2012/06/26 "The Main Thing Is to Retire in Time?"
  • Press Release No. 53/1487
  • 26/06/2012

Today, June 26, the 35th Garrison Court, Petropavlovsk-on-Kamchatka continued the trial of the case of sailor Sergei Khudoroshko (b. 1992) from the Novosibirsk Region who died in M.U. 09762 on April 28, 2011. The Mother's Right Foundation represents the interests of Sergei's parents. The accused in the case, a certain Mr. Chamkurov, extorted money from Sergei and called him ‘my slave' in social networks... The previous hearings were held on May 29-30 and June 14 and 18, 2012. The hearing of June 21 was cancelled because the secretary was not well (and they didn't find another one), so our lawyer had to spend another week in Kamchatka)...

The representative of M.U. 09762, V.A. Poikina, brought a new witness, A.V. Berezenko, to today's hearing. At the moment of the death of Sergei Khudoroshko, the elderly man was the Deputy Commander for educational work in M.U. 30963 (a higher unit). During the hearing, he declared that he was a psychologist (though he did not support his statement by a certificate). From the administrative investigation materials: ‘Captain Second Rank A.V. Berezenko, Deputy Commander for educational work in M.U. 30963, graduated from the Kiev Military Navy College in 1987'.

The Mother's Right Foundation filed a compensation claim on behalf of the mother of the deceased, while Ms. Poikina is the defendant's representative. So we guessed beforehand why Mr. Berezenko had been brought to the hearing: to tell about their ‘fine' educational work in the military unit. During the hearing, Berezenko would turn red in the face and pant; he looked angry while answering the questions of our lawyer Zarema Yusupova and telling about his educational work. The interrogation shatters the illusions concerning the work of educators and psychologists in the army.

Here's the brief story told by Berezenko: he did not like what was going on after Sergei Khudoroshko's death. After some speculations, he applied for retirement because ‘sometime they cut off heads of the innocent'. For example, Order of M.U. No. 87272 ‘Violation of the service regulations on relationships between servicemen in M.U. 09762 and punishment of the guilty persons', No. 181; April 20, 2011, is a ‘demonstrative act aimed to impress the higher ranks'. According to him, the educational work in M.U. 09762 was satisfactory: ‘the work was being performed'. He visited the unit in late April, 2011 and spent eight days there: he talked to servicemen about hazing and conducted medical body examinations.

This statement roused everybody's interests. According to the doctor's assistants', they often reported about servicemen's bodily injuries to the commanding officers. They suspected that their reports were being thrown into the waste paper basket and started making two copies of their reports on servicemen's bodily injuries. They kept second copies in their archives because the unit officers did not respond. We know that they registered Sergei Khudoroshko's bodily injuries - on the face and chest. So, his statement roused some questions to Mr. Berezenko:

Did you see the registered injuries? The injuries mentioned in Order of M.U. No. 87272 ‘Violation of the service regulations on relationships between servicemen in M.U. 09762 and punishment of the guilty persons', No. 181; April 20, 2011: ‘The suicide of sailor Khudoroshko was caused by the failure to take necessary measures on the part of Colonel S.S. Yatsenko, Commander of M.U. 09762. Based on the reports on the bodily injuries registered by the doctor's assistants, E.V. Konakova and T.M. Yusupov'. The injuries that were not investigated. The injuries that are a confirmed fact.   

‘Witness, did you see anything at all?' asked the lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation, the prosecutor and the judge.

The lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation and the judge asked about the commanding officers' failure to take necessary measures after the reports on Sergei Khudoroshko's bodily injuries, but Berezenko found an escape from their questions, ‘I didn't know about them'.

‘What should commanding officers do in case of servicemen's bodily injuries?' asked the judge.

‘They should conduct an administrative investigation, then make a report, and in case of hazing to submit the investigation materials to the investigation body,' said witness Berezenko. Then he added, ‘This was not done in the unit'. 

When they remembered the soldier with a spleen injury (witness Konakova told about the case in court), Berezenko said:

‘He fell down and hurt it.'

‘They registered bodily injuries on Khudoroshko's body. Did you conduct an administrative investigation?' asked the judge.

‘I hear it for the first time,' said Berezenko.

‘There was no investigation,' said the prosecutor. ‘That's why there was the prosecutor's representation'.

Till the end of the interrogation, Berezenko kept saying: ‘I didn't see'; ‘I didn't hear'; ‘the work was being performed'; ‘this was not done'. He did not answer some questions. About how someone could fall down and injure his spleen. About how someone could get a bruise shaped in the form of a star. Instead, as an educator and psychologist, Mr. Berezenko declared his own version of the death of Sergei Khudoroshko. According to him, Khudoroshko ‘tried to fake hanging himself but it ended in his death'. It was Khudoroshko who was to blame. As well as his parents: they didn't apply to him, Berezenko. He asked everybody to apply to him, but for some reasons nobody applied to him...

But who would like to apply to the man who can look at a beaten soldier and say, ‘I don't see any bruises, I don't see...' The man who can lay all the blame on the dead soldier. How many boys - like Sergei Khudoroshko - lie in cemeteries as a result of this kind of blindness?!

From the materials of the investigation conducted by D.R. Geliaskarov: ‘The suicide of Sergei Khudoroshko was caused by: 1) failure to conduct educational work, to support discipline and to provide safety for junior servicemen on the part of Colonel M.V. Darensky, Commander of the Formation, and Captain Second Rank A.V. Berezenko, Deputy Commander for educational work'.

The Mother's Right Foundation demands that its claim against M.U. 09762 should be satisfied in full. The unity must pay for the ‘don't knows', ‘don't sees', and ‘don't understands'.

When commanding officers see, hear, and understand what's going on around them, and when soldiers are safe and sound, there's no need to pay compensation.

Next hearing is scheduled for June 27; 11:00.

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