- Press Release 03/1526
TODAY, 16 January, the Mother's Right Foundation claimed victory in the Kirovsky District Court, Yaroslavl, in the case of claims filed on behalf of family members of five veterans who died in action. The trial, which started on 9 June, 2012, is over. Thanks to the Mother's Right Foundation's victory, the veterans' families will be able to receive increased loss-of- breadwinner pensions without hindrance. Also, the court obliged the Yaroslavl Military Commissariat to pay arrears.
The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of Nina Nikolayevna Andrianova, mother of Junior Sergeant Alexander Khazhmuratovich Suidimov (b. 1969) who served in M.U. 73881 and died in Chechnya on 23 February, 2000; Tamara Nikolayevna Bakhvalova, widow of Private Yevgeny Ivanovich Tarasov (1959) who served in M.U. 22033 and died in Chechnya on 29 March, 1996; Nina Vasilievna Kulgina, mother of Private Oleg Gennadievich Kulgin (b. 1970) who served in M.U. 62892 and died in Chechnya on 12 May, 1996; Olga Alexeyevna Konoplyova, Natalia Viktorovna Konoplyova and Andrei Viktorovich Konoplyov, widow, daughter and son of Captain Viktor Viktorovich Konoplyov (b. 1951) who served in Afghanistan during 1979 to 1982 and died of a decease in Hungary on 13 October, 1983; Nina Grigorievna Smirnova, Anna Lvovna Smirnova and Anton Lvovich Smirov, widow, daughter and son of Major Lev Fyodorovich Smirnov (1956), who served in the 487 Helicopter Regiment and was killed in action in Budennovsk, Stavropol Region. All the veterans were awarded honorary plaques and medals. The Yaroslavl Military Commissariat denied the family members of the late veterans an increase (of 32%) in the size of their loss-of-breadwinner pensions which is due to them under the law. The foundation filed a lawsuit.
The interests of the veterans' family members are represented by the Mother's Right Foundation's lawyer Anna Mukaseyeva. She stated the foundation's position: under Article 45, p. "d", of the law ‘On Pension Insurance of Military Servicemen who Served in...', the family members of the late veterans have the right to increased (32%) loss-of-breadwinner pensions; the denial of the commissariat is illegal. The foundation's lawyer offered well-reasoned arguments that supported her position and answered Judge Alexei Mukhin's questions regarding the defendant's arrears. The foundation's lawyer asked that the court oblige the defendant: to grant increased pensions to the veterans' families; to pay the arrears; to recover the plaintiffs' court expenses.
Tamara Nikolayevna Bakhvalova, widow of Private Yevgeny Tarasov, spoke on behalf of the plaintiffs. She said that the plaintiffs had filed the lawsuit for the sake of justice and the memory of their sons, husbands and fathers, not only for the sake of money. "When war in Afghanistan started, a soldier's life cost nothing, while an American family received a million dollars for son's death. When my husband died in Chechnya, my daughter and I received 27,000 rubles. We lived on that allowance for two years... They say that health is the most important matter but according to Socrates, it's consciousness that matters. Our officials have an extreme lack of consciousness and treat the families of deceased soldiers in the wrong way".
Representative of the Yaroslavl Military Commissariat Yevgeny Pankratov objected to the foundation's claims. According to the defendant, an increased pension is due to a veteran himself, not to his family members (The Mother's Right Foundation has encountered such arguments many times. Each time our lawyers have to explain that a deceased veteran can't receive a loss-of-breadwinner pension because he is dead, that it's due to his family members). The representative asked the court to dismiss the claims and then addressed the veterans' mothers, widows and children, ‘Could I ask you not to feel offended. We have always helped families of dead servicemen and are happy to help them. We have nothing against you; we just perform our duty as the law requires". At that moment, the audience started buzzing: some family members expressed irony, others - indignation....
Judge Alexei Mukhin, having heard the two parties' positions and after consultation, made a decision by which he satisfied the Mother's Right Foundation's demands, having laid the defendant under obligation to increase the families' loss-of-breadwinner pensions and to pay arrears. Thanks to the foundation's victory, plaintiffs Andrianova, Bakhvalova, Ivanova and Kulgina will be able to receive 85,494 rubles and 95 kopeks each; the Konoplyovs - 186,360 rubles and 45 kopeks; the Smirnovs - 103,298 rubles and 27 kopeks. Also, the defendant was obliged to recover the plaintiffs' court expenses (500-700 rubles to each). The total sum of the ‘kindly' commissariat's arrears is over 636.000 rubles.