A joint investigation by Important Stories (IStories) and the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) has revealed the existence of torture pits at two Russian military centers where volunteers are trained before being sent to war.
The investigation found the pits at the Totsky training ground in the Orenburg Region and the Prudboy facility in the Volgograd Region. According to soldiers who underwent training there and spoke to journalists, these training sites have purposefully excavated pits to punish violators.
“The most rowdy ones, according to [their] stories, were thrown into pits in the street after the beating, covered with a lid, and that was it. There was a moment when a fellow soldier caught drinking was threatened in front of me: ‘Now we’ll put you in a fucking pit and you’ll sit there!” The same guys used to take [volunteers] to the training ground in their underwear, barefoot — they disgraced them on the orders of the unit commander.’” — one of the sources told IStories.
The investigators were able to confirm the existence of the torture pits by studying satellite images.
In the summer, Dmitry Medvedev visited the Totsky training ground to ”report on the political and combat training of future special operation participants” to Vladimir Putin.
“On that day, training points were set up all over the range, which he drove around and looked at. He was shown new military equipment, although we had old-style tanks: three [new] tanks were brought to us from another district. When Medvedev arrived, the tankers received a command to make ten tanks out of three. And the poor tankers, they were continuously rolling around in circles to simulate more tanks,” said a volunteer who was training at the range at the time.