The number of conscripts who suffer physical abuse at the hands of their colleagues in the Russian armed forces has grown significantly in 2010, the Vedomosti daily said on Tuesday.
Hazing - the physical and psychological torture of younger conscripts by their elders - has long been a problem in Russia and has its roots in the Soviet era.
During January-May 2010, 1,167 draftees were subjected to hazing, an increase of 150% during the same period in 2009, the paper said.
However, the number of deaths in non-combat situations has decreased dramatically. According to official figures, while 1,064 servicemen died away from the battlefield in 2005, the figure was only 471 in 2008. In the first 10 months of 2009, 297 soldiers died.
Lax conscription requirements mean there are some 20,000 men with criminal records in the Russian armed forces. In 2007, Russia's chief prosecutor called the army, "a source of lawlessness."
However, Russia will continue to rely heavily on conscription to man its armed forces in the near future rather than make a transition to fully professional army, a senior military official said in late May.
MOSCOW, July 27 (RIA Novosti)