2013/11/28 "5 years for “cannon fodder” and draftees’ death"
  • Press-release №: 49/1572
  • Dated: November 28, 2013

Today, November 28, the Voronezhsky Garrison Military Court sentenced commanding officer of the military unit # 08318, lieutenant-colonel Sjurakshin, to five years in general regime correctional colony under the paragraph “в,” part 3 of the Article 286 of the Criminal Law (abuse of office with serious consequences). The convict sent untrained conscript soldiers to pick unexploded ordnance in the weapon range “Pogonovo,” while using the trained combat engineers as bondmen to collect  tomatoes in a private farm ( for more details about that judicial case, please, refer to our press-releases № 43/1566 from October 10, 2013, and №48/1571 from November 25, 2013.) Besides, the Court revoked Sjurakshin his military rank of “lieutenant-colonel” and the right to hold a senior role for two years. Due to Sjurakshin’s fault, Russia has lost two amazing young men – Nikita Belov and Dima Nekrasov died upon shell explosion (eleven more people were injured)…

Being only 18-years-old, Dima Nekrasov died after serving at a military unit № 08318 less than a day.

Dima was outgoing, cheerful young man. His mother never saw him in a bad mood: “He was always smiling,” she says. “He was a good friend not only to his age-mates, but also to his teachers.”

Dima and his mother, Alevtina Arsenovna, moved to Moscow from the city of Ivanovo. Alevtina Arsenovna hoped that her son would have more opportunities to receive good education in the capital. To provide living and pay the rent for apartment, Alevtina Arsenovna work a lot. Dima studied at the ethno-school “Mesvita,” which had plenty of interesting teaching programs. His mother was in the seventh heaven: “Having had no such opportunities at my childhood, I tried to provide my son with all the best.” Dima was big on football. He played for “Makabi” youth team, and, as its member, went for the youth football games to Israel for the first time. He liked the country. “He had a special love for a sea.” Alevtina Arsenovna remembers: “He was 14 when I took him to the Black Sea for the first time.” Since then he had been dreaming to see all seas in the world. Dime graduated his high school in Haifa, Israel. He arranged this exchange study in Israel all by himself, corresponding with the teachers and preparing the necessary documents, letting the mother to know only the final successful result: “I am leaving to study in Israel.” Having never asked for money from his mother, Dima did not ask for any monetary support that time either.

Good education, career, and prosperity – it seemed like Dima had perfectly planned his life for several decades ahead. Unfortunately, he did not know about Sjurakshin who would send him to death with a single word. Unfortunately, he did not know that Sjurakshin would prefer to use trained combat engineers as free work force at a private farm, sending young draftees instead to de-mine a range…

Knowing, that his mother had a hard time working a lot, the son kept telling: “Mom, I promise you will want for nothing. After retiring you will rest in your own house. I will provide you with everything.” - Dima planned to become entrepreneur.

In Israel Dima went to the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea where he learnt to serf. He also learnt that the Israeli army differs from the Russian army. “Mom, there is a totally different attitude to the soldiers in Israel,”- Dime once told to Alevtina Arsenovna. Keeping in mind this “different attitude,” Dima seriously considered serving in the Israeli army after finishing the service in Russia.

Dima was not afraid of serving in the Russian army, he was always sure that he can handle any difficulties. “I did not want the son to go to the army, but he thought it is better to serve for one year and fulfill all the duties to the Motherland, than to ‘hide-out’” (like most of the Russian families, the Nekrasovs had never heard about the opportunities to carry out alternative service). Dima told his mother about going to the army only after he secretly had passed draft committee’ examination. Almost immediately Dima was selected to participate in the parade at the Red Square.  All the selected draftees were brought to a small town of Nakhabino in Moscow region. But Dima could not participate in the Parade: after heavy physical training he urgently needed veins surgery. He bravely withstood the surgery, but, after returning to Nakhabino from the hospital, Dima was hospitalized again after old-timer (“some dork,” as Dima told to his mother) beat him “with a kick” right into the spot of the surgery. All the time before the Parade on May 6, 2012, Dima was in the hospital in Krasnogorsk. “On May 6, 2012, while his discharge from the hospital, I saw Dima alive the last time,”- says Alevtina Arsenovna. After discharge, Dima was sent to serve in Kursk. He had a hard time there. Physical load was against his medical advice.

After serving in Kursk, Dima arrived to Sjurakshin’s military unit № 08318 late night on July 25. Next morning Dima died.

Nikita Belov was 20 when he died after serving two weeks in the military unit № 08318.

“Nikita was a perfect son,”- says his mother, Larisa Nikolaevna Surovtseva. She was a single mother of a single child. Losing Nikita was a big shock for her and her old mother, Nikita’s grandma. “Losing a child is the most terrible thing that can happen… You wake up and see the darkness outside window (the sun raises late in the winter) and the emptiness inside the room. Nikita was the only one we lived for. We saved money for him, built a new house and provide gas supply in it. I always wanted my son to live an easier life than me… Now… we do not see the point for all of this- house, gas, money… It does not matter if Nikita is dead,”- says Larisa Nikolaevna.

Nikita did not smoke or drink. He liked to play football with his friends in summer and ski in winter. He was good at computers – everybody who had problems with computers asked Nikita for advice. He was lavish with help.  He knew the ropes in cars, and received his driving license before going to the army. Knowing that his family needs a car in the village, he repaired mother’s old “Lada,” but wanted to save money to buy a new car. Nikita also graduated a music school, being a good accordion player. “He had such an open mind, with interests and talents in different fields, with dreams about big goals,” Nikita’s mother tells.

Nikita had lots of friends; he was cheerful and friendly person. He liked animals and studied for veterinarian paramedic at the local college. Nikita planned to receive a diploma of veterinarian surgeon by distance learning in order to have time to earn for living of his mother and grandmother.

He had only one year of studying left, when he heard that those draftees who go to he army the nearest, fall draft will serve in the military units next to the hometowns, while those who decide to go to the army in spring will serve in the remote regions. Although Nikita was never eager to serve in the army, he did not want to ‘hide out.’ After deciding that it is better to serve next to home, he took and academic vacation in the college and passed a recruit examination. As a draftee, he was first sent to Kursk, and then- to Sjurakshin’s range. He served there for two weeks. On July 26, Nikita, like Dima, died due to the shell explosion.

In the court, the survived witnesses testified that Sjurakshin call these two boys (and other young soldiers who stood in front of them) “cannon fodder.” 

In 2013, the Russian Public Chamber gave hundreds of millions of rubles for different projects on “patriotic education” of youth. Such spending, however, will be a waste of resources as long as the Russian army will keep cynically and immorally treating its soldiers as ‘cannon fodder.’ Neither Russian government, nor Public Chamber helped Dima or Nikita. Solely support and love of their single mothers made these two boys real patriots of our Motherland. After all these years of efforts, what did two mothers receive from the Motherland? A discount to install tombstones?

For all the time of criminal proceeding in the Voronezhsky garrison military court the Mother’s Right Foundation supported bereaved mothers. Unlike Sjurakshin who consider the death of young men as ‘normal’, we see their death as a nation-wide tragedy. We will not forgive those who are responsible for the death. The lawyers of the Foundation work to confirm today’s court decision in the appeal court. On behalf of dead draftees’ mothers, the Mother’s Right Foundation is also preparing a lawsuit for compensation of moral damages.