Russian troops ride a military vehicle at an undisclosed location in a still taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service in July 2023
Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
Russian commanders beat soldiers they find drinking, a Russian solider complained in intercepted audio.
That’s despite the commanders drinking themselves, the soldier said.
The punishment for being caught smelling of alcohol was being hit with a stick, the recording said.
A Russian soldier complained that his commanders beat anybody they catch drinking alcohol, even though they regularly drink themselves, per intercepted audio.
The complaint about apparent hypocrisy on the front lines came in a recording published by Ukraine’s military-intelligence service. Insider wasn’t able to verify it.
Ukraine gave few details about the soldier, other than saying he was describing the situation at “zero positions” — slang for the front line.
“They drink themselves,” the audio said, referring to the commanders. “And if they notice a soldier with that smell [of alcohol], they beat him with a stick — can you imagine?”
The soldier described one commander who beat a subordinate so much had got broken ribs and a concussion.
In the audio, the soldier described severe losses fighting Ukraine. He said his unit recently got 46 replacement soldiers, but 20 of them had been killed already, with mor injured.
Insider is unable to independently verify the audio.
Reports have abounded of alcohol abuse in the Russian military — including from Insider.
A video that surfaced earlier this year showed around 50 mobilized Russian troops in Ukraine asking their families for help, saying they were brought to the frontlines by a “drunk” commander.
A Russian soldier was also arrested last year, accused of beating a captain to death while “in a state of intoxication,” a Russian military court said.
The UK Ministry of Defence said in April that Russian commanders were punishing soldiers for acts like drunkenness by putting them in rudimentary cells that were made from “holes in the ground” covered with a metal grille
Ukraine has been sharing what it says is intercepted Russian audio since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022. Those have included Russian soldiers seeming to describe how they had been sent to be killed, or were trying to get out of the war, along with extensive complaints about their commanders.
Many Russian soldiers use unencrypted communications, making it easier for their enemies to listen in.