The attack on the 94-year-old veteran of the Great Patriotic War in a small village near Krasnoyarsk struck with its cynicism not only the Krasnoyarsk Territory, but the entire country.
Coincidentally, just these days, Vladimir Putin signed a package of laws to toughen responsibility for the rehabilitation of Nazism, including for the public dissemination of knowingly false information about veterans of the Great Patriotic War. For this, criminal liability is threatened – up to 5 years in prison. But nothing strikes us so painfully as the impossibility in the country to protect those who once defended the country from the Nazis.
But there are fewer and fewer veterans-front-line soldiers, they are all over 90 years old. And it is not false information that threatens them, but specific robbers.
The robber’s goal was a modest pension of 20 thousand rubles
According to our colleagues from NGS24.RU, the robbery took place in the afternoon: the suspect entered Gennady Kuzmich Gubin’s apartment and demanded money. Having received a rebuff, he beat the old man. The veteran was not seriously injured, but he went through serious stress. NGS24.RU journalist Yakov Kalinin immediately after the attack went to the village of Zykovo to find out how the last veteran lives in the village and how protected he feels.
Here, in Zykovo, Gennady Kuzmich is the only surviving war veteran, a living legend. True, in recent years, the front-line soldier has been leading a reclusive lifestyle. He has no children or grandchildren, and only a social worker and a woman who prepares food visit him on a regular basis.
On the main road Zykovo we get to the local administration – a one-story old building housed the police department, the MFC and, in fact, the administration under the roof. Opposite – a building with a smartphone repair company and a store, a banner “Happy Victory Day!” Is stretched on the wall. Nearby there is a monument to those who died in the Great Patriotic War.
Monument to those killed in the Great Patriotic War at the local administration
The head of the local village council, Aleksey Sorokovnikov, willingly agrees to talk to us – he learned about the second beating of the veteran, on the day of our visit. Just returned from the apartment of a front-line soldier.
– Doctors examined Gubin, his condition was found to be satisfactory, but Gennady Kuzmich experienced severe stress. Everyone is haunted by him today: the police, social security, and your colleagues. It’s hard for him, he doesn’t want to communicate with anyone, ”Sorokovnikov patiently explains. – All this happened in broad daylight, at 11 o’clock. Gennady Kuzmich’s door is always open, he is an open person himself – schoolchildren, young people, everyone who is interested in our history and the war itself, constantly visit him. Therefore, the attacker freely entered his apartment. He demanded money, and Gennady Kuzmich says that, they say, there is no money. Then the unknown hit him in the face with his fist and continued beating him. The veteran realized that he would not be able to fight back, and agreed to give money – about 20 thousand rubles. So this attacker, one might say,
Why didn’t the veteran ask for help? It’s simple – Gennady Kuzmich does not recognize telephones. The robbery took place on Sunday, and it was only on Monday that the beaten veteran was found by a social worker. Before that, he could not get in touch with anyone. The female social worker thought that her charge had simply fallen, but he later admitted that he had been beaten.
The veteran lives in a three-story well-kept house. A few whole sidewalks lead there
From the private sector of Zykovo we move to a part of the village with panel and brick houses. We move along broken paths flooded with melt water. It is difficult to stay on your feet in many places, but the elderly seem to walk here every day. Gubin’s house, a neat three-story building, is located on the outskirts of the village.
Near the store, a man with short gray hair, sitting on a bench, calls us.
– What are you filming here? – asks in a slightly hoarse voice.
Upon learning about the beaten veteran, the stranger begins to be vividly indignant, next to him is a teenage girl in a colorful jacket and a band-aid on her face. The stranger is not shy about expressions in front of a child:
– Yes, we met today! I live opposite him, I see from the window how he eats, goes about his business. I was brought to him today for identification, but he immediately said that it was not me. Well, you yourself think about how to beat him, how old is he (addresses the girl)? More than ninety years old! Well, how to beat him? And he has bruises on half of his face!
The local himself calls out to journalists and willingly communicates, not disdaining profanity
We approach the veteran’s house.
– Gosh! Gosh, come here! – a plump woman shouts across the street, and a small-breed dog appears from the bushes. Having learned why we came, the woman at first refuses to communicate, but she says word for word:
“Nobody locks the door here, we’re over there,” she waved her hand towards the sign on the wall that the house is the best in Zykovo. – People here know each other and help. When Kuzmich’s wife was still alive, she was ill, he came down to us, asked for help to turn her over. But when he was beaten, it is not clear why he did not go down. Apparently stress. This is a healthy grandfather, he is big, big. You can’t say that he is 94 years old. But when his wife died, he completely stopped going out. She is at home all the time.
The door to the entrance, despite the presence of an electronic lock, is really open. The interior is neat and clean, on each floor there are numerous flowers on the window. We find the apartment we need by following the traces of the forensic specialists – they took fingerprints from the surfaces. Inside you can hear the ringing voice of a woman and a veteran’s bickering, a couple of minutes later Olga Belkina, a social worker who visits Gennady Kuzmich five times a week, appears in the crack of the door.
Olga is one of the veteran’s two regular visitors. Visits him 5 times a week
– Kuzmich, I closed the door, – warns her ward Olga. – Now I will probably always lock it up. Here, despite the chips, everything is open, but this was not the case before.
