Guns n' goulash: New recruit's Instagram photo diary gives rare and very raw glimpse into life in the Russian army
Life in the Russian army gets the instagram treatment in this amazing set of pictures posted by an anonymous recruit which give a fascinating glimpse into the brutal regime the young men are forced to endure.
From the appalling-looking food on offer, to the tough training drills which take place in freezing conditions, it is easy to see why tens of thousands of young Russian men go to extraordinary lengths to escape military service.
Reminders of the old Soviet Union are to be seen everywhere - a dog-tag identity plate bears the old CCCP abbreviation while hats and belts carry the star as well as the hammer and sickle symbols. A bar of chocolate has the words 'Discipline is the mother of victory, A. Suvorov', written on the packet.
You're in the army now: A young Russian army recruit has posted a series of fascinating pictures of his military service and the tough regime young men are forced to endure
Kit: Soldiers lay out their packs and equipment for inspection before an exercise (left) and one of the grim looking meals they are forced to endure (right)
In Russia all men between the ages of 18 and 27 are required to present themselves for military service providing the meet the minimal health requirements. However it is such a terrifying prospect that only a fraction of those eligible turn up - with most using any means necessary to dodge the draft. A common trick is for families to doctor medical records so their sons appear unfit to serve.
Although there have been efforts to reform the army in recent years, conditions reportedly remain appalling with reports of bullying, torture and rape common.
Recruits are often forced to endure a brutal initiation ritual where they are kicked and beaten. There are frequent suicides as well as reports of recruits dying in preventable accidents and due to medical negligence.
Prang: A Russian army truck after a crash (left) and soldiers are pictured doing chin up exercises in freezing conditions as their instructors watch on (right)
Heave: Two soldiers struggle to move a heavy truck tyre during an exercise (left) and a dog-tag identity plate bearing the old CCCP abbreviation for the Soviet Union (right)
R and R: Soldiers watch a boxing match under the close supervision of their senior officers (left) and a young Russian recruit asleep on his bunk (right)
Guns n' goulash: A picture of the soldier's seemingly well-used rifle (left) and a cup of dubious-looking brown stew (right)
Self portrait: One of the recruits takes a picture of himself in the toilet block mirror (left) and A long table laid out with bottles of Pepsi and party food (right)
Austere: A selection of shots from in and around the training base (left) and of the surrounding area (right)
Conked out: An exhausted young recruit asleep over a table (left) while another is pictured flat out in the back of a truck
A row of posters outside a military building carry the pictures of Russian war heroes (left) while water bottles and cooking equipment lie on the floor of a storeroom (right)
A pack of army chocolate with the words 'Discipline is the mother of victory, A. Suvorov', written on the packet (left) and an army hat and belt with the star and hammer and sickle symbols of the old Communist Union (right)
Feet up: A soldier photographs his own feet as he stretches out on a top bunk (left) while the barracks cat takes a break from mousing duties (right)
Daily scoff: Another rather unappetising-looking meal (left), and a recruit is spraying the barracks with what is presumable disinfectant (right)
Crashed out: Soldiers slumped out in a store room (left) and a plug socket in a crumbling old wall paints a sombre picture (right)