Russian military to check recruits’ tattoos for signs of ‘gay’

As part of the Kremlin cracking down on homosexuality, commanders are being advised to look for tattoos on genitals and buttocks

Russian military to check recruits’ tattoos for signs of ‘gay’
24 January 2013

Russian military recruits’ tattoos are going to be checked, as the Kremlin believes they could reveal signs of homosexuality.

According to the Defence Ministry’s central administration, soldiers will be given a thorough physical examination to look for tattoos in places such as the sexual organs and buttocks.

Based on a 2005 military psychology textbook, it reads: ‘The reason for getting tattoos could indicate a low culture or educational level.

‘If an influence by external factors is determined for example, persuasion or direct coercion, this indicates the malleability of the young man, his disposition to submit to another’s will.’

Officers are advised to hold a personal conversation with the rookie soldiers and ask about first sexual experiences.

According to the St Petersburg Times, a battalion chief assistant was cited as saying he could not imagine strictly following the Kremlin’s guidelines.

He said: What [will the commanders] do, examine their genitals for any tattoos? And how will they ask about someone’s first sexual experience? “Whey, when did you have your first woman, rookie? Answer directly, no beating around the bush!”’  

While the Russian military holds traditional views on sexuality, a UN report from 2007 stated homosexuality and male prostitution is common within the army.

The battalion chief assistant added: ‘I had one gay contract soldier who joined just to find more partners for himself. For people like that, of course, there’s no place in the army.’

The move is the latest in a series of proposed clampdowns on gay people, such as the nationwide ‘homosexual propaganda’ bill.

Despite recent delays, if it is passed the law would punish the vague definition of ‘promotion of homosexuality among minors’ with fines of up to 500,000 roubles ($16,000 €12,000).

It will also include a nationwide ban on holding public events that promote gay rights.

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