2012/05/30 "Connivance or Complicity"
  • Press release No. 46/1480
  • 30/05/2012

Today the 35th Garrison Court, Petropavlovsk-on-Kamchatka, continued the trial for the death of a sailor of M.U. 09762, Sergei Khudoroshko (b. 1992) from Novosibirsk Region, that happened on April 28, 2011. 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; Press Release No. 45/1479 of May 29, 2012.)

Today's court session started with the interrogation of Dinar Geliaskarov, Deputy Commander of the Coast Guard Forces of the Pacific Ocean Fleet, who was sent to M.U. 09762 to investigate the tragic incident.

Dinar Rinatovich told that he had performed his investigation before the official investigation started. He talked to officers and sailors. His was a shocking story.

The sailors he talked to informed that they had been constantly beaten. The chief of the hospital and the doctor's assistant reported about servicemen's bodily injuries but the unit officers ignored their reports.

Geliaskarov found out that each senior serviceman ‘took care' of a young conscript. Chamkurov had two ‘lackeys' - Nemerov and Khudoroshko. He bullied them and extorted money from them.

Dinar Geliaskarov told: Khudoroshko's mother sent 1000 rubles (received by Chamkurov); after her son's call of April 26 she sent him 4000 rubles; the money arrived on the day of Sergei's death; the post office returned the money to the mother of the deceased. The Deputy Commander of the Coast Guard Forces is of the opinion that if those 4000 rubles had arrived two days earlier, they could have saved Sergei's life...

Yekaterina Khudoroshko turned pale:

‘You think that Seryozha was murdered?'

‘I think that if he had given the money to the accused he would not have been bullied to death. I was informed, that two days before the tragedy Chamkurov punched your son because of the "debt" and threatened to "put him down"'

According to the witness, the unit officers supported the version according to which Khudoroshko had hanged himself because of his girlfriend's infidelity. Commanding Officer Yatsenko asked Geliaskarov about what he was trying to "dig out" and expressed his belied that Khudorosho had committed suicide because of his girlfriend. But Geliaskarov was of a different opinion. When Elena Konakova learnt that the unit officers were pushing their own version she got tempered and exclaimed, ‘What are you doing? We took one boy out of the loop and failed to save the other... Do you need more corpses?"

As an honest officer, Geliaskarov did not take into account the commanding officer's hints and continued to "dig out".

He found out that sailors had forms giving power of attorney that were blank but stamped and signed by Yatsenko. He was informed that servicemen from Dagestan extorted money from young conscripts.

Feschenko, attorney of the accused, tried to ‘catch the opportunity', i.e. the word in the plural:

‘The materials of your investigation mention that you suspected one more serviceman - A-v (a serviceman from Dagestan). Why are you charging only Chamkurov?'

‘At first, I suspected both of them - A-v and Chamkurov. Then I was informed that it was Chamkurov who had received the money. I came to the conclusion that it was Chamkurov who was guilty in Khudoroshko's death.'

But the attorney would not stop arguing:

‘Unit officer N-v believes that A-v is guilty.'

Geliaskarov answered:

‘On April 29, I told about my initial version, according to which both servicemen were guilty, at the presence of N-v. Then I found out that it was Chamkurov who was guilty. I presented my report to the unit's commanding officer. N-v knew about it.'

Then it was found out that the case materials did not include Geliaskarov's final report. The prosecutor and the lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation filed a petition on obtaining the report. Judge Roman Zachesov satisfied their requests.

The lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation asked the witness about significance of the investigation and the measures taken.

‘The main goal of my investigation was to find out the causes of the crime,' said Geliaskarov. ‘The money extortion would have not been possible without connivance on the part of the unit officers. I found out that sailors had forms giving power of attorney that were blank but stamped and signed by Yatsenko (commanding officer). It was either connivance or complicity. I also found out that the servicemen of the 2nd subdivision were divided into two groups - bullies and cowards. The bullies had the right to neglect their duties and disobey orders. This was told by the unit's officers and sailors'.

‘As a result of the administrative investigation, Yatsenko, the unit commanding officer, Makarov, battery commander, and Koshman, subdivision leader, received disciplinary punishment (‘for neglecting his duties resulting in a crime'; ‘failure to perform his duties';  ‘escaping his duties')'.

Then the court interrogated Subbotin, who served in the same unit. Earlier, the accused made attempts to lay blame on him.

Subbotin refuted Chamkurov's assertion that he, Subbotin, had conflicts with other servicemen. He, Subbotin, was on good terms with all the servicemen, including Chamkurov. He did not break Chamkurov's ear.

The attorney of the accused:

‘Why, in your opinion, Chamkurov is charged?'

Subbotin:

‘Because he pushed Khudoroshko to the limit'.

The attorney:

‘Why do you think so?'

‘Many times I saw Khudoroshko going to the galley kitchen to fry potato for Chamkurov. I saw him making Chamkurov's bed and cleaning his shoes, and attaching a collar to his soldier's blouse.'

The lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation:

‘Did Chamkurov bully Khudoroshko on permanent base?'

Subbotin:

‘Khudoroshko carried out Chamkurov's orders quite often'.

Witness Kotov who served in the 1st battery told that Chamkurov had called him. The latter asked him to say that he, Kotov, and other conscripts were Subbotin's lackeys. But he, Kotov, refused to. When asked by the judge, he explained that servicemen are forced to become lackeys. 

Witness Tsvetkov, former serviceman of M.U. 09762, confirmed that there was the tradition of bullying young conscripts, and that all the servicemen were divided into bullies and cowards. ‘It did not concern me because I was a local guy'. He described Chamkurov as an impudent person. He said that he's got bad memories about the army...

At last, the court interrogated Vadim Makarov, one of the unit officers who were fired after the investigation performed by Geliaskarov. He is one of those officers thanks to whom boys have "bad memories about the army". If they come back home...

Vadim Makarov, battery commander, knew nothing about hazing. He knew nothing about unauthorized absence of his servicemen and about blank forms... He knew nothing at all.

The victim in the case asked him, ‘How could you fail to see what was happening under your nose?'

‘I just didn't see,' said Makarov.

Next hearing is scheduled for June 4.

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