2009/06/17 "No Need to Go to Medical Unit…"
  • Press Release No. 51/1194
  • 17/06/2009

The Mother's Right Foundation keeps receiving letters from parents who have lost their children in the Army. Each new letter is striking evidence that the Army with its call-up slavery has become outdated long ago. Actually, it's not important how long a serviceman is to be a slave - ‘only' a year or two. A year consists of 365 days and each day a serviceman has lots of chances to be killed in the Army. Here is one of the latest letters to the Foundation:

 ‘This is Vera Nikolayevna Zalesova, mother of Ivan Zalesov, writing to you. He left home on November 23, 2008; on November 27, he left Kirov to join unit No. 83351 A, located in Nizhny Tagil, Sverdlovsk Region. Then he made a call from Nizhny Tagil, from the medical unit where he had got because of his enuresis and eyesight problems. He asked to send him a certificate confirming the eye operation which he had undergone and which the Military Registration and Enlistment Office had not mentioned in the epicrisis. When he was called up, his eyesight was minus 4.5 and then it worsened to minus 6.0. The enuresis was not mentioned in his Medical Certificate. I talked to a neuropathologist and was told that it could not be healed and the only thing to do was to follow a healthy routine....

‘When he started his service, they forced him to take off his pectoral cross; when he refused to, they hit him on the head with a stool. And one more thing - Vanya told that they ‘punched the board' - hit him on the chest.... He was sent to Yekaterinburg and his diagnosis - enuresis - was confirmed, but his check-up was not complete because the hospital received soldiers with pneumonia from Yelan, so the easy patients with my son among them were discharged from hospital in January 2009. On January 20, M.U. No. 83351 left for Ulyanovsk and arrived there on January 25, 2009. In Ulyanovsk he felt worse because it was cold outside, his underwear was damp, and he felt cold. They would not let him go to the medical unit; they said that there was ‘no need to go to the medical unit because he should prepare for the oath of allegiance'.  Vanya's glasses got broken in December.... He felt bad without glasses. In January, he asked me to come and see him. He said that he had caught cold, felt giddy, and could not see well because they would not let him go to town and buy new glasses... In Ulyanovsk, somebody kicked him so hard that for some time he urinated blood....

‘On February 7, I was in Ulyanovsk and had a meeting with son. He asked me to talk to the commanding officer because nobody paid attention to soldiers. I managed to meet with the commanding officer and tell him about everything.... Vanya was summoned and told the commanding officer that they did not let him go to the medical unit. I bought him glasses. The commanding officer ordered to send my son to the hospital. I went back hoping that everything would be fine.

‘When my son was in Military Hospital 362 of the VUMD, he called and told me that they put drops in his eyes, that they would tell him about his eyesight on February 19, that he suffered from enuresis, that he had a high temperature and a bad headache. He also said that on February 21 they would take oath of allegiance.

‘On February 27, the commanding officer called me and said that my son was in coma and I should come there. He told me that Vanya had fainted and fallen into coma when going to dinner with other soldiers. On February 28, 7 P.M., I was in the hospital with my nephew and they told us that son was in grave condition. On March 1, they told me that his kidney had failed and that he should be transferred to the Ulyanovsk City Hospital and be connected to an artificial kidney machine. The doctor from the Ulyanovsk Hospital said that his condition was extremely grave... Then someone called and invited me to come to the hospital because on March 1 they could not give me much attention as they were preparing for the arrival of the Minister of Defense who was to arrive on March 4, 2009. (The Ulpressa: ‘The Minister of Defense, Anatoly Serdyukov, planned to make 1 day visit to Ulyanovsk. The preparation for the visit was thorough since they were to discuss the Region's sharp problem, i.e. relocation of the Ulyanovsk Military School to Volsk, Saratov Region, as well as the possibility to reconsider the problem. A. Serdukov flied to Ulyanovsk but for some reason changed his route.')

‘We made calls to the hospital in the morning and in the evening but got no comforting news. On March 13, my husband called and was told that our son had died without recovering his consciousness.'

From the letter of answer to the inquiry of the Military Registration and Enlistment Office: ‘...In the course of the examination in the ARD the chest X-ray showed the pneumonic infiltration of confluent character in the lower lobes of both lungs; pneumatization in the apexes of lungs. The diagnosis was as follows: ‘Double polysegmental pneumonia with localization in the lower and middle lobes of the left lung; extremely grave condition. Acute Breathing Insufficiency - stage 3. Infection and Toxic shock. Coma 1, of unclear aetiology.' Ivan Zalesov's Death Certificate lists acute kidney failure and peroral poisoning (the poison was not identified) as the causes of death.'

The materials of the investigation on the death of Ivan Zalesov by the Investigation Department of the RF Office of Public Prosecutor of the Ulyanovsk Garrison did not clear up the story of Vanya's death. This document contains more questions than answers. They did not identify the poison that had allegedly killed Ivan. They did not establish the circumstances of the ‘poisoning'. It's not only the mother who is at a loss. It's a rare occurrence when even the commissar who had sent Vanya to military service had many questions concerning the story; he sent them to the investigation bodies with the hope to receive persuasive answers. The commissar's inquiry ends as follows: ‘In addition, I should inform you that the lack of any official information on the death of Ivan Zalesov gives rise to rumours that make nervous parents of the RF Army servicemen (and of those who will be called up in 2009).'

And sure enough, such stories make conscripts' parents nervous. Who and why needed a boy with enuresis and bad eyesight in the Army? 

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