2011/06/23 "Belt Buckles Case"
  • Press Release No. 43/1379
  • 23/06/2011

On June 23, the Kyakhta Garrison Court started considering the case of Dmitry Dedyukhin (b. 1992) who died in the army. The Mother's Right Foundation represented the interests of the family of the deceased. On November 9, 2010 he was called up to military service from the Sverdlov Region where he lived with his father and sister Vika. He served in M.U. 69647, Kyakhta, Republic of Buryatia. On January 30, 2011 Dmitry perished. His relatives were informed that he had committed suicide. Then, it was found out that he had been driven to suicide by the criminal actions of his fellow serviceman, Rayan Kusyukbayev. The latter was charged under Art. 335, s. 3, of the RF CC (abuse of authority resulting in grave consequences).

Before his military service, Dmitry's health left much to be desired. They often called for ambulance because of his fits related to high blood pressure (150/110 - 190/100). Nevertheless, the military commissariat doctors certified him as fit for military service. Dima's father, Alexander Pavlovich Dedyukhin, is a disabled person: he suffers from bad hearing. That's why our lawyers, who consulted him by phone, did it with the help of the sister of the deceased (aged 16). From time to time Dmitry asked his sister to send him money, and Vika sent him part of her scholarship. Dmitry's death was a disaster for the Dedyukhins. Dima could have supported his disabled father and underage sister, but the army robbed them of their hope for the better life.

He served as driver at a medical company though his eye-sight was bad. According to tradition, each young serviceman has a ‘tutor' who ‘takes care' of him. It's kind of hazing. It looks like officers are unwilling to work with young soldiers and oblige senior servicemen to keep an eye on them.  Each ‘tutor' has his own views on ‘counseling'. Dmitry Dedyukhin had bad luck - his ‘tutor' was Rayan Kusyukbayev.

From the case materials: "Between December 2010 and January 2011, a contract senior sergeant of M.U. 69647, A.V. Kovalev, appointed Kusyukbayev to be Dedyukhin's tutor. Before the service in the army, Kusyukbayev was charged for robbery in band. He and his accessory attacked a woman and took away her bag. So, he had a previous conviction. When he got Dmitry Dedyukhin in his hands, he started to ‘counsel' the soldier by insulting and beating".

From the case materials: "During the period January 8-January 29, 2011, Kusyukbayev sought to demonstrate his superiority over Dedyukhin and to break his will; he humiliated Dedyukhin before his fellow servicemen and bullied him. (...) On January 8, 2011, he hit Dedyukhin in the back of the head and the shoulder and insulted him. On January 20, 2011 Kusyukbayev hit D.A. Dedyukhin in the shoulder and humiliated him..." Such was Dmitry Dedyukhin's service in the army before Kusyukbayev's ‘little trial' (that's how the latter characterized his actions during the investigation). On January 29, 2011 he took away Dmitry's green belt buckle and gave him a brushed white one. At M.U. 69647 this ritual is used to let a soldier down. The same ritual is used at penitentiary.  The real power at the unit is in the hands of such kusyukbayevs. Kusyukbayev told, "A white belt buckle means a lower status of a soldier who has to clean toilets and is deprived of any authority". On January 30, 2011, after Kusyukbayev's ‘little trial', Dmitry was found in a loop.

During today's hearing, the court interrogated witnesses in the case. The commander of the medical companion, lieutenant I.Y. Tebenko, said that he had been fired after Dmitry's death. He had some ten servicemen under his command but did not know about hazing and the belt buckle ritual. When the Mother's Right Foundation lawyer, Mikhail Golovenchick, who represented the interests of the father of the deceased, asked Tebenko about Dmitry's reaction to the buckle ritual, he said, "It was extremely humiliating, it was the limit".

Senior sergeant A.V. Kovalev (according to the case materials, it was he who appointed Kusyukbayev to be Dedyukhin's tutor) confirmed that such a tradition existed in the military unit but said that the appointment was not official. (This is hazing, as we understand it.)

Junior sergeant R.V. Kolomin said that a white belt buckle meant humiliation, that Dedyukhin was very upset and did not want to wear the white buckle. Besides, Kolomin confirmed that Kusyukbayev had been constantly beating him.

Then, the court read out the evidence of witnesses Magomedov, Ivanov, and Musyakayev. All of them confirmed that Kusyukbayev abused and let down Dedyukhin. (From the evidence of Petukhov: "I think that Dedyukhin committed suicide because on January 29, 2011 private Kusyukbayev let him down in the presence of their fellow servicemen when he took away Dedyukhin's green belt buckle and gave him a white one".)

Next hearing is scheduled for June 27, 2011 (11:00). Watch the foundation's press releases.