Humiliated and revenging: mass shootings of fellow officers in the Soviet army were the norm

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Humiliated and revenging: mass shootings of fellow officers in the Soviet army were the norm
Humiliated and revenging: mass shootings of fellow officers in the Soviet army were the norm
28 January, 13:36Society
Information about the army massacres in the USSR was strictly classified, however, according to indirect data, it can be said that only in 1971 alone 19 mass murders took place in the army.

On January 28, the defense of Private Ramil Shamsutdinov, who received 24.5 years in prison for shooting his colleagues, filed an appeal against the verdict.

"Today we filed a complaint, in which we note that we consider the verdict of the Second Eastern Military Court to be unfair, as it is too harsh", - said lawyer Ravil Tugushev, specifying that although the jury found Shamsutdinov deserving of leniency, the court chose the maximum possible term, without showing mercy on these terms. Earlier, a military court in Chita sentenced conscript soldier Ramil Shamsutdinov to 24.5 years in prison for shooting colleagues in a military unit in the Trans-Baikal Territory and ordered him to pay compensation of 9.8 million rubles to the relatives of the victims.

On October 25, 2019, a conscript soldier Ramil Shamsutdinov opened fire on his colleagues while changing the guard in the military unit of Transbaikalia. As a result, eight people died, two more received injuries of varying severity. The arrow was detained. The Defense Ministry commission acknowledged that the conscript had "psychological incompatibility" and "interpersonal conflict" with one of the officers on duty.

This tragedy caused a great public outcry in the country, and meanwhile, such events are not at all isolated and have a rich history, including in Soviet times. Popular blogger Denis Grachyov writes in his publication that massacres in the Soviet army were in the order of things:

According to official statistics, there were practically no such incidents in the Soviet army, according to unofficial statistics, the Soviet army was the world leader in terms of the number of mass killings in the army, just all such cases were attributed to "bandit attack on guard with the aim of taking possession of weapons". For example, according to official statistics, in the Soviet army the number of suicides annually was on average 7-8 times higher than in the modern Russian, and 10-12 times higher than in the United States. Moreover, this is already adjusted for the difference in the number of troops of the USSR, the United States and present-day Russia. It is quite logical to assume that there was a similar situation with the massacres, but this type of crime was carefully hidden behind seven seals of protection under the heading "Secret".

The praise of the army service has always been given a special place in Soviet propaganda - after all, a million pairs of free working hands do not just lie on the road every year. Films that opened the eyes of foolish young men to the delights of the army service were regularly shown in cinemas (for example, "Spring Call" in 1976). On TV, the youngsters were waiting for programs like "I Serve the Soviet Union", in which it was shown how soldiers with regular Slavic faces in perfectly fitted uniforms with polished buttons, badges and polished boots "master new technology", "improve their combat and political training" and , most importantly, "pass on knowledge to the young". Such a parquet glamor in uniform. The most important of the arts - cinematography - deserves special attention. In the same "Spring Call", the conscript for some reason resembles not a tortured slave who is sent to hard labor, but the boy Charlie, who was sent a ticket to a magic chocolate factory. Probably, some even believed in the reality of what was happening on the screens, so after the call, many were in for a very unexpected surprise. For example, on the Day of the Defender of the Fatherland (in the USSR this holiday was called the Day of the Soviet Army), on the night of February 23, 1987, the mail and baggage train No. 934 arrived at the Moscow railway station in Leningrad... Should have, but did not get off. The policeman who met the train, worried, entered the carriage to rush the slow defenders of the fatherland. The policeman's excitement intensified when, stepping with one foot on the folding step, he saw a trickle of blood flowing from the car onto the silent iron floor of the vestibule. When he entered the carriage, he saw that all the people in the carriage, including the conductor, were dead. However, no, another soldier mysteriously disappeared. His name was Arturas Sakalauskas, he was called up from Lithuania.

