Russian soldier kills 8 in gun attack at Siberian army base

Military conscription is compulsory in Russia for all male citizens aged between 18 and 27. (AFP)
Updated 25 October 2019

Russian soldier kills 8 in gun attack at Siberian army base

  • Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said the shooter was a conscript named Ramil Shamsutdinov and launched a murder case
  • Brutal hazing rituals were a major problem in the Russian army in the 1990s but this has significantly improved in recent years

MOSCOW: A Russian soldier on Friday opened fire on troops at a Siberian military base, killing eight and injuring two, officials said, blaming the attack on a possible “nervous breakdown.”
The incident took place at an army base in the Chita region in eastern Siberia during a change of guard.
“The serviceman who opened fire has been detained,” the defense ministry said in a statement.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said the shooter was a conscript named Ramil Shamsutdinov and launched a murder case.
The base is located in the town of Gorny which is closed to all outsiders without a special permit and is managed by the Ministry of Defense directorate responsible for maintaining Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
Officials claimed the incident was not work related.
“The actions of the serviceman could be the result of a nervous breakdown caused by personal circumstances not connected to his military duty,” the defense ministry said, quoted by Russian news agencies.
The wounded were hospitalized, the ministry said.
Andrei Kurochkin, the deputy chairman of soldiers rights organization Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, said that in general such cases of mass murder are the result of abuse and total desperation.
“Commanders just close their eyes to cases of systematic bullying,” he told AFP.
Senior officers leave victims with no means of complaining by confiscating their phones and overseeing all conversations with relatives, he said.
“They say it’s to protect state secrets, but in reality that’s the last priority,” he said.
When such cases are probed, “investigators come to the base and interview soldiers who have already been briefed on what to say,” Kurochkin said.
State news agency TASS, quoting a source, said two of the victims were officers, while the rest were conscripts and contract servicemen.
TASS said the two wounded were in a serious condition and would probably be flown to Moscow for treatment.
A commission chaired by Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kartapolov was on its way to the base.
A defense ministry spokesman declined to comment when reached by AFP.
Brutal hazing rituals were a major problem in the Russian army in the 1990s but this has significantly improved in recent years.
Military conscription is compulsory in Russia for all male citizens aged between 18 and 27.


UK opposition chief Corbyn apologizes for Labour’s worst election debacle

Updated 44 min 23 sec ago

UK opposition chief Corbyn apologizes for Labour’s worst election debacle

  • But veteran socialist defended his far-left campaign platform and gave no clear indication of when he might step down
  • Labour’s campaign was dogged by voter doubts about its vague position on Brexit

LONDON: Britain’s main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn apologized to supporters on Sunday for overseeing his Labour party’s worst election defeat since before World War II.
But the veteran socialist defended his far-left campaign platform and gave no clear indication of when he might step down.
“I will make no bones about it. The election result on Thursday was a body blow for everyone who so desperately needs real change in our country,” Corbyn wrote in the Sunday Mirror newspaper.
“I wanted to unite the country that I love but I’m sorry that we came up short and I take my responsibility for it.”
Thursday’s snap general election handed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives a mandate to take Britain out of the European Union at the end of next month.
Corbyn said on Friday that he would step down at some point early next year.
But the century-old party has no clear successor and is being riven by infighting within its senior ranks.
Labour’s campaign was dogged by voter doubts about its vague position on Brexit and allegations of anti-Semitism within the party’s senior ranks.
Corbyn tried to shift the campaign’s focus on bread-and-butter social issues traditionally important to Labour voters.
“But despite our best efforts, this election was ultimately about Brexit,” Corbyn admitted in his letter.
“The Tory campaign, amplified by most of the media, managed to persuade many that only Boris Johnson could ‘get Brexit done’,” he said in reference to Johnson’s campaign slogan.
“We will learn the lessons of this defeat, above all by listening to those lifelong Labour voters who we’ve lost in working class communities.”