Dedovshchina (дедовщина) is an extreme form of hazing that has been one of the more shameful aspects of the Russian military for decades. Some say it developed during World War Two, when prisoners were taken from penitentiaries straight into the army, others think it was a product of the ’60s, when the term of service was shortened and soldiers started punishing newcomers who had to serve a year less. Whatever the origin, it seems impossible to eradicate, despite horror stories like that of Andrei Sychev (see-CHOFF); Sunday’s NY Times had a story by Steven Lee Myers describing the situation, with depressing quotes like “By the military’s own count, disputed as conservative, 16 soldiers were killed by dedovshchina last year, while an additional 276 committed suicide” and (from the minister of defense) “I think nothing serious happened… Otherwise, I would have certainly known about it.”
However, none of this is Languagehat-related. This, from the sixth paragraph of the story, is:
The trial, however, has cast doubt on the military’s prosecution and showed how deeply rooted dedovshchina (pronounced de-DOV-she-na) remains in Russia’s barracks, still largely filled with conscripts despite overwhelming opposition to the draft.
The parenthetical information I have put in bold is wrong [or at least inadequate]. The simplification of shch to sh is reasonable anglicization, but the damn stress is on the wrong damn syllable: it’s di-duhf-SHCHEE-nuh [in standard Russian]. The accent is indicated at the Russian Wikipedia article from which I drew my information about the history of the practice. Now, I don’t expect Times reporters, editors, and proofreaders to know Russian, but is it asking too much that they check with a Russian before embarrassing themselves with an incorrect pronunciation? If you’re not going to bother finding out the facts, at least don’t make something up.
(It may be, of course, that there is an alternate pronunciation, in which case I’m sure one of my Russian-speaking readers will so inform me.)
Update. In the comments, the estimable mab informs me that there is indeed an alternate pronunciation, which was presumably used by whoever the Times consulted. Sorry, Times: my outrage was excessive. But if you didn’t deserve it today, you’ll deserve it tomorrow, as the parent told the naughty child.