A mass interethnic fight took place at the 473rd district training facility for junior specialists (military unit 31612) in the town of Elan (Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia).
According to a report by the URA.RU media portal, citing its sources in the Russian military, the fight involved a group of 60 contract servicemen from Tuva and about 100 local contract servicemen at the Elan military post of the Central Military District. The source also informs of 14 persons with knife inflicted wounds: 13 contract soldiers and 1 officer, who was taken to the city hospital in Ekaterinburg. All individuals injured during the incident serve at the Elan military post (video by the Rain TV channel).
Back in April 2014, Irakli Komaxidze, the OSINT expert at InformNapalm, analysed numerous photographs of ‘green men’ without insignia invading military facilities in Crimea and identified their ethnicity as Tuvan.
In his article ‘Tuva rulez: change of authority in the Russian army’ the author points out that with the appointment of Sergei Kuzhuget-oglu (known in Russia as Sergei Shoigu), an ethnic Tuvan, to the post of the Minister of Defense of Russia, the community of Tuvan servicemen in the military has surpassed the notorious groups of Caucasian origin in their hard-knuckled treatment of peers with Russian ethnic background.
‘The Russian army has a long-standing history of abusive practices among the troops. Typically, the largest majority of servicemen, who are ethnic Russians, become targets of abuse by persons from the Caucasus – Chechens, Ingush, Dagestanis, Kabardians and Ossetians. Shoigu reduced the recruitment of persons from the Caucasus in the Russian Army, while increasing the number of term and contract based servicemen from Tuva. They have taken up the abusive practices by the Caucasians even to a greater degree’, noted Irakliy Komaxidze of InformNapalm in 2014.
The recent events demonstrate that over the three-year period the ethnic conflicts in the Russian Army did not diminish; on the contrary, they have deepened even further. Since the Minister of Defense himself is a Tuvan, this provides reinforcement to the Tuvan community. Meanwhile, a large work group of senior officers from the Central Military District, headed by Lieutenant General Khasan Kaloev, Deputy Commander of the District, has arrived at the Elan training facility for the investigation of circumstances and reasons behind the group fight.