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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hazing Victim Close to Death

A young conscript is close to death after two drunken officers at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome beat him with belts and then dumped him in a dog cage, an official said Friday.

An officer and a warrant officer at the cosmodrome beat Sergei Sinkonen and a second conscript with belts after drinking heavily to celebrate a wedding, said the local official, who asked not to be identified.

The officers initially came across three conscripts, but one of them ran away, the official said.

After beating him, the officers threw Sinkonen into a cage for guard dogs, where he was found in the morning.

"Unfortunately, Sinkonen's condition is hopeless," the official said. "He is being kept alive by artificial respiration, but he is brain dead now. He is being kept alive by the doctors."

A spokeman for the Space Forces, which runs the cosmodrome, said an investigation had been started and that those guilty would be held accountable.

Sinkonen was born in 1986. Both his mother and sister are at the hospital. The cosmodrome is located in the northern Arkhangelsk region.

Bullying and abuse are commonplace in the military. Conscripts are sometimes killed or seriously injured by beatings, though the Space Forces prides itself on high levels of discipline and is seen as an elite branch of the armed forces.

Doctors last year amputated the legs and genitals of a conscript who was abused at the Chelyabinsk Tank Academy.