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    Soldier arrested in hazing case in Russian Far East

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    KHABAROVSK, February 9 (RIA Novosti, Larissa Dokuchayeva) - A soldier has been arrested in the Russian Far East in connection with a hazing attack on a fellow serviceman in 2005 in what represents the latest probe into army bullying in the country, local prosecutors said Thursday.

    According to the local prosecutor's office, Sergeant Dmitry Nagaitzev admitted that he had beaten Yevgeny Koblov because the latter had allegedly performed his duties poorly.

    After the incident in May last year, Koblov fled his military unit and went into hiding in a residential building's basement for 23 days without food. As a result of the beatings he had suffered and the cold in the basement, he lost the use of his legs and was unable to move before he was found by a plumber. Doctors later amputated both of the conscripts' legs up to the knee.

    Although the original investigation into the incident focused on Koblov's decision to run away from his base, Nagaitzev was arrested under a new criminal case opened by prosecutors in the wake of a recent brutal hazing attack in the Ural Mountain city of Chelyabinsk, 1,180 miles east of Moscow. Private Andrei Sychev, a student of a tank academy, had to have both of his legs and genitals amputated after allegedly being beaten and tortured during the New Year's Eve holidays. The case has caused an outcry across the country.

    According to official Russian statistics, 16 servicemen died in incidents involving bullying last year, but experts contend the actual number is much higher, as the official figures do not take into account hazing-related suicides.

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