Russia: Conscript Seeks Asylum in Georgia

Global Voices Online
Thursday, January 29, 2009

Aleksandr Glukhov, a 21-year-old Russian conscript, has asked for asylum in the Republic of Georgia to escape the "unbearable conditions" in the Russian army. One of Glukhov's media appearances took place as he was dining at a McDonald's restaurant in Tbilisi. Russian officials claim that Glukhov was captured by Georgian armed forces in South Ossetia, where he was performing his compulsory military service, and taken to the Georgian capital. Quite a few people in Russia seem to consider Glukhov "a traitor." Below are some of the reactions from the Russophone blogosphere.

LJ user shurigin:

[...] The defense ministry is currently [trying to figure out how all this could have happened]. To begin with, it turns out that this soldier is a conscript. How he got to South Ossetia, despite the order to staff military units with contract soldiers - no one can answer this question coherently.

LJ user introvertoff:

I was on the way home late at night yesterday. On a [bus], in addition to me, there was a bus driver, a couple of men and a couple of women, aged 50 to 60. The radio was playing the news:

"And, finally, metropolitan Kirill becomes the finalist of the "choose the patriarch" game," - the radio was saying something like this, only in a more formal style. [...] The bus filled with happy noise - women and men started a joyful discussion about how they worried, how they hoped, how they prayed. They are happy that the Church will now turn to the right path, etc.

And suddenly! They started talking about the news of the deserter Sergeant Glukhov on the radio. And the happy noise was replaced with angry cries - "How could he!", "A dirty deserter!", "He's exchanged his motherland for junk food!", "And he was under oath!", "Impale him, the dog, impale him!" Orthodox Christians, who were [wiping tears of joy] a minute ago, turned into bloodthirsty fanatics demanding punishment for a traitor! [...]

LJ user drugoi:

[...] He's not a traitor, of course. Just a fool, immature, a boy. He doesn't belong in the army, he should be making sand pies in a sandbox still.

LJ user mike67:

Maybe Glukhov deserves condemnation, but how to do it when you are weeping with laughter? [...]

When it turns out that a soldier has defected to the enemy because his unit didn't have a bath and the commander was cursing when orders weren't carried out... No one believes this. They are looking for politics, suspect pressure from the Georgian side. What pressure? Wake up: it's the same people who interpret a request to take out the garbage as an attempt on their human dignity. This is a free generation, [...], and they sure know about honor and dignity a lot more than we do.


No one is getting it: it's not politics, it's an infantile generation, raised on [...] an opportunity to take a loan for a plasma-panel display - or even a car - right after high school. [...] The idea that every person deserves the best [...] is spreading around the world like a virus. [...]

A note on the living conditions in the Russian army, by LJ user shabolovka38, in a comment to LJ user grazy-gunner's post:

[...] And one woman there says: Yes, the conditions are bad. They live in tents, heated by stoves.

And where are soldiers supposed to live? In a cottage?

LJ user budimir:

Aleksandr Glukhov: «I'm loving it!».

McDonald's has launched a creative [...] advertisement: a Russian soldier, unable to bear the hardships of service in South Ossetia, where they didn't feed him properly, deserts to the Georgian side and finds happiness there [...].

LJ user merjageko:

I wonder if Russia is going to send tanks to Georgia, to save Sergeant Glukhov? Because he's being tortured with McDonald's there...

LJ user neznaika-nalune asks:

Tell me, is an out-of-the-way McDonald's with peeling walls a new symbol of the "famed Georgian hospitality" and the "famous Georgian cuisine?"

LJ user taganay replies:

This kind of hospitality befits this kind of a defector.

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