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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 20:36 GMT
Tortured soldier flown to Moscow
Conscripts receive their kits at Chelyabinsk Academy
Bullying of conscripts is said to be widespread in the Russian army
A Russian conscript who was badly beaten and tortured by fellow soldiers has been flown to an intensive care unit at a military hospital in Moscow.

At least six men were involved in the attack on Private Andrei Sychyov, whose injuries were so severe his legs and genitals had to be amputated.

The incident took place at the Chelyabinsk Tank Academy in the Ural Mountains on New Year's Eve.

More than 6,000 soldiers were victims of abuse last year, the military said.

The 18-year-old is in a "serious but stable" condition, hospital authorities said. His family has accused local military officials of trying to hush up the attack.

"They sent him to the army a healthy kid. They've given us back only half of my brother," Pte Sychyov's sister told Russian TV.

The BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says the case has shocked the nation, which is growing used to stories of bullying in the Russian army.

The affair has deeply embarrassed the defence ministry and outraged the president, our correspondent said.

Public inquiry

Pte Sychyov contracted gangrene after he was forced to squat for several hours on New Year's Eve, then tied to chairs and beaten, according to investigators.

Investigators said more senior soldiers carried out the beatings, with the co-operation of commanding officers.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov
Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov has ordered a public inquiry

Russia's defence minister ordered a military commission to look into the attack and said the findings would be made public.

The authorities have been criticised by human rights groups who say the response to the incidents at the academy has been slow.

Media reports suggest the academy, which is situated about 1,900 km (1,180 miles) east of Moscow, may now be closed down.

Russian conscripts found hanged
20 Apr 05 |  Europe

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