2011/06/07 "Mother’s Right Foundation Won 1.5 Million Class-Action Lawsuit"
  • Press Release No. 36/1372
  • 07/06/2011

On June 7, the Mother's Right Foundation won an important victory in the Nizhegorodsky District Court. We won a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the family members of eight deceased war veterans from Nizhny Novgorod. The defendant in the case was the Military Commissariat of the Nizhny Region. The commissariat ignored today's hearing and did not send its representative to face the mothers, widows, and children of dead veterans who were underpaid for several years (almost every family sent a representative who attended the hearing together with Anna Mukaseyeva, lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation). The foundation started its legal battle for the dead veterans' families in 2008. When the commissariat did send its representatives, they passionately argued that the dead veterans' family members had no right to an increased pension. The foundation's victories of 2008 and 2009 served a good example for other veterans' families in Nizhny Novgorod: we received letters of complaint from this city permanently and came to the conclusion that we should file a class-action lawsuit.

Today, the court considered a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of:

Nina Nikolayevna (mother) and Konstantin Ivanovich Boryayev (father), Inga Vasilievna (widow), Vitalia (daughter) and Sergei (son). Their son, husband, and father, Sergei Konstantinovich Boryayev (b. 1969), served at the commandant's office of the Vvedensky District, Chechnya: he was the artillery assistant commandant and took part in military action. On September 23, 2001 he was taken prisoner by guerrilas. He was never found, neither dead nor alive. On December 16, 2003 the Volodarsky District Court, Nizhny Novgorod Region, recognized the death of Sergei Konstantinovich Boryayev. 

Galina Alexeyevna Burlak (widow). Her son, Georgy Savich Burlak (b. 1957), served as warrant officer and mechanic in M.U. 86997, Afghanistan. On October 12, 1980 he was killed in military action.

Nina Alexandrovna Volkova (mother). Her son, Dmitry Konstantinovich Volkov (b. 1977), served in the North Caucasus Region from June 10, 2000 to December 11, 2000. He served in M.U. 62892-II and took part in a counter terrorism action, and his service lasted 150 days. The letter from the unit commander reads: "On December 11, 2000 Dmitry took part in military action aimed at blocking Valerik Village. When the motorcade was moving to Ghekhi Village, the servicemen were fired at by some 10-12 guerrilas. The guerrilas took advantage of suddenness and limited visibility. During the combat, Dmitry displayed courage: he helped the chief of the motorcade to protect gasoline tankers. One of them caught fire. Dmitry understood that it was on the brink of explosion: he drove the tanker to a safe distance, but had no time to leave the burning tanker. Dmitry's brave action saved many lives; he displayed courage in a crucial moment". On December 14, Dmitry Volkov died in hospital in Vladikavkaz.

Vitaly Yeremeyevich Gursky (father). His son, lieutenant Alexander Vitalievich Gursky (b. 1965), served in M.U. 71460, Chechnya. He was killed during the battle of Grozny which happened on the new year eve.

Vera Fyodorovna (mother) and Dmitry Grigorievich Kovalenko (father). Their son, warrant officer Nikolai Dmitrievich Kovalenko (b. 1962), started his service in M.U. 26046, Chechnya, on September 18, 1999. On January 3, 2000 Dmitry Kovalenko was killed in military action.

Tamara Nikolayevna Lepeshnikova (mother), Inga Viktorovna Lepeshnikova (widow), and Sergei Lepeshnikov (son). Their son, husband, and father, Vladimir Valerievich Lepeshnikov (b. 1975), served in M.U. 26046-II, Chechnya, from September 28, 1999 to January 9, 2000. He spent 80 days in military action. On January 3, 2000 Vladimir Lepeshnikov died from wound to heart.

Svetlana Mikhailovna Sinitsyna (widow). Her husband, lieutenant colonel Sergei Pavlovich Sinitsyn (b. 1959), died in military service.

Nina Nikolayevna Shabrova (widow) and Julia Viktorovna Makarova (daughter). Their husband and father, major Viktor Veniaminovich Shabrov (b. 1960), served in M.U. 62892, Chechnya. On February 1, 2000 he was killed in a special action.

All the mentioned parents, widows, and children have the right to a loss-of-breadwinner pension. They applied to the foundation because the Commissariat of the Nizhny Novgorod Region refused to increase their loss-of-breadwinner pensions by 32% (of basic retiree pension). The Mother's Right Foundation filed a lawsuit.

The interests of all the family members were represented by Anna Mukaseyeva, lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation. She stated the foundation's position: "According to Art. 45, p. (d), of the federal law ‘Pension Provision for Servicemen of Army, Internal Affairs Bodies, Penitentiary System and Their Families' of February 12, 1993 (with amendments) family members of dead servicemen have the right to an increased loss-of-breadwinner pension. The defendant denied the family members their increased pensions on the ground that such pensions were due to the dead servicemen themselves, not to their family members. But according to the law ‘Pension Provision for Servicemen of Army, Internal Affairs Bodies, Penitentiary System and Their Families', two pensions - a disability pension and a service pension - are for servicemen themselves, the third kind of pension - a loss-of-breadwinner pension - is for family members of dead servicemen (Art. 28). Living servicemen have the right to a disability pension and a service pension; a loss-of-breadwinner pension is stipulated for disabled family members of dead servicemen. The Mother's Right Foundation lawyer demanded that (1) the plaintiffs' right to an increased pension should be recognized; (2) the commissariat's denials should be recognized as illegal; (3) the defendant should be obliged to pay increased pensions; (4) the defendant should be obliged to pay debts to each family.

After hearing the parties and considering the case materials, judge Olga Nikolayevna Golubeva satisfied the claim of the Mother's Right Foundation.

After today's hearing:

The Boryayevs are to receive 410,000 rubles.

Georgy Burlak's widow is to receive some 50,000 rubles.

Dmitry Volkov's mother is to receive some 84,000 rubles.

Alexander Gursky's father is to receive 125,000 rubles.

Nikolai Kovalenko's parents are to receive 300,000 rubles.

The Lepeshnikovs are to receive 270,000 rubles.

Sergei Sinitsyn's father is to receive 12,000 rubles.

Viktor Shabrov's widow and daughter are to receive 210,000 rubles.

The defendant's debt totals 1,460,000 rubles. This is the amount the commissariat is to pay to the families of the dead veterans from Nizhny Novgorod.

We hope that today's victory will change the illegal position of the Ministry of Defense on increased pensions for dead veterans' family members. The ministry's war against families of dead servicemen is not only cynical but senseless as well.

In two weeks, the Nizhegorodsky District Court will consider an analogous class-action lawsuit filed by the Mother's Right Foundation on behalf of the family members of dead veterans of IAF. The defendant in the case is the Central Department of Internal Affairs of the Nizhny Novgorod Region. Watch our press releases.