Артурас Сакалаускас

The Balts, as you know, did not go well with the Soviet army from the very first days. The tribal stage of knocking down into fellowship, like among Caucasians and Asians, the Balts have long left behind. But even with the Slavs, they traditionally retained a whole cultural and mental abyss: among the Slavs, cattle-gopnic elements were more common, among the Balts there were quiet domestic boys from the series "on his own mind". Like all nationalities, the Soviet leadership preferred to send the Balts away from their native lands, and if the Caucasians had a fierce intolerance to the Siberian climate, then the Balts had no less fierce intolerance... of the Russians. Because of the discrimination prevailing in the USSR, the small ethnic groups of the Balts, along with the rest of the nationalities, with rare exceptions, were traditionally sent to the worst of the existing troops, and they served them in the Soviet army hardest of all. There is an opinion that in the unit where the Lithuanian served, sexual violence against the Balts was cultivated, and in the case of Sakalauskos, this fact was confirmed by the expertise. According to the stories of people who knew him, he was not a timid guy, on the contrary, he could rush to separate the fighting drunks, risking getting under the knife. However, they soon brought him to white heat.

Unable to endure the bullying, in February 1987, Sakalauskas applied for a transfer to another unit. His request was granted, but before the transfer, the company commander decided to send him on the last combat mission - escorting prisoners on the way from Leningrad to one of the cities of Siberia. Before leaving, Sakalauskas told his friend Rozhanskas, also called up from Vilnius and also mercilessly poisoned by Russian-Asian colleagues, that he was on the same team with “the biggest bastards”, and expressed the opinion that the company commander had deliberately brought them together.

The composition of the convoy was divided as follows: half of the order consisted of Russians, the other half of Uzbeks and Tajiks. Interestingly, all the Russians who were in the car that night were from remote villages, i.e. people who were deliberately at the same stage of cultural development with the Tajiks, which allowed these two groups to easily find a common language and interests. In addition, the hatred of the rural people for the urban is a well-known thing, but, of course, it’s not just a social difference: Sakalauskas was simply different. Balts, domestic, quiet, withdrawn, stubborn, - unforgivably different, and this aroused hatred.

One of the escorted criminals, a three-time convicted repeat offender Yevtukhov said that he was numb, looking at the chaos that was happening to Sakalauskas. “When I saw how the soldiers of the guard mock each other, I was just numb. Even among repeat offenders and criminals, relations are warmer and more friendly than those of these soldiers". And this was not the first guard in his memory, and they all differed little, except that Sakalauskas was mocked especially inventively. Another prisoner, Mikhailov, noted: “I will not write or say anything. I think they will figure it out without me. I can only say one thing. What your "henchmen" did, you rarely see even in the zone".

The denouement of this drama was as follows: Sakalauskas took out a trunk and sawed out the whole car. Presumably, the criminals themselves could have prompted him to do this, who from behind bars periodically asked: "Why do you endure this?"

Сержант Слесарев, один из убитых мучителей

And this is not the first (and even less the last) incident associated with massacres at that time, but it is the most significant, since the ethnic background of the incident hit the agenda of news agencies exactly at the time when the liberation movements of the national republics were in dire need of their national hero... and the Baltics received this hero.

A similar case with the execution of colleagues in a convoy train took place in 1973 - according to that episode, the film "On the Guard" was even filmed in 1989. Or another case in the same Leningrad - on May 19, 1978, a 2nd year student of the Higher Political School of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR, located in Leningrad, Anatoly Fedorenko shot two changes of the guard in the guardroom - one who was awake and one who was resting. Officially, it was called the same "bandit attack with the aim of taking over...".

There were also cases of mass murders on the basis of drunken everyday life among soldiers. For example, Lance corporal Yuri Gaev on November 23, 1970 laid down half of the barracks because of a banal quarrel with a sergeant. And it all started the same way with the train: they got used to, got into a fight, the loser waited for the arrival at the station, after which he ran for a firearm, in order to explain to the offenders exactly what they were wrong about. At the same time, they were traveling from a business trip, being armed with SKS carbines (Simonov's semi-automatic carbine).

