Russian spy commanders allegedly beat and sexually abused soldiers

Russian intelligence officers are accused of subjecting soldiers to sexual violence and beatings in new abuse scandal days after ‘torture conveyer belt’ was revealed in Putin’s prisons

  • Two GRU commanders under investigation for alleged abuse of their own troops 
  • Major Oleg Panov and Captain Alexander Yerushevich allegedly tried up and beat one private, and raped another with a mop handle  
  • Meanwhile video revealed one soldier beating another in Russia’s Dagestan region, with the apparent blessing of his commanders 
  • Comes after videos exposed horrifying rapes and sexual abuse inside prisons 

Russian spy agency commanders subjected their soldiers to serious sexual and physical abuse, activists say, in just the latest torture scandal to hit the country. 

Major Oleg Panov, commander of a GRU squadron in Russia’s Far East, has been arrested over the abuse along with deputy Captain Alexander Yerushevich.

The pair are accused of abusing soldiers under their command, including one who was raped with a mop handle and another who was tied to a tree naked and beaten.

Meanwhile footage revealed one soldier beating another in the Dagestan region, with the apparent approval of their commanders.

The leaks come after a horrifying ‘conveyor belt of torture’ within Russia’s prisons was exposed, with inmates raped and sexually abused on camera then blackmailed into abusing their fellow prisoners using the footage.

Russian soldiers and their commanders have been accused of presiding over a culture of physical and sexual abuse that it just the latest to rock the country

The investigation into Panov and Yerushevich was only revealed after prosecuting documents were leaked to Russian media last month – including campaigners at sites, BAZA, and Lenta.

Documents show the pair are facing three separate allegations dating back to August 2020, when Panov is accused of abusing a corporal with a mop handle.

Panov, a father-of-three, is accused of putting a surgical glove over the end of the mop and jabbing the corporal in the crotch – threatening to rape him with it while Yerushevich joined in.

The second incident dates to November the same year, when Panov allegedly had a private tied naked to a tree after the man refused to pay him money.

Panov and Yerushevich are then accused of beating the man, including whipping him with a wooden pole across his back, before Panov ‘threatened to staple his genitals to a tree’.

And in January this year, Panov allegedly raped a private with a mop handle after placing a condom over the end of it. The man was also beaten.

Both Panov and Yerushevich have been arrested, campaigners say, and are facing possible ten-year sentences as part of a criminal prosecution.

In a separate incident, video apparently taken in the Dagestan region – which borders Georgia and Azerbaijan – showed one solider savagely beating another.

Footage shows one man curled up on the floor of what seems to be a military dorm while another stands over him, shouting abuse.

The soldier then rains down a series of kicks and punches on the other man, at one point kneeing and kicking him in the head.

Despite being surrounded by other soldiers, nobody steps in to assist the soldier.

The leaked allegations and military video are just the latest to emerge in a torture and rape scandal that has rocked Russia, after a horrifying ‘conveyor belt of torture’ was uncovered in prisons.

Vladimir Osechkin, the campaigner behind, exposed the scandal after publishing a series of disturbing videos which he said detail the abuse. 

Osechkin said the material was kept by guards within Russia’s prison service as a means to blackmail inmates into abusing one-another.

The footage was leaked by a former prisoner who was asked to archive the material while in jail, Osechkin claimed.

It comes after leaked videos exposed a horrifying ‘conveyor belt’ of rape and torture within Russian prisons, including inmates who were urinated on (pictured) 

Campaigners say they were handed a 40Gb trove of video smuggled out of Russia’s prison service by an inmate who was tasked with archiving the sick material

The videos include a man screaming in pain as he is violated with a mop handle inside a tuberculosis hospital, one male prisoner raping another who is tied to a bed, and a group of inmates urinating on another man. 

Russian authorities have fired five senior prison officials, including the director of the prison where the alleged abuse took place and the head of the regional prison service, and opened a slew of criminal investigations over the footage.

The new allegations of torture relate to the 78th special-purpose squad of the GRU, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency akin to America’s CIA.

Its agents have been implicated in a number of overseas spying and assassination plots, including the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK. 

The elite 78th squadron is part of the 14th special forces brigade.

The unit specialises in reconnaissance and special missions behind enemy lines, and is headquartered in Khabarovsk. 

In June last year, Fokinsky garrison military court found a contract sergeant of the Marine Corps Brigade of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, Denis Kraskin, guilty of violent acts of a sexual nature committed against a person under the age of 14.

He was jailed for 16 years in a strict regime penal colony. 

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