2012/05/29 "Bullying, Extortion, Connivance"
  • Press Release No. 45/1479
  • 29/05/2012

Today the 35th Garrison Court, Petropavlovsk-on-Kamchatka, under the chairmanship of Judge Roman Zachesov, started hearing the case of Rabazan Chamkurov, serviceman of M.U. 09762, who had been charged under Article 163, s. 1; Article 163, s. 2, p. "c", of the RF CC (violent extortion) and Article 335, s. 3, of the RF CC (violation of military regulations resulting in serious consequences, i.e. the death of Sergei Khudoroshko (b. 1992) who served at the same unit and died on April 28, 2011). Sergei was called up to military service from the Novosibirsk Region in autumn 2010. Chamkurov was a senior serviceman. The interests of the mother of the deceased, Yekaterina Khudoroshko, are represented by Zarema Yusupova, lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation. (For the beginning of the story, see Press Release No. 44/1478 of May 28, 2012.)

On May 29, the mother of the deceased confirmed in court that her son had told her about the unit tradition according to which each young conscript was obliged to give 5000 rubles to a senior serviceman. And only then he could live a normal life. The mother sent 1000 rubles to Sergei in January 2011.

On April 26, while on guard her son called her and said that a group of senior servicemen led by a soldier from Dagestan ‘had pushed him to the limit' but their service term was coming to an end. Yekaterina Ivanovna understood that it was the matter of money.

‘Shall I send you some more money?' asked the startled mother.

‘No, I'll settle the matter on my own,' answered her son.

Yekaterina Ivanovna could hardly refrain from tears while telling that Sergei had tried to enter the Siberian Branch of the St. Petersburg University, the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia, but failed because of the Maths... He hoped that with his army ‘bonus' he would be able to enter the university... He had many friends. He helped not only his mother but also his neighbours... He was fond of hockey...

At this hearing, the accused Chamkurov pleaded not guilty. He said that he had not known whose money he was receiving at the post office (1000 rubles sent by Mrs. Khudoroshko to her son) but a graphology examination confirmed that the sign was his. He said that a senior serviceman, Subbotin, had broken his ear (that was confirmed neither by the doctor's assistant who conducted medical examinations nor by other witnesses). He said that he spent the whole of the day in the gym and did not see Khudoroshko on the day of his death (the assertion was refuted by a contract serviceman of the same unit who told that on that very day Chamkurov tried to make Sergei prepare tea for him but the latter refused to). Chamkurov neither repented nor begged Sergei's mother's pardon... Towards the end, he dared to assert that Sergei had been heard saying that he would commit suicide ‘if his girl left him'.

Prosecutor Vladimir Vladimirovich Nosovets asked the mother of the deceased about the girl.

‘Their relationship was fine. It can be confirmed by all of their friends,' said Yekaterina Ivanovna. ‘She would have never left Sergei. She keeps visiting us even though Sergei died. She gives us support. She is ours.'

Attorney Feschenko asked the mother of the deceased about her opinion on his client's guilt.

‘I read the case materials and talked to my son. I'm confirmed that Chamkurov is guilty,' said Yekaterina Khudoroshko.

The most important testimony was that of Elena Konakova, the doctor's assistant of the unit. She told that she conducted examinations three times a week. She remembered Sergei Khudoroshko because he had been admitted to the guard service (few soldiers were admitted to this kind of service). Before the tragedy, she noticed numerous injuries on his body (in the arm-pits and on the chest) two times and informed the unit commanding officer. Sergei kept silent when asked about those injuries.

Zarema Yusupova, lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation, asked the doctor's assistant whether she had a medical degree. After a positive answer she asked:

‘What can you say on Khudoroshko's injuries as a medical expert?'

‘I believe that he had been beaten before the examinations,' said Elena Konakova.

Also, she informed the court that on the day of Khudoroshko's death 20 (twenty!) servicemen had bodily injuries.

‘I informed the head of the hospital and the commanding officer that since the new year 2011, the number of beating cases had risen. Then a soldier got a spleen injury. After that we started making copies of our official reports on servicemen's bodily injuries. We kept them in our archives because the unit officers did not respond.

Attorney Feschenko asked her about Chamkurov's allegedly broken ear.

‘No, I didn't notice that his ear was broken. If it had been broken I would have noticed the injury because such an injury is accompanied by a long-lasting hematoma.

Viktor Kurakh, former contract serviceman of M.U. 09762, refuted the attorney's story of Chamkurov's broken ear. He also refuted that servicemen Subbotin and Abdulkerimov had been bullying the accused. The witness explained that Subbotin and Abdulkerimov were official leaders because the unit officers needed them to distribute tasks among the servicemen. Chamkurov acted as unofficial leader and tended to make other servicemen do his work.  

Viktor Kurakh confirmed that half an hour before the tragedy, he saw Chamkurov trying to compel conscript Nemerov make tea for him and when the latter refused, he demanded that Khudoroshko should do it. Khudoroshko said nothing and left the room. Kurakh never saw him again.

The lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation turned to Chamkurov and asked him about whether he could say anything as to the witness' story. He's just asserted that he did not see Khudoroshko on the day of his death.

‘The witness is lying because he is afraid of Subbotin,' answered Chamkurov as if nothing had happened (Subbotin got demobbed a year ago).

The last witness of the first day of the trial was Sergei Koval, Chamkurov's subdivision leader. In his opinion, Chamkurov was on good terms with Subbotin and Abdulkerimov. They often exercised together in the gym. After exercising, Chamkurov used to be naked from the waist up. He, Koval, would have noticed hematomas on the serviceman's body. Besides, he was often present at medical examinations: Chamkurov had no bodily injuries. The latter could not stand criticism and fulfilled tasks reluctantly...

The trial proves that the story of Sergei Khudoroshko's death is a typical example of bullying in the army (according to the hierarchy in the subdivision, where Sergei served, the servicemen were divided into two groups - bullies and cowards, and the unit officers would shut their eyes to it).

Next hearing is scheduled for May 30.

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