Guidelines are being issued to the Russian army to check soldiers for intimate tattoos but a defence source denied gay men were being targeted. According to the advice, tattoos are a useful indication of character.
"Special attention should be paid to tattoos around the face, and on the sex
organs and buttocks," it notes. The defence source said it was a matter of health and appearance, not
soldiers' sexual orientation. The guidelines, which cover all aspects of military life, say that tattoos may indicate a "low cultural and educational level" and
"possible sexual deviations".
A young man who allows himself to be tattooed may be inclined to "submit to
the will of others", they warn. Two unnamed sources, a military psychologist and a
deputy battalion commander, argued that gay soldiers were an unwelcome
distraction in the army.
However, an unnamed senior defence ministry official said: "The commander and his deputy should monitor the health
of the soldier and his appearance, not his sexual experience and sexual
orientation." The state of a soldier's skin was more properly a question for army medical
commissions, he added.