Putin tells prosecutors to get tough with army hazing

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MOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin said Thursday that prosecutors should react vigorously to all cases of hazing in the army.

"We should pay more serious attention to guaranteeing personal rights and ensuring the social guarantees of servicemen and take an extremely firm stance on any cases of hazing and bullying in the army," Putin said at an extended session of the Prosecutor General's Office board.

He said any attempts to conceal these cases should also be punished, as this is "a key issue for the development of the armed forces, increasing their military efficiency and public prestige."

Putin's statement came in the wake of recent hazing cases in the Russian army, including one horrific incident that left a soldier completely disabled.

Putin also said significant funds had been allocated for strengthen the armed forces in 2006 and that the defense order had been increased by 25%.

"Strict control should be maintained in the sphere of the technical modernization of the armed forces," he said.

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