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This term normally refers the inhabitants of Dagestan, an autonomous region in the North Caucasus in southern Russia. In the context of this report, it refers to conscripts of non-Russian ethnicity, particularly from the entire North Caucasus region.

Ded  (plural: dedy)

Grandfather. In the informal hierarchy in the Russian armed forces, conscripts who have performed from eighteen to twenty-one months of military service are called grandfathers. In this report, ded is used for all conscripts who have served more than one year in the armed forces.


This term can be loosely translated as the “rule of the grandfathers.” It refers to an informal system of initiation in the Russian armed forces in the context of which second-year conscripts brutally haze new recruits throughout the first year of their military service.

Dembel (plural: dembeli)

This term refers to conscripts who have entered the last hundred days of their military service. It is derived from the word demobilizatsia or discharge.

Dukh (plural: dukhi)

Scent or ghost. This is a derogatory term used by second-year conscripts for new recruits during their first six months of service.


A tradition in accordance with which first-year conscripts must place cigarettes under the pillows of dembeli at night. Failure to do so results in punishment.

<<previous  |  indexOctober 2004