MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian soldier who ran away from his army unit 17 years ago was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison on charges of being absent without official leave (AWOL), the Russian Investigative Committee said on Tuesday.
Anatoly Veryaskin fled his military unit in Russia’s Orenburg Region in 1996 and hid in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, where he earned money occasionally working at local farms.
“The convicted cited hazing at his military unit as the main reason for going AWOL. However, a preliminary investigation did not confirm his allegations,” the committee said.
Hazing is common in the Russian military. It usually affects servicemen of lower ranks who are hazed by their commanders.
Prosecutors in the case initially demanded a seven-year sentence for Veryaskin.