This story is also notable for the small but extremely important details that characterize the overall picture of the "order" of the Soviet era. For example, why didn't Gaev, who was about to shoot the commander, do it right in the carriage? It would seem that take a carbine and shoot the hated commander! And for some reason he ran to the unit. In fact, one of the great Soviet secrets is hidden in the reasons for his escape: not all the soldiers who took the guard were given cartridges. Although there is a certain element of absurdity in the very fact of serving unarmed servicemen, such absurdism was almost the norm for the Soviet Union. But a soldier without ammunition is less likely to open fire at his fellow soldiers or commit suicide - it's obvious! It is for this reason that the practice of joining an outfit without cartridges became in the Armed Forces of the USSR in the mid-1960s. ubiquitous. So, no matter under whatever labels they hide the truth, this modest fact alone clearly shows that the Soviet government was really afraid to equip soldiers with military weapons.

And, obviously, she was afraid, for a reason. Despite the secrecy of the information, rough estimates can be made: in 1971, 19 servicemen were sentenced to death. For murder, people were almost never sentenced to death in the USSR. But for the murder of "two or more people" - how. So with a certain degree of certainty, we can assume that we are talking about 19 mass murderers in one year...

By the way, in the archives of Western newspapers you can find a gigantic layer of information about manifestations and incidents, about which no one in Russia at all knows; events and incidents that are not found in reports or statistics. Even from the headlines in "The Time" one can find out that "The insane Russian kills 17 people and burns the city", and this concerns the terrorist Pyotr Grachev, who "did not exist" in Russia then and does not exist to this day.

Or a note from the Bavarian newspaper Passauer Neue Presse dated November 29, 1952, which tells how a Soviet officer ate himself to death in a local express restaurant car, and after the waiter refused to pour him more vodka, he made a drunken brawl that ended shooting and killing 4 Germans. At the next station, the killer was removed from the train by the police, and the information was classified. The name and further fate of the soldier is unknown...

P. S.

Arturas Sakalauskas was put on the wanted list, his photographs were hung in public places in Leningrad, the city was constantly combed by military and police patrols. He was identified by one of the passengers on the bus, after which he was detained; during the arrest he did not show any resistance.

Sakalauskas gave extensive testimony, detailing the bullying, attempted rape and the murders themselves. According to him, the bullying took place in front of the transported convicts; many of them urged the military to become even more brutal. To verify these testimonies, the investigators had to go around the many correctional labor colonies to which the special wagon delivered the convicts during this flight. All the convicts traveling in the car were interrogated, their testimonies confirmed the words of Sakalauskas and were entered into the materials of the criminal case.

During the investigation, the detainee began to develop a reactive psychosis. In 1989, the doctors concluded that at the time of the crime, Arturas "was in a state of deep psychological crisis with mental deformation".

In 1990, Sakalauskas was tried; the accused himself was not present in the courtroom, being in a psychiatric clinic. Sakalauskas' lawyer Yiustinas Aleksandravičius said that in Matrosskaya Tishina his client was forcibly injected with potent psychotropic substances that destroy the psyche (this was the easiest way out of a delicate situation for the army leadership - to make Arturas a maniac-murderer with a pronounced mental disorder). As a result, Sakalauskas was not convicted, only a private ruling was issued in relation to the army unit in which he served.

After several years of unsuccessful treatment, Russia extradited Sakalauskas to Lithuania. Over the next five years, he was on compulsory treatment in a Lithuanian clinic. According to some reports, he managed to cope with mental illness, socially adapted and now lives with his wife and children in Lithuania, according to others, he continues to be in a psychiatric hospital

During the time the Sakalauskas case lasted, his parents (Adolfas and Olga) became disabled of the II group.

A series of publications by Denis Grachev on crime in the Soviet army can be found here.

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