Межрегиональный интернет-журнал «7x7» Новости, мнения, блоги
  1. Horizontal Russia
  2. Saving Private Abramov. A Krasnodar woman got disappointed in the system while trying to get her husband released from the army

Saving Private Abramov. A Krasnodar woman got disappointed in the system while trying to get her husband released from the army

Collage 7x7
Share with your friend in Russia. No VPN required

"We do not answer questions over the phone, come in person, talk to the doctor," a military official snapped at her and hung up. Ksenia put the phone down, glanced at her three-year-old son Sasha who was playing in the room and began calling her friends. It was a two-hour drive from Krasnodar to Goryachy Klyuch, too far to haul the child along. She reached the neighboring town by the evening, tired and coming down with a cold, her voice breaking from constant tension. The military commissar smiled at her and said: "I told you, the doctor is away. Come back tomorrow."

Ksenia had been traveling from Krasnodar to Goryachy Klyuch back and forth since the end of September when her husband Alexei was mobilized. He was suffering from a spinal injury and certainly, the army wasn’t the right place for him. She was trying to get him back home. In her search for justice, she wrote dozens of petitions, lost a trial, and walked the streets protesting.

The phone call

In early summer, Alexei Abramov got a phone call from his mother. She said that she found in her mailbox a message from the military enlistment office inviting Alexei to join the army as a volunteer. He declined the offer. In September, another phone call requested him to report to the military registration office.

“Go, it must be a mistake," Ksenia said, and she accompanied her husband to Goryachy Klyuch, a town 25 miles away from Krasnodar, the Abramovs’ home.

Later she would refer to this moment as a fatal mistake: she did not try to stop him or convince him to leave the country.

Ksenia had grown up in a military environment in a small seaside town. Her stepfather and her ex-boyfriend were servicemen. The family had many friends in the military. At some point, even Alexei considered joining the Rosgvardia. He had served, when on compulsory service, in the medical corps. But then he got hurt and the army was out of the question.

Eight years earlier, Alexei, a professional athlete and powerlifting coach, severely injured his back and it took him almost a year and a half to recover. Doctors expected that Alexei would never be able to walk again, but over time he even stopped limping. He continued working as a coach and developing training programs, including ones for injured athletes. Ksenia was assisting him.

In good shape and very impressive on the bench press, Alexeia didn’t look like someone with health problems. In the summer of 2022, he got an offer from the military enlistment office in Goryachy Klyuch to join the "Bars" group (a reserve unit for the Defense Ministry; in the time of peace they exercise and during armed conflicts they go on military missions). Alexei submitted his medical reports explaining that he wasn’t fit for the infantry, but if needed he could serve in the medical corps.

Collage 7x7

Collage 7x7.

However, no changes to Abramov's military status had been made except for a mobilization order that was attached to his ID (in case of mobilization, one has to go to an enlistment office with this document not waiting for a summons). But he was promised that there was nothing to worry about because the order was pertinent only to military actions in the territory of the Russian Federation.

On September 20, there was another call from the military office with a request to come. He discussed the situation with his wife and promised to be there in two days. Next day, Ksenia met a colleague at work, in tears. “What happened?” "Don't you read the news?" That's how Ksenia first heard about the "partial mobilization." 

After work, she went to a private clinic, where her husband had been examined, and picked up his medical records. Alexei took them to the military enlistment office. They arranged an appointment for another medical check-up for him and let go home pack. The next day Alexei was gone.


Ksenia expected him back home the same day. But he called saying that he was already 60 miles away at a military unit near the settlement of Krasnooktyabrsky. Their group would spend the night there before going to a garrison near Maykop. There was no medical examination. In Maykop, the doctor checked his temperature and said that all medical issues should’ve been resolved in Goryachy Klyuch. At the garrison, they didn’t do such things.

Alexei and others with health issues demanded to see doctors, only to be completely ignored by the commanders. Ksenia decided to complain to the prosecutor's office.

“I figured that nobody really knew what kind of medical examination for the mobilized was required. They played “football” with us, the military enlistment office passing us to the Maykop garrison, the garrison back to the military enlistment office, and the prosecutor's office to the garrison again. At the military unit they explained later that they were rejecting our requests because they didn't have a section and staff to process them," Ksenia recalls.

In early October, Alexei’s group was taken to Dzhankoi in Crimea and assigned to different units. Alexei was appointed to artillery with the specialty of "geodsist," though with his injury he could not lift anything heavy, especially canon shells, and he never did any engineering work before.

