Mark's Reviews > One Soldier's War

One Soldier's War by Arkady Babchenko
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's review
Apr 30, 2008

really liked it
Read in May, 2008

This is a very sad and true tale of life in modern day Russia. That is, life, if you are a conscript in the Russian Federal Army. The author laments days, turning into weeks, turning into months, turning in to years of misery at the hand of sadistic senior, non and commissioned officers. The practice of Dedovshchina (described below) having thought to predate 1917's Bolshovic Revolution, has kept the Russian military in chains for the past 240 years. Indeed had old man winter not snuffed out both Napoleon and Hitler's minions, the Russian army may not have proven an effective fighting force due to low moral caused from this barbaric, yet unofficial practice. This tome also brings the futility of forcing Georgia's loyalty to the mother ship. It seems that anywhere Islam creeps into the picture, it becomes a war of clans and tribes, thus making it an already mixed up mess for the leaderless Russian Army to figure out.

Dedovshchina (Russian: дедовщи́на) is the name given to the informal system of subjugation of new junior conscripts for the Russian armed forces, Interior Ministry, and (to a much lesser extent) FSB (today's KGB) border guards to brutalization by the conscripts of the last year of service as well as NCOs and officers.

Dedovshchina involves a spectrum of subordinating activities performed by the junior ranks: from carrying out chores of the senior ranks to violent (and in extraordinary circumstances fatal) hazing, being not unlike an extremely vicious form of bullying. It is often cited as a major source of poor morale in the ranks.

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