- Press Release No. 26/1362
On April 15, the Mother's Right Foundation won a victory at the RF Supreme Court. We won the prolonged case of Viktor Andreyevich Zotkin (b. 1954), father of a dead serviceman from the Astrakhan Region. His son, Alexander Zotkin (b.1976), was called up to military service on May 30, 1994 and served in M.U. 3724, Vladikavkaz. On March 22, 1995, he perished together with his fellow servicemen as a result of a mine explosion. Viktor Andreyevich had been serving in the army for 22 years before retiring. Now he is a reserve warrant officer. He didn't give up military service even after his son's death. And that was the ground for the Russian Pension Department to deny him a loss-of-breadwinner pension, as the second one. On January 10, 2009 Viktor Andreyevich reached the age of 55 and applied to the Pension Department of the Akhtubinsky District but his application was dismissed on the ground that his first pension was not a retiree pension but a service pension from the Ministry of Defense. The situation was absurd: the father of the deceased was denied because he'd been serving his motherland for many years. The father of the deceased applied to the Mother's Right Foundation for help. The foundation filed a lawsuit. The Akhtubinsky District Court satisfied our claim on November 17, 2009 (judge Valery Fyodorovich Efimov). According to the court decision, the Pension Department was to grant Zotkin a loss-of-breadwinner pension, as the second one, as well as to pay the debt. The defendant filed a cassation appeal.
The panel of judges of the Astrakhan Region Court, consisting of judges L.I. Kostina, I.N. Konysheva, and A.A. Belyakov, cancelled the decision issued by the court of first instance and dismissed Zotkin's claims. We tried to file an extraordinary appeal, but N.K. Mukhambetaliyeva, judge of the Astrakhan Region Court, denied the father of the deceased the right to apply to the Presidium of the Astrakhan Region Court.
It's not easy to comprehend the father's feelings. He was to choose between his service pension and a loss-of-breadwinner pension. In April 2010, he chose a loss-of-breadwinner pension (for many parents it is not a money matter: they prefer that kind of pension because it implies their connection to their late son). The father felt that it was not fair. A person should not be denied a pension on the ground that he has been serving in the army all his life. The amendment to Article 3 of the law ‘State Pension Insurance in the RF', No. 166, June 21, 2010, i.e. Federal Law No. 122 of July 4, 2010 reads: a person can receive a loss-of-breadwinner pension along with a service pension. After these amendments, Viktor Nikolayevich started receiving two pensions. But he still felt that he had been ill treated: at the moment, the Pension Department was indebted to him in the sum of 30,000 rubles. We wanted to fight up to the end. The Mother's Right Foundation applied to the Supreme Court. Our claim was considered at today's court session by a panel of judges, consisting of Tamara Yegorovna Korchazhkina, Galina Alexandrovna Gulyayeva, and Alla Mikhailovna Nazarova.
The interests of the father of the deceased were represented by Zarema Yusupova, lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation. She stated the foundation's position: "We object to the decisions of 03.02.2010 and 28.07.2010 because they violate the norms of material rights. The denial of Viktor Andreyevich Zotkin's right to a loss-of-breadwinner pension, as the second one, contradict Art. 19 and Art. 39 of the RF Constitution. V.A. Zotkin' was discriminated on the ground that he received a retiree pension from the Ministry of Defense, which should be regarded as manifestation of professional discrimination. The Act ‘Some Issues on Application of the RF Constitution in Russian Courts', No. 5, February 6, 2007, reads: "According to the RF Constitution, P. 1, Art. 15, the Constitution of the Russian Federation shall have the supreme juridical force, direct action and shall be used on the whole territory of the Russian Federation. Laws and other legal acts adopted in the Russian Federation shall not contradict the Constitution of the Russian Federation". The Mother's Right Foundation lawyer referred to the acts of the RF Constitutional Court that prohibited any discrimination concerning pension rights, including professional discrimination. Also, the Mother's Right Foundation lawyer stated that the son of V.A. Zotkin died in 1995, i.e. when the law ‘State Pensions in the RF', No. 340-1, 20.11.1990, was current. According to the mentioned law, Zotkin had the right to receive a loss-of-breadwinner pension along with a service pension. Thus, V.A. Zotkin had legal grounds to receive a loss-of-breadwinner pension, as the second one (European Convention, Art. 1). The Mother's Right Foundation lawyer called the court's attention to the fact that the references to the European Convention and the decision of the European Court in the case ‘Levochkina vs. RF'', No. 944/02, 05.07.2007, were applicable because according to the RF Constitution, principles and norms of the International Law and International treaties signed by the RF were an integral part of its legal system. If a treaty signed by the RF contradicts the domestic law, the court should stick to the rules stipulated in the international treaty. At the end of her speech, the foundation's lawyer announced the claims of the Mother's Right Foundation: to cancel the decision of 03.02.2010 issued by the civil panel of the Astrakhan Region Court; to leave in force the decision issued by the Akhtubinsk Town Court on November 17, 2009.
After hearing the parties and considering the case materials, the panel of judges issued a decision satisfying the claim of the Mother's Right Foundation. Justice was served.
The Pension Department of the Akhtubinsky District is to pay the father of the deceased a debt of 67,189 rubles and 52 kopeks.