“In our previous discussions about military service, we wanted it to be meaningful, that people would benefit from it. But the mobilizatoin was absolutely useless. He couldn't do anything that wasn't detrimental to his health. So he had to work in the kitchen, collect firewood, and do other household chores," Ksenia says.

Her friends, who had been with the troops in Ukraine since February, told her: “Get him back home. With his back, there is nothing for him to do there, he will be killed.”

Ksenia contacted other soldiers’ relatives trying to figure out how to proceed. She decided that there was no other way but to get a medical exemption for Alexei.


The woman began sending appeals to government agencies. She wrote complaints to the prosecutor's office and the military investigation department at her husband’s garrison and asked for assistance from local elected officials. She called the Council of Mothers and Wives (a women’s association that fights against violations by military institutions and consults soldiers’ relatives) but was unable to reach them even using different devices and automatic dialers. She wrote letters to the Commissioner for Human Rights and even to the President.

The answer was either formal or there was no answer at all. The agencies referred Ksenia to each other. Some of the answers were identical as if officials used a template and never tried to get to the heart of the problem:

“For example, I complain to the prosecutor's office that the military unit refuses to conduct a medical examination for my husband, and I explain that he can’t file a report himself. But the prosecutor's office writes back to me: your husband is now under military supervision, and these issues are to be resolved in the army. As if they hadn't even read my message.”

Often they requested Ksenia to come in person, not to write an appeal. She did and presented her husband's medical documents. The response was: "We can't help you.”

A letter from the head of a military investigation department conforming that Ksenia had demanded a military medical commission on several occasionsA letter from the head of a military investigation department conforming that Ksenia had demanded a military medical commission on several occasions
The answer requesting Alexei Abramov be sent to the military medical commissionThe answer requesting Alexei Abramov be sent to the military medical commission
The order to send Alexei Abramov to the military commission. Ksenia had been demanding this for three monthsThe order to send Alexei Abramov to the military commission. Ksenia had been demanding this for three months
A travel document issued to Alexei Abramov to go to the military medical commissionA travel document issued to Alexei Abramov to go to the military medical commission

“They didn't see me as a human being. It was such a shock to me. At the age of thirty I suddenly realized what a cruel and scary world I was living in," she says.

Ksenia had to cope with the bureaucrats’ rudeness and indifference on her own. To Alexei's mother, the news that her son had been mobilized would be too much. Ksenia's mother lives in another city, too far to travel. Abramova felt like she was losing her mind.

“Even burying loved ones, I did not feel so bad. It was different, and you knew that it was some kind of final situation that you could cope with. Here it is complete uncertainty. I met other wives, we would stare at each other at the store, and they had the eyes of completely crazy people.”


None of the public or military officials listened to Ksenia. She was sick, her voice was breaking, and she developed a nervous stuttering. Eventually, she even had to quit her main job, as a seafood sales manager.”

“It is very difficult to sell something when your voice suddenly breaks during the call," she says.

Ksenia had stopped coaching athletes and left her third job as a fire show performer. There was only enough time to write complaints and babysit. The woman did not know what to do: to save money for warm clothes and a bullet-proof vest for Alexei or to spend it on printing out documents and trips to the military investigation department.

His loved ones came to her rescue. Checking her card balance, Ksenia found money transfers from friends, even from those to whom she had never mentioned her situation. They were helped with filing appeals, called the military assistance hotlines, and babysat Sasha. Friends had also convinced Ksenia that it would make sense to talk to journalists.

Ksenia didn’t want publicity. Despite her artistic background, she does not post photos on social networks. But to save her husband, she decided to open up about her situation.

Soon, her story was in Kuban newspapers and websites. Every publication was changing something: Ksenia was receiving calls from the military unit, a medical examination was promised, and the military investigation department was inviting her for talks. An investigator at the prosecutor's office confirmed that he had to "work on the cases registered in the mass media.”

“At the military enlistment office, they were afraid of the public talking. They told me: if everyone tried to bring husbands back like that, what would happen to the country?”

As time passed, Alexei's health deteriorated. His unit was stationed near Dzhankoy.

“I hadn’t heard from him for ten days, and then I found out that he had received threats and that his disease was getting worse. During shooting training, my husband, like all boys, tried to show off, that he could shoot and run, which was too much for him. He ended up in bed. Injections of anesthetic did not help, but at the medical unit, they didn’t even register his visits.

Following some journalists’ advice Ksenia decided to try a new plan - to get a medical examination through the court. 


She started looking for a lawyer and was stunned by the prices. Lawyers were asking for 100 thousand rubles ($1,350) for two court meetings and 50 thousand rubles ($675)  for drafting pretrial complaints. She did not have that kind of money.

