Tag Archives: Chelyabinsk

The Treatment of Private L.

Militaryparitet.com took time to highlight an article from Rusinfotoday.com on the deaths of Privates Lantsov and Tsybuk, as well as the case of the Samara conscripts in Astrakhan. 

21-year-old Kemerovo native Yevgeniy Lantsov last communicated with his wife on 5 January.  In her words, he coughed more than he talked, and he told her he couldn’t get out of bed.  

The military hospital refused to admit Lantsov because they didn’t think he was from one of their units.  It was only on 7 January that Lantsov was seen in a medical unit.  His command subsequently said that they had just moved, and their own medical unit was not set up.

On 10 January, now in serious condition, Lantsov was transferred to the military hospital that originally refused him, and it promptly sent him to the Chelyabinsk Oblast Hospital.

Meanwhile, Lantsov’s command didn’t inform his parents about his condition; they found out when they called the hospital using a telephone number they got from the Internet.  Learning their son wasn’t getting better, they immediately flew to Chelyabinsk.

Lantsov’s mother and father met with a deputy military prosecutor in Chelyabinsk.  According to them, the prosecutor said:

“If you hadn’t come to us, we wouldn’t have known anything about this.”

On 21 January, Lantsov’s parents gave the prosecutor a statement about the absence of prompt medical care for their son, and the next day he died.

The elder Lantsov said:

“No one is concerned about soldiers.  No one needs a soldier.  They’re called up and abandoned.  What need was there to move the unit right before the New Year, when there’s such a freeze?  Officers themselves were in confusion, they had just settled in a new place, and nobody worried about the soldiers.”

For two years, Lantsov had a deferment because of a heart problem.  But he was inducted a month and a half after his daughter’s birth.  His father says:

“We asked for a deferment until spring – his wife was in the hospital with complications for a month after delivery, but they told us – they are discharging your wife, and we’re taking you.  They just have to fulfill the plan.  The order came from above – shave [i.e. induct] them all in turn.”

So Yevgeniy went in the army with a diagnosis of tachycardia and “insignficant limitations” on his service.  Being ordinary miners without connections or money to buy his way out, his parents weren’t able to help him evade service.  So, the dead serviceman leaves a wife, infant child, and a 7-year-old adopted daughter.

Private Konstantin Tsybuk died from an aggressive form of meningitis, although he’d been diagnosed with pneumonia.  He left a wife and 10-month-old daughter in Cherbarkul.  The military commissar of Chelyabinsk Oblast Nikolay Zakharov comments:

“The ‘father-commanders’ didn’t worry about normal, ‘human’ conditions of life for their own soldiers, as a result of this, in the full swing of winter’s freeze, one of them died.  It’s very bad that a soldier perishes in peace time, and not in the fulfillment of a combat mission.  The investigation is on-going and will bring the guilty people to account.”

More than 60 soldiers from Tsybuk’s unit are in the hospital with pneumonia.  Over the New Year’s holiday, the unit’s boiler blew up and the boiler house burned down.  And conscripts had just arrived, and were settled in the frozen barracks.  Tsybuk’s relatives said he called home and said that he had to sleep in his overcoat.  

The Main Military Prosecutor is investigating the illnesses in Tsybuk’s unit, and has found that certain officers did not conscientiously fulfill their duties in protecting the lives and health of their soldiers.  Senior Lieutenant Igor Gurov is being charged with negligence in Tsybuk’s case.

Lastly, Samara conscripts who arrived sent to Astrakhan were living in tents, according to the mother of one soldier, on a dirt floor covered with mattresses, without hot water, while it was -20° C (-4° F).

Many of them got sick, and their commanders didn’t hurry to get them medical attention until their parents went to the human rights ombudsman for Samara Oblast.  After this, their situation improved.  The sick were hospitalized, and the others got wooden floors for their tents and hot food.

Rusinfotoday.com concludes such stories are a dime a dozen:

“There isn’t a person in Russia who doesn’t know that our army is slavery.”

The army doesn’t spend money on elementary but expensive things like real medicine, hospitals, and doctors because:

“Soldiers are an expendable resource which everyone wants to make a profit on.”

“Our country simply doesn’t and won’t have an army.  Just the lives of young men driven into slave work, sacrificed right and left for practically no reason.”

Nezavisimaya gazeta’s Vladimir Mukhin has an article today claiming sources tell him there’s an army pandemic, with more than 2,500 men in the hospital with URIs, including more than 500 with pneumonia.  And the military’s medics have been cut 5-7 times.

The Main Military-Medical Directorate, meanwhile, is under investigation by both the Audit Chamber and the Main Military Prosecutor for questionable use of its budget in some instances, according to Mukhin.

In other related news, this morning IA Rosbalt reported an Australian citizen has died of swine flu in Ufa.

Tvoy den says Lantsov’s unit is under a quarantine, and has 36 soldiers in its medical unit with URIs.

IA Regnum reported Friday that there are some quarantine measures in place in Chelyabinsk, where 95 people have allegedly contracted swine flu.

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Sick in the Urals, and Elsewhere

The Defense Ministry’s suddenly got its hands full of sick conscripts in the Urals, Kaliningrad, and possibly Novosibirsk.  It’s also just a little defensive about the situation.