The woman complains that the veteran, after all the shocks, feels bad and is not ready to communicate with anyone. The door to the apartment was really always open, but, according to Olga, none of the locals would dare to do such an act, the one who knew about this peculiarity of the pensioner was robbing:
– He describes him as a tough young guy. He says that he was undressed, but this is again from his words. You understand that due to age it is no longer possible to correctly interpret something.
Two days after the attack, the investigators announced the identification of the suspect. It turned out to be a local resident who had just met us at the store, who was vividly indignant at the beating of a veteran. As NGS24.RU was informed in law enforcement agencies, the suspect works as a taxi driver, has previously been repeatedly convicted of theft, robbery, but got off with suspended sentences. The last one is in 2020. At the same time, the suspect’s children worked as volunteers, including helping veterans, so the alleged robber knew for sure that the pensioner did not close the door in the apartment. During the preparation of the material, the suspect had not yet appeared for interrogation by the investigators.
The wife of Gennady Kuzmich died a couple of years ago. Since then, he stopped leaving the apartment.
Gennady Kuzmich talked about his life path in an interview with the local library. The war caught him when he was in the sixth grade. At the age of 18 he went to serve in the army – in 1943 he underwent accelerated training in Novosibirsk, becoming an artilleryman. At first, the young fighter guarded the railway near Moscow, along it to the front from the east of the country, trains with personnel, ammunition and food went to the front. Then he was sent to Smolensk. Gennady Kuzmich fought near Warsaw, liberated Belarus from the Nazis and participated in artillery preparation during the capture of Berlin – it was there that he received a shrapnel wound to his hand, it was literally collected in pieces. Gennady Kuzmich met the victory in a hospital near Tashkent.
In Zykovo, Gubin had a friend, also a veteran. Alexander Alexandrovich Kalevatykh, a military driver, and after a battle wound – a scout. The head of the village council Alexei Sorokovikov said:
– Gennady Kuzmich lives with us on the third floor, San Sanych – in the house opposite on the first floor. And they were constantly looking at each other through the window, waving to each other, saying greetings. Since we very often with the administration staff, with the youth movement, we went to one, then to the second veteran, and they tried to pass some sweets to each other. They tried to communicate day after day. When he was still alive, the year before last, at the parade, we specially planted him in front of Gubin’s window, and they watched the whole parade at each other. They didn’t need planes or parades – they just looked at each other.
San Sanych died after the Victory Day parade in 2019. He left at the age of 96.
Protection on paper and in life
The local department of social protection and the head of the village council assure that the only veteran is under protection – representatives of the administration, prosecutors and social workers regularly visit him. But no one was able to teach him to close the door. The law enforcement agencies clarified: the front-line soldier is afraid that he will feel bad and no one will find out. But that one could be afraid of someone from his native village did not occur to the old man. What kind of protection, in principle, can front-line soldiers rely on today?
– All people in need can conclude a contract for the provision of social services. Depending on the needs, the social worker can visit the recipient of services at least every day: clean the apartment, look after, go to the store, chop wood, heat the stove, pay utility bills, and so on. There are categories of citizens who can get these services completely free of charge, but on a paid basis it is not very big money. Last year, the woman signed a contract for 4 cleaning in the apartment per month, 12 trips to the store and payment of utilities. For everything – 800 rubles a month. There are boarding houses, very good ones, where pensioners will receive a full range of services. But as for physical protection, here on an individual basis it is probably worth contacting a security company. The ministry does not deal with such issues, – explained to us in the Ministry of Social Protection of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. – Although, for example, in Moscow, veterans are installed so-called panic buttons, when in case of bad health or danger, an old man can press it, and they will immediately come to him. It is clear that you cannot install such buttons in every village, but looking after one front-line soldier for the whole village is probably not such a difficult task if you take it seriously. This is real concern for veterans, not false information laws. They may not know about her, but getting punched in the face is another matter. but looking after one front-line soldier in the whole village is probably not such a difficult task if you take it seriously. This is real concern for veterans, not false information laws. They may not know about her, but getting punched in the face is another matter. but looking after one front-line soldier in the whole village is probably not such a hard thing if you take it seriously. This is real concern for veterans, not false information laws. They may not know about her, but getting punched in the face is another matter.
Today in the Krasnoyarsk Territory there are only 435 invalids and veterans of the Great Patriotic War. It would seem that there is not much to ensure the safety of everyone. Especially considering how much attention is now being paid at the federal level to them and the theme of Victory in general.
We turned for a comment to Mikhail Fedotov, a human rights activist, lawyer and former chairman of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for promoting the development of civil society institutions and human rights. We asked to comment on the attack on the front-line soldier that happened near Krasnoyarsk. And they asked if the amendments to the law are capable of providing full protection for veterans like Gennady Kuzmich.
“We all have the greatest respect for our veterans. They are becoming less and less every year, and their role in our life is becoming more and more. We remember their great deed. Of course, any Russian citizen treats veterans with respect. As for this case, the police should deal with it: there is a whole bunch of articles of the Criminal Code, but the rule about insulting veterans is not applicable here. Our law and order will be strong not when the punishment is very harsh, but when it is inevitable, if those who robbed the veteran are punished (whatever it may be – five years, ten years in prison), this is not important … The main thing is that they are punished. Impunity breeds new crimes, Fedotov believes.