The Chelyabinsk Military Prosecutor has almost completed a preliminary inquiry into the most well known incident of “hazing” in recent Russian history, that of Andrei Sychev. The Sychevs’ lawyer Evgenii Belov went to Moscow yesterday to await the official report and to “give Andrei and his mother help in looking over all the documents”. The most important part of the report is the status of Private Sychev’s resulting illness which could have disastrous consequences for his long-term health.
Once Sychev and his lawyer have looked over the documents, they will be passed to the other side. The Chelyabinsk Military Court will then be asked to examine the case.
According to the prosecutor’s office a group of drunken long-serving officers, who were in charge of the Chelyabinsk Military School, during New Year celebrations beat a number of officers. Andrei Sychev was hurt more than the others, spent several days in a military hospital and was then taken to a civilian hospital in Chelyabinsk. The doctors there said that Sychev had been the victim of a “hazing” attack and that the only way to save his life was to amputate his legs.
The operation gave Sychev the chance to survive, but he is still in a critical state and he is not allowed visitors. In the course of the investigation young Sergeant Alexander Sivyakov, who was bullied Sychev, has been arrested.
Andrei Sychev’s condition has recently worsened with him suffering from internal bleeding. On a television channel on Sunday there was a programme in which head of land troops in Russia Alexander Maslov said that the information published in the media about Andrei Sychev had not been proven. In his speech the commander in chief said that Sychev’s condition was very serious. The soldier’s sister Marina Muffert said that Andrei saw the programme and after the commander’s speech he began to experience internal bleeding. Doctors managed to stop the bleeding, but have forbidden him from eating anything. Last week the soldier began to experience internal bleeding in his stomach after speaking to investigators from the prosecutor’s office.
In February the Ministry of Defense promised Sychev’s family that they would find out what had happened and that Andrei would be well looked after in the hospital. Galina Sychev was not allowed to travel with her son to the Burdenko Hospital. After his transfer to Moscow, the media changed their stance towards Sychev and the authorities. In March the Sychev family refused to take a flat in Ekaterinburg, it was suspected that the relatives wanted to profit from Andrei’s misfortune. Marina Muffert explained that she did not want to take the flat because Andrei would not have been able to travel from there to his medical appointments since he can only manage to travel a short distance.
Maslov’s words came as a complete surprise to the Sychev family. One of the possible reasons for the thrombophilia which Sychev is currently experiencing is the sores on his feet which he got in August 2005. Another reason is the constant beatings in the army. Galina Sychev refutes all diagnoses about her son’s illness saying, “I will insist on an independent diagnosis. How can they make a diagnosis when they have not even send his blood for analysis? Nobody wants to take responsibility for this”.
Sychev’s mother claims that a television programme shown on Sunday used her son’s words out of context. Rather than saying simply “Nobody was beaten,” Sychev actually said “Nobody was beaten to death, but they were kicked and beaten whilst being forced to sit in one pose”. Sychev laywer Evgenii Belov also did not agree with the words of the head of land troops in Russia. He said that medical experts have said that he was beaten and nobody has talked of an inherited disease. Belov says that he has the results of tests done in St Petersburg as proof that Sychev did not already have a condition before the beatings.
Translated by Michael Simpson