Wednesday, September 6, 2017

‘Is It Easy to Serve the Motherland without Soap and Toilet Paper?’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 5 – The mother of a Russian soldier serving in the ranks of the Russian Guard, which is directly subordinate to Vladimir Putin, has complained that thievery is rife in its ranks and that soldiers often have to do without personal hygienic supplies like soap and toilet paper.

            She posted her complaint on a site that was created to prompt official responses officials   (лицавласти.рф/vopros/47889/obespechenie-i-soderganie-vch.html),  from which she received no answer; but when Novyye izvestiya then readdressed it to the Russian Guard, an answer of a sort arrived (

            Natalya, who did not give her last name lest she get her son and others in trouble, wrote to the Litsa Vlasti portal with some simple questions: “Why aren’t soldiers given basic hygenic supplies? No one says that they should be given shampoo or gels but simply basic toilet paper and soap power should be.”

            And further, she asks, “why must soldiers sign documents that they have received such things when in fact they have not?”

            But because she did not give her last name and thus the last name of the soldier involved, officials were free not to answer.  When Novyye izvestiya contacted the Russian Guard, it pointed out that Federal Law No. 59 precludes a response unless there is a full name given of the one lodging a complaint.
            The paper’s Oleg Goryunov says that he was glad to get that much although it means that he can’t say for sure what the state of soap powder and toilet paper is for members of the Russian Guard or how much thievery is going on there.  Consequently, he adds, he has been forced to turn to other sources.

            One Internet portal provides ( numerous reports about the corruption in the military and the failure of commanders to provide soldiers with the basic necessities they are supposed to, as well as all the means they routinely use to hide what they are doing.

            Goryunov then reports that he spoke with Igor Trofimov, the creator of the Litsa Vlasti site, to ask about what that portal does and how officials react.  According to Trofimov, by posting such questions and complaints, he hopes to shame officials into responding; but many feel no pressure to do so given existing law and practice.

            As a result, the Novyye izvestiya journalist concludes, there is no one besides the soldiers themselves who are capable of answering the question: “Is it easy to serve the Motherland” and especially one of its most elite units “without soap and toilet paper?”

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