The situation sounds like it’s close to getting out of control.  First, it points up the poor health of many Russian conscripts coming into the army.  It  undermines Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov’s talk of “humanizing” conscript service.  And it returns us to the issue of the cuts in military medicine that several commentators have decried.  The issue of swine flu in the Urals is of more general concern. 

This round of problems with sick conscripts surfaced on 16 January when Konstantin Tsybuk died of pneumonia.  He served in v / ch 86727, the 255th Combined Arms Training Range in Chebarkul.  His duty officer, a Lieutenant Igor Gurov, didn’t report finding him ill, or seek medical assistance.  Investigators are now looking at negligence charges against Gurov.  The 20-year-old Tsybuk left a wife and infant daughter behind.  ITAR-TASS has reported there are 63 other pneumonia cases in Chebarkul’s military hospital.

As early as 19 January, RIA Novosti reported 25 soldiers from various garrisons were in Chernyakhovsk’s hospital with pneumonia.  A Baltic Fleet prosecutor was also on scene checking sanitary, heating, and clothing conditions in their units.

Svpressa.ru gave a full run-down on other reported pneumonia outbreaks in the army, including 100 cases in Novosibirsk, and 26 in Saransk.

On Friday, a conscript named Yevgeniy Lantsov apparently died from swine flu (A/H1N1 – California / Mexico) in the Chelyabinsk Oblast Clinical Hospital.  Lantsov was drafted from Kemerovo on 20 December, and served briefly in v / ch 69806, the first-rank air base at Chelyabinsk / Shagol.  He was the leading edge of a swine flu outbreak in Chelyabinsk.  Four locals have died since, and RIA Novosti reports 50 cases in the city.

On Monday, conscript Sergey Vasilyev serving in v / ch 55059, a training regiment at the former PUrVO junior specialist training center in Yelan, died of pneumonia in the 354th District Military Hospital in Yekaterinburg.  The Main Military Investigative Directorate is currently investigating his death for evidence of negligence.

The Defense Ministry’s mounted something of a PR campaign to counter bad publicity about sick conscripts.  Krasnaya zvezda advised citizens not to be alarmed about the “sanitary-epidemiological situation” in the Armed Forces.  It claimed the military’s sickness rate is down 21 percent on average compared with last year, specifically down 24 percent in the Western MD, 15 percent in the Central and Eastern MDs, and 11 percent in the Southern MD.  It says pneumonia cases are down 15 percent, and most are mild. 

Of course, we aren’t told what the absolute numbers were last year (or over many years), only about a relative improvement.  And none of these districts even existed last year, so there is lots of room for fudging the numbers. 

Vesti.ru covered Serdyukov’s visit to Tyumen and Tomsk last weekend where he outlined Defense Ministry efforts to prevent further outbreaks:

“A decision’s been made:  where the temperature drops below minus 20 degrees (-4° F), guard duty will be cut from two to one hour.  And outside drills will be moved indoors.”

“The entire central Defense Ministry apparatus is strictly following these issues.  Each of my deputies is observing a distinct region, how the situation is taking shape there.”

“I submit that we’ll handle the situation.”

Serdyukov was in Tyumen looking at establishing a presidential cadet school, ironically, on the grounds of a former military-medical institute where army medics were once trained.

Vesti.ru reported that sick conscripts said their barracks were practically unheated, and they had to sleep in their uniforms. 

Serdyukov ordered the Chief of the Main Military-Medical Directorate, General-Major Aleksandr Belevitin and a team of specialists to the area to investigate and check on measures to prevent further spread of viral and acute respiratory infections.

Short Stories

There aren’t enough hours in the day . . . quick takes on some stories of interest.

Rossiyskaya gazeta . . . Minregion again sternly warns of problems in heating military towns due to Defense Ministry debts . . . the Far East is the most serious case.

Nezavisimaya gazeta . . . Ukrainian Defense Ministry may not be able to cooperate on An-70 transport for financial reasons.

Argumenty nedeli . . . long expose on the death of Russian military medicine, and the consequences, as a result of Serdyukov’s cuts and reforms.

ITAR-TASS . . . the interdepartmental commission met at Sevmash today with Vladimir Popovkin leading a review of Yuriy Dolgorukiy’s readiness to test fire the Bulava.

ITAR-TASS . . . on Tuesday, Chelyabinsk’s governor called on Serdyukov to stop explosions at Chebarkul.  This mini-scandal’s been evolving since they started in early October.  Expired munitions are being destroyed, but locals are complaining of damage from tremors.  Serdyukov was supposed to go to Chelyabinsk, but sent logistics deputy Bulgakov in his place.  Bulgakov supervised an elaborate demonstration to show that the explosions aren’t powerful enough to shake Chelyabinsk.  Residents say they can feel them in the city’s high-rise buildings.  The military doesn’t get much credit for trying to get rid of old bombs like those that nearly leveled one of Ulyanovsk’s rayons last November.  See Novyy region or Moskovskiy komsomolets.

There is growing media attention to the military housing problem — will Medvedev, Putin, and the Defense Ministry keep their promise to solve the permanent housing problem by the end of 2010, or are they just changing the rules and extending their own deadline?  See IA Rosbalt, Svpressa.ru, or Nezavisimaya gazeta.