Russian military hazing and brain drain
Most people who've had association with college fraternities are familiar with the practice of hazing. In Russian military (and in the Soviet military before that) the hazing is exceptionally brutal. An estimated 5,000 recruits a year die as a result of the military hazing, a practice know as dedovschina. It is time that this practice be seen for what it is.
Dedovschina focuses especially upon recruits who are cerebral rather than brutal. The 5,000 recruits who die each year from it are 5,000 of Russia's best minds. Imagine the entire student body of Harvard slaughtered each year. This is the damage that military hazing inflicts on Russia.
In addition to the 5,000 of Russia's best minds that die each year as a result of dedovschina, there are many thousands who flee the country in order to escape it. For this reason dedovschina causes a vast brain drain and results in Russia losing competitiveness. Nobody actually gets stronger as a result of military hazing. Instead the country gets weak.
For much of recent history, military service in Russia was compulsory. This means that there are people recruited into the military who are simply wrong for the task. There is sense in getting everyone to do some form of social service; there is none in making everyone join the military. The best system on this matter is found in Germany, where young people can choose either to serve in the military for six months or to do a year of community service. That way, the military types get to serve in the military, and the non-military types get to do something useful for the country. Given how many people die from dedovschina and the brain drain that it exerts on Russia as a result, it makes every sense for Russia to adopt the German model. That way, the military will remain strong, and those who are not cut out to be soldiers or would die if they were to go into the military will have a way to contribute meaningfully to the country.
A practice that results in death or departure each year of thousands of Russia's best minds cannot be good for Russia, whatever the people who are engaged in it may say. If not for the military hazing, many brilliant people who are now either dead or abroad would have remained in Russia and been significant contributors to Russia's economy, culture, science, society, technology and higher learning. A practice that has had such consistently terrible results must be revised. Dedovschina makes nobody stronger; it causes severe brain drain and weakens Russia as a result. And it is rightful that Russia's leadership see the brain drain that military hazing exerts on the county and work to end this ugly and self-defeating practice.