The Mother's Right Foundation is a non-profit, public charitable organization that protects the rights of parents whose sons died in peacetime military service on the territory of the Russian Federation because of crimes, unsanitary conditions, abnormal psychological atmosphere and other reasons. Its history started in 1989. It was officially registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation on March 4, 1993. On June 16, 1999, it was re-registered by the Moscow Justice Department under the Federal Law ‘On Public Organizations'. The Foundation data were included in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities on December 19, 2002.
The Foundation's work is determined by such activities as:
- a). Social and Legal Support and Protection to Families of Dead Soldiers;
- b) Law Making and Cooperation with State Power Bodies;
- c) Sociological Researches on Human Rights Violations in Army;
- d) Publishing;
- e) Informing;
- f) Non-Financial Support to Parents of Dead Soldiers;
- g) Financial Support to Parents of Dead Servicemen;
- h) Moral and Psychological Rehabilitation of Parents of Dead Soldiers;
- i) Participation in Conferences and Seminars;
- j) Work with Volunteers and Probationers; etc.
•I. LEGAL SUPPORT
In its work, the Foundation encounters parents' absolute ignorance of their own rights, as well as their incapability to realize these rights. They do not appeal against illegal investigations, court decisions, and denials of state bodies. Such situation is the cause of impunity. Accordingly, legal education is the main social support rendered by the Mother's Right Foundation to families of dead servicemen.
During the period from January 1 to December 31, 2009, the following lawyers worked at the Foundation: Nadezhda Kuzina, Julia Lebedeva, Anna Mukaseyeva, Tatiana Sladkova, Zarema Yusupova, Kristina Shipilina.
The Foundation renders legal support directly (receptions, consultations) and through mail (answers to letters). Parents of dead servicemen receive consultations of the Foundation lawyers specializing in different areas:
- Criminal Law and Procedure (protection of victims' rights);
- Compensation for Moral Damage;
- Social Insurance (pensions, benefits, measures of social support, insurances, and etc.).
During the period January 1 to December 31, 2009, the Foundation received 1622 letters; lawyers received 129 visitors.
Thanks to the Foundation's 377 applications, letters of complaint, and letters of appeal, a number of cases of deaths of servicemen were filed or sent for retrial; pension and benefit cases were considered; etc.
The Foundation received 286 letters of response to its applications, letters of complaint and inquiries (percentage of response - 76%).
Besides, within the period from January 1 to December 31, 2008, 6414 persons made phone calls and applied to the Foundation for consultations and assistance (4776 families of dead servicemen; 1253 applications by organizations of soldiers' parents from different cities and towns, as well as by representatives of mass media).
Within the frame of the Legal Education Program, the Foundation sent 179 kits consisting of normative legal documents (149 - to the parents who applied for the first time and whose sons died in Military Units which did not participate in military actions; 11 - to the parents who applied for the first time and whose sons died during the First Chechen War of 1994-1997; 19 - to those whose sons died in the Second Chechen War of 1999-2006).
A "kit" consists of:
- Instruction booklets: ‘On Criminal Case', ‘On Privileges', ‘On Pensions', ‘Insurance and Benefits'. According to the Foundation practice, they are of considerable help to parents of the deceased, because, as a rule, official organizations do not explain them their rights.
- The Foundation questionnaire for parents to fill in. The questionnaire data enter our computer database on servicemen who died in peacetime military service. This facilitates our work when parents apply for the second time (we need this information when we draw up applications, letters of complaint; when we work with mass media, etc.).
3. Texts of laws (or articles of some Acts) concerning servicemen's families.
The society can influence the human rights situation in different ways. The most effective one is defense in court.
It's a pity that people are reluctant to apply to court. And when they do, they are not skillful enough to win the case. The most difficult situation is in remote places. The second problem is accessibility to professional legal assistance: it is too expensive to hire a lawyer, and the Russian Law does not provide a free lawyer to assist victims of Army crimes. Besides, there are very few lawyers who know the specific character of Army deaths and protection of the rights of servicemen's families.
