense team has said their client went on a shooting spree in October 2019, killing eight fellow soldiers -- including two high-ranking officers -- in the town of Gorny in the Zabaikalye region after he was tortured and beaten by other soldiers and officers during his induction into the service.

On December 28, a jury found Shamsutdinov guilty of murder and attempted murder, but also said he deserved leniency, which according to Russian law meant his sentence shouldn't exceed 13 years and four months in prison.

The case shocked many in Russia and attracted the attention of rights activists after Shamsutdinov claimed that he committed the act while suffering a nervous breakdown caused by what he had endured.

The Defense Ministry accepted at the time that Shamsutdinov "had a conflict" with one of the officers he killed. In March, Private Ruslan Mukhatov was found guilty of bullying Shamsutdinov and was handed a suspended two-year prison term.

Deadly shootings among Russian military units as the result of widespread hazing have been a focus of human rights organizations for years.

In November, a soldier at a military air base in the western region of Voronezh shot an officer and two soldiers dead.

In recent years, photos and video footage have been posted online by members of the Russian military that show the severe bullying of young recruits as they are inducted into the army.

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