2010/11/12 "One Million Rubles from the Ministry of Defense for the Death of her Son"
  • Press Release No. 58/1326
  • 12/11/2010

Today, on November 12, the Mother's Right Foundation has won a legal suit at the Kolomensk Municipal court, Moscow region, in behalf of Galina Nikolaevna Fedotova, the mother of a deceased military serviceman from the Komi Republic. This victory is very important for the Foundation not only because we have won one million rubles by court action again (as per today, this is the biggest amount of compensation for the death in the army), for the benefit of the mother of a deceased military serviceman, but also because we know about the dreadful financial situation of Galina Nikolaevna, who lives literally below the poverty line. Mrs Fedotova is not 50 yet, and she doesn't receive her loss-of-breadwinner pension. Until recently she'd been living on her unemployment benefit amounting to about one million rubles, with another child to bring up - her deceased son's younger sister (when her brother died, the girl was 13; after his death she developed a disease still needing a special medical treatment today, but the family cannot afford a good quality medical aid). In summer mother and daughter go picking mushrooms and wild berries, which they sell to make some money. In winter this kind of earning is impossible. The important thing for us is also the fact that the mother of the deceased can be at last aware that someone has incurred responsibility for her son's death - in this case, a financial responsibility, because the criminal trial regarding her son's death ended in a conditional sentence for the defendant.

The son of Galina Nikolaevna, Nikolay Fedotov (born in 1987), served in military unit 63184 in Moscow region. He died on November 8, 2007 when a 100 mm D-10 T series tank gun powder propellant exploded in his hands. On November 8, 2007, major of military unit 63184, Andrey Viktorovich Gerasimov, had summoned up two conscripts - Nikolay Fedotov and Roman Yazykov - for heightened danger work - to screw off cartridge primers from a 100 mm tank gun on the territory of one of the storage depots of the unit. Neither Yazykov nor Fedotov had any special training for such work, besides, the law prohibits involvement of conscripts in such kind of work.

Following the explosion, Nikolay Fedotov died, and Roman Yazykov received injuries.

On July 1, 2008, the garrison military court of Lyubertsy sentenced Gerasimov to four years of probation under article 284.3c of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (exceeding official powers with the infliction of grave consequences).

The previous sittings on the case took place on September 20 and October 12, 2010. The mother of the deceased was represented in the process by Tatyana Sladkova, lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation. She set out the Foundation's position: "The son of the plaintiff was her hope and support, because in the village where she lives there is practically no work, and the men leave the village regularly in search of occasional earnings in the neighbouring towns. After her son's death the plaintiff lost her work, she could not go out of her house. From 2008 the plaintiff has been registered at the unemployment agency. Up to the present she goes every day to the cemetery where her Nikolay is buried. After his death the under-age daughter of the plaintiff, Tatyana, developed an autoimmune disease, which has been recently accompanied by gonalgia - pain in the knee joints. The plaintiff has to provide necessary care for her daughter's health, but her gains are hardly sufficient even for the most essential medicines. Her own health has deteriorated since her son's death, which has been attested by medical certificates." The lawyer of the Foundation demanded the court to comply with the compensation claim for moral injury in favour of Galina Nikolaevna Fedotova.

No representative of the Ministry of Defense has ever appeared in the court.

The representative of the Ministry of Finance, a leading specialist-expert of the Federal Treasury Department of Moscow region, Banchenko Elena Vladimirovna, claimed in the debates that the Ministry of Defense must incur liability for what had happened and demanded the court to sustain the claim in compliance with requirements of reasonableness and justice.

At the hearing of the parties' arguments, lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation Tatyana Sladkova said: "One cannot imagine anything more awful than a mother's grief over the loss of her son. It is also hard to imagine the suffering of Galina Nikolaevna Fedotova, when she got to know that the person responsible for the death of her son - major Gerasimov - had sustained a probation sentence. Besides a financial support, the compensation for moral damage of Galina Nikolaevna must give her certitude that someone has really incurred responsibility for her son's death, in this case we speak about a possible responsibility for a juridical person, i.e. financial responsibility."

After having heard the opinions of both parties and after having studied the case records, judge Elena Vladimirovna Sergeeva delivered her judgement: "Recover the amount of one million rubles from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation at the expense of the Treasury in favour of Galina Nikolaevna Fedotova as compensation for moral damage".

The court also complied with the demands of the Foundation regarding compensation for material damage, in the amount of 51,000 rubles (this is the amount that Galina Nikolaevna had to pay for the transport of the monument fixed up on Nikolay's grave).