Brutal practices in the armed forces of the Russian Federation – suspension of human rights; poor living and working conditions, including deprivation of food and warmth; beatings; humiliations; torture; abuse – cause mental health damage to military personnel. Those most profoundly affected are the young conscripts, often straight from school who suffer this inhuman treatment for 2 years and then are released back into society with no vocational training, their sense of right and wrong destroyed and often suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The authorities offer them no help to recover and settle into civilian life. In their desperation and traumatised state, they too often turn to criminality, drug abuse, even suicide. The Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia is the only organisation seeking practical ways to make the authorities acknowledge this situation, demanding military reform and the abolition of enforced conscription. However, those in power, too, have been through the military system and themselves show symptoms of the same mental damage. Justice for those who have suffered this mistreatment is a powerful tool in helping conscripts recover and their parents cope with their son's aberrant behaviour.
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