2012/05/05 "Complete Irresponsibility"
  • Press Release No. 38/1472
  • 05/05/2012

On May 4, the Tambov Garrison Court held another hearing in the case of A.A. Slobodyan, the former commander of M.U. 54607. The trial lasts more than six months. The previous hearings were held on September 28, October 19 and 31, November 1, 2, 10, and 15, December 21, 2011; January 26, February 16 and 17, March 5, 6, and 29, April 10 and 19, 2012. Tatiana Sladkova and Zarema Yusupova, lawyers of the Mother's Foundation participated in the trial. The story of the case is as follows: On September 13, 2009, approximately at 9:00 am, the fire took place in the headquarters of M.U. No. 54607. As a result of poisoning from carbon dioxide, Major Eduard Dudenkov, Captain Artem Popov, Privates Vladimir Borovikov and Denis Zlobin died. On the same day later Major Vitaly Ivanov died in hospital. On September 19, 2009 Private Igor Sinyavsky died of poisoning and burns in hospital - doctors could not save his life. The Mother's Right Foundation represents the interests of the mother of Private Igor Sinyavsky and the parents of Private Vladimir Borovikov (for more information, see Press Release No. 72/1408 of September 28, 2011 and Press Release No. 89/1425 of November 15, 2011). The trial is an illustration of the real situation in the Russian army.

First, poverty and devastation in spite of TV reports on the modernization of the army. Since 2003, M.U. 54607 has been situated at the current place; all of its buildings are in bad condition; the burnt building was more that 100 years old; the wires have not been exchanged for more than 20 years; servicemen were always afraid that the building would fall down on their heads. In 2005, they had the right wing of the building repaired because the Minister of Defence was going to visit the unit... In 2009, the Head of the Tambov electric station informed Slobodyan that people should get banned from gathering in the rooms and from using the central staircase... But people continued to work in the dangerous building because they had no other building to move to.

Second, catastrophic lack of discipline: the people died because nobody knew that they were inside the burning building. By the way it was the unit headquarters. The serviceman on duty could not see people entering the building because his guard post was at the wrong place (only people with ‘special' brains could arrange the guard post at such a place). Servicemen could leave the office with state secret documents at any moment and without any notice. One serviceman left the office because he was hungry and could not come in time, the other one wanted to have a smoke. And then, the unmanned office caught fire because of the bad wires.

Third, officers' lack of professionalism. The officers who died in the fire could not make quick decisions: they failed to save themselves from carbon smoke, and their actions caused the death of the soldiers at the moment of evacuation. In all aspects it was a catastrophe.

During the trial it was found out that the Ministry of Defence had not been providing funds for the unit's fire alarm equipment for at least three years. On behalf of Nadezhda Anatolievna Sinyavskaya, the mother of Igor Sinyavsky, and in connection with the above mentioned fact, the Mother's Right Foundation filed a claim for compensation for moral damage against the RF Ministry of Defence which failed to give funds to M.U. 54607 for the fire safety equipment that could have saved the people's lives.  

Representatives of the defendants who objected to the claim of the Mother's Right Foundation surprised us by their funny logic. Mr. Saigakov, the unit's representative, said that the unit objected to the claim because Slobodyan was ‘not guilty'. That sounded funny because the unit itself had filed a claim against Slobodyan for the damage caused by the fire! A.A. Mitropolsky, representative of the Ministry of Defence, also declared that the Ministry of Defence objected to the claim because Slobodyan was ‘not at all guilty'. It's really convenient: first, to accumulate the unit commander's applications in table draws, then to deny financing, and then to say that the unit commander is not guilty. Six graves in the cemetery are just a mistake.

During today's the debate, the lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation supported the claims filed on behalf of Nadezhda Anatolievna Sinyavskaya. She reminded the parties that M.U. 54607 and the Ministry of Defence should be obliged to compensate the damage not because Slobodyan was guilty or not (as representatives of the parents of the dead servicemen, we are of the opinion that he is guilty and should be punished according to the law) but because the Ministry of Defence failed to perform the duties entrusted by the state, according to Article 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. ‘On the basis of the evidence in the trial, the court has grounds to determine the civil liability of the defendants whose actions and lack of actions caused failure to provide safety for the plaintiff's son,' said the lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation, Tatiana Sladkova. She asked the court to approve the claim in full.

State Prosecutor Ruslan Yurievich Gorbachyov supported the claim of the Mother's Right Foundation and asked the court to approve it in full.

Next hearing is scheduled for May 15; 12:00.

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