Since 1990, the Mother's Right Foundation has been helping parents of dead soldiers to realize their rights in court. The Foundation enjoys the reputation of an experienced, competent, uncompromising and honest protector, as well as of a kind and sincere friend ready to help in need. That's why people from all over Russia apply to the Foundation. It's our principle not to take any payment, or commission, or presents from dead soldiers' parents - we work absolutely for free. The Mother's Right Foundation itself pays its lawyers' fees, their business trips to different towns of the Russian Federation, and other expenses (phone calls, mail, etc.) using grants won in annual contests (see the last page of the Report) organized by donor organizations. To protect the rights of parents of dead soldiers, we also use donations transferred to our account with the note: ‘For the Charter Activities of the Foundation.'
During the year of 2009, the Foundation lawyers participated in 132 trials (201 court sessions) in 65 Russian towns. We learned to work in tough conditions: economy tickets and cheapest hotels. We are grateful to the air companies which gave us tickets for free or with considerable discounts, as well as to the hotel managers who helped us to keep our hotel expenses low.
* The Foundation is grateful to:
Ms. Viktoria V. Lozovaya, Director of the Airport Hotel (Rostov-on-Don) for a free room for:
- - the Foundation lawyer, N.V. Kuzina, in January 2009;
- - the Foundation lawyer, A.A. Mukaseyeva, in September 2009;
- - the Foundation lawyer, T.A. Sladkova, in October 2009.
Mr. Vladimir N. Kalinin, Director of the Pyatigorsk Hotel (Pyatigorsk) for free booking of a room for the Foundation lawyer, J.A. Lebedeva, in June 2009.
Ms. Galina V. Kholodilova, Director of the Tagil Hotel (Nizhny Tagil) for a free room for the Foundation lawyer, Z.A. Yusupova, in October 2009.
Ms. Nadezhda F. Obukhova for her assistance in accommodating the Mother's Right Foundation lawyer, T.I. Sladkova, in Orsk Town in October 2009.
Mr. Valery M. Okulov and Mr. Vitaly Gennadievich Saveliev, General Directors of the Aeroflot - Russian Airlines:
- - a ticket for the route Moscow-Vladivostok-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, K.O. Shipilina (90% discount), in March 2009;
- - a ticket for the route Moscow-Samara-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, A.A. Mukaseyeva (90% discount), in May 2009.
Ms. Marina V. Bukalova, General Director of the Sky Express Air Company:
- - a free ticket for the route Moscow - Rostov-on-Don - Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, K.O. Shipilina, in March 2009;
- - a free ticket for the route Moscow - Yekaterinburg - Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, Z.A. Yusupova, in August 2009;
Mr. Vladislav F. Filev, General Director of the S-7 Air Company (Siberia):
- a free ticket for the route Moscow-Krasnodar-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, Z.A. Yusupova, in March 2009;
- a free ticket for the route Moscow-Perm- Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, A.A. Mukaseyeva, in May 2009;
- a free ticket for the route Moscow-Ufa-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, A.A. Mukaseyeva, in November 2009.
Mr. Vladimir I. Yakunin, President of the Russian Railways Open Joint Stock Venture
- a free ticket for the route Moscow-Tambov-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, Z.A. Yusupova, in March 2009;
Mr. Sergei Y. Mikhalchenko, General Director of the Russia Air Company for a free ticket for the route Moscow-St. Petersburg-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, T.I. Sladkova, in May 2009.
Mr. Boris A. Portnikov, General Director of the Orenair Air Company for a free ticket for the route Moscow-Orenburg-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, J.A. Lebedeva, in May 2009.
Mr. Vasily V. Baskakov, General Director of the KAVMINVO-DYAVIA Air Company for a free ticket for the route Moscow-Mineralnye Vody-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, J.A. Lebedeva, in June 2009; for two free tickets for the route Moscow-Mineralnye Vody-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, Z.A. Yusupova, in July 2009.
Mr. Mikhail S. Khatomkin, General Director of the IzhAvia Air Company for a free ticket for the route Moscow-Izhevsk-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, Z.A. Yusupova, in August 2009.
Mr. Alexander V. Stognushenko, General Director of the Kuban AirLines Company for a free ticket for the route Moscow-Krasnodar-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, Z.A. Yusupova, in August 2009.
Mr. Andrei Z. Martirosov, General Director of the YUTair Company for free tickets for the route Moscow-Volgograd-Moscow for the Foundation lawyer, Z.A. Yusupova, in November 2009.
We also thank the Russian Railways, Social Development Department, for its donation of 200,000 roubles. We used this donation to buy 61 railway tickets for 19 routes in the RF.