IA Regnum reported today that a Russian conscript serving in Tajikistan apparently shot himself to death on January 29 while pulling guard duty. A sad though fairly routine occurrence. The reasons are unclear. The unfortunate young man, Danila Chaykin, seemed to be doing well in the service.
But Chaykin wasn’t just any conscript. He previously served alongside Ruslan Ayderkhanov in the Yelan military garrison. You’ll recall several months ago Ayderkhanov was apparently savagely beaten before his attackers hanged him to make it look like he committed suicide.
According to the press agency, Chaykin was a witness in whatever investigation of Ayderkhanov’s death took place. But Ayderkhanov’s case was closed when military investigators almost unbelievably concluded there was no evidence of dedovshchina or other barracks violence. They say he hung himself for personal reasons.
Recapping Interfaks and Life.ru coverage, Lenta says military officials suggest Chaykin took his life because his girlfriend married someone else. But his friends say he didn’t have a girl, and he was due to demob in a couple months. Meanwhile, Life.ru claims Chaykin had six gunshot wounds on his body.
Lenta’s version says Chaykin and Ayderkhanov were friends, and the former was questioned about the latter’s death. Then they transferred Chaykin to Tajikistan.
Transfers of one-year conscripts are pretty rare in the Russian Army, though not unheard of when it comes to manning units in Tajikistan.
It seems a really curious coincidence that Chaykin too would kill himself. Or was it a move to silence an inconvenient witness?
It’s odd too that the Ayderkhanov case — a case of patently obvious abuse –would die so quietly and completely.
Why does the Russian military, or someone higher up, want to conceal the truth about what happened at Yelan? The authorities are very nervous about crimes that take place on a “national” [i.e. ethnic] basis. It’s been postulated that Ayderkhanov was targeted because he was Tatar.
As recently as five or six years ago, there were people who would fight for answers and accountability. One fears there are fewer today. Maybe fear itself is greater now.