Dorm life ain’t no party

Yuri showed up for his weekly visit the other day. Only he didn’t look well: two black eyes that proved a violent confrontation had befallen him. He had just that day come out of the hospital after nearly a week there! The reason: a couple of fellow students had come to pay him a visit and ask to play his guitar. When he refused, they put him in his place, as it were – beating him for an hour and a half! He didn’t go to the hospital until the next day, and never called us!


Boy, was I in for an education. What Yuri experienced is called дедовщина (dyedovshina), a term normally reserved for the way new army recruits are hazed by the older cadets. It turns out it’s also practiced (according to Luba at the Harbor) in 98% of all male dorms, and 97% of even female dorms. This from a research proposal I found online (through Google translation):

Dorms, to some extent, became the main feature of the “socialist way of life”, they formed a special subculture, which has many varieties. It is not only criminal subculture gulag barracks, but also a subculture of communal dormitory and “great construction projects of communism”, a subculture in a secure dorm limitchik urban subculture of military barracks, barracks for the temporary accommodation of agricultural seasonal workers, a subculture of student dormitory, etc. During the years of Soviet power grew, and brought up more than one generation of people who had no hearth and home, past and communal dormitories, having learned their language, customs, values, norms of behavior, the twisted psychology of interpersonal and intergroup relations.

Dorms have always been a zone of high crime rates, special kinds of immoral behavior (alcoholism, drug addiction, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, profanity, etc.). This applies to vocational school dorms. With the crisis experienced by our society, the decline in the economy, with increasing migration, decline in living standards for people subculture hostel PTU (vocational schools) has a strong further advance in the direction of criminalization. Overcoming the effects of this particular subculture on the behavior of individuals and groups, its decriminalization, the formation of humanistic subculture of young people living in dormitories PTU – these are tasks that must be addressed.

So did Yuri go to the police? No way. He explained that since these guys had a record, they would be arrested, and then their friends (they are from the Caucuses where nationalist loyalties are really high) would come and possibly kill him. The dorm “commander” found out about the incident, but Yuri told her that everything is OK. She knew the deal, and told him not to be afraid. Somehow she has the bullies under threat without jeopardizing Yuri’s safety either. Thankfully, she cared enough to intervene.

Luba told me that they had warned Yuri when he left the Harbor a year ago about this kind of thing. As a weak guy with no experience in defending himself (having grown up in a Christian orphanage), he was a rather poor candidate for going to such an environment. But he insisted. Wanted his independence and a free place to stay. I guess we should be amazed he lasted this long! Pray for his safety. If this continues, he will have to consider leaving not only the dorm, but school altogether, as he would have to go earn a living to pay for a place to stay. Diana and I would likely offer our place if there were no other options.

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