Then Igor Azarov, a Krasnodar City Duma councilor, who was assisting Ksenia and some others to bring soldiers back home, introduced her to lawyer Mikhail Benyash and took care of the expenses. Mikhail prepared the documents for the trial.

“These people supported me like no one else. When I was depressed, they called me, just to talk, to reassure me. They were the opposite of the indifferent officials and military bureaucrats,” Ksenia says.

On October 20, she filed an administrative claim at the city court in Goryachy Klyuch. Five days later, the court returned the lawsuit, as if because of incorrect signatures in the documents. Benyash rechecked them, filed the suit again, and registered a complaint against judge Alexander Dzigar.

"Fascism begins with exactly this kind of indifference to human life. And a country in which a comma in a document is more important than human life, won’t win any confrontation, armed or economic," Mikhail commented on the situation in his telegram channel.

Ksenia also needed witnesses for the trial. She turned to other wives and soldiers’ relatives, but they turned her down.

“Everyone felt like they were doomed, that they had no power and no rights. People really feel helpless like insects who can't do anything. It was terrifying because it wasn’t about some comfortable living conditions, but about human lives - your own or our loved ones. I was told: you're fighting the wind, banging your head against the wall. Most likely nothing will happen, and maybe you'll make it even worse.”

Ksenia found out that some families were getting phone calls with threats that if they continued to make noise about their relatives in the army, something bad might happen to them.

“My husband was once told: everyone limping and disgruntled would be shot in the back in the first battle," the woman says.

The first court meeting took place on November 22. The physician, who testified, did not look like the doctor whose appearance was described to Ksenia by her husband and some other mobilized people. Plus, according to Ksenia, the head doctor at the commission was a paramedic, not a physician with a medical school diploma as the regulations require.

At the trial, the doctor avoided answering questions about the procedure at the medical commission, and during the hearings, she was making sarcastic remarks behind Ksenia's back.

“I couldn't stand it, I turned to her, looked in her eyes - actually they were always looking away - and said: ‘If my husband dies, I'll be the first to call you and let you know.’ And she said to me, ‘I have never seen you or your husband in my life.’”

On December 15, the court dismissed Abramova's suit. The clerks were reluctant to give Ksenia a copy of the court decision, saying that until 6 pm everyone was busy, and then the work hours would be over. Desperate, she burst into tears.

“The bailiffs at the entrance tried to comfort me. Mikhail [Benyash] said: ‘You have two options. Either you go through all offices now, raising noise and crying. Or you sit down, make a written request and demand an answer, also in writing, why they refuse to give you the documents.’ And when I did what he said, they gave me everything immediately. It took two minutes. This is how it was everywhere: tears, threats, and scandals.”

In those days Ksenia got a sinus infection. Her face was swollen and her eyes in pain, plus a horrible toothache. She refused an operation as she didn’t want to waste time recovering. Ksenia chose antibiotics, and when she felt better, she decided to take her first public action.


On December 20, the woman went out on a picket in front of the regional administration. Her placard said: "Bring my husband back! Unhealthy soldiers shouldn't be in the SMO [special military operation] zone."

“I couldn’t wait any longer. I called my husband and I could tell from his voice that he was getting worse. A military investigator asked me, ‘How did you get the idea to go out on a picket?’ Out of despair, not because I really wanted to, or because I was bored, or had nothing better to do. I didn't see any other solution," Ksenia says.

She had stood with her placard for only a few minutes, as an administration clerk approached her. He asked her to come in and prepare an appeal to the governor: this way the Defense Ministry would consider her husband’s case faster.

On January 8, an order to hold a commission for Alexei arrived at his unit. Ksenia believes that she "had just worn everyone out".

“Sometimes I felt as if I couldn't fight anymore. But then I thought that something might happen to my husband. I wouldn't be able to live with myself then, knowing that I could have done something and hadn't. It would be unforgivable to take a break now, because I was tired, and put to risk the life of the man I loved. I think others who gave up just didn't understand in what kind of trouble their loved ones really were. When I heard other wives saying things like, "Well, he won't be drinking there, and the pay is good," I wanted to slap them and bring them to their senses.”


Before the medical examination in Buynaksk, 1,200 km (745 miles) away from Dzhankoy, Alexei came home. He took his son to kindergarten and did laundry. Kindergarten teachers later asked Ksenia: "Has your husband been wounded?" They saw him limping.

Collage 7x7

Collage 7x7.

On January 10, Abramov left for Buynaksk. On the same day, Ksenia received a phone call from the regional administration. A clerk explained that the commission would take place within two weeks, and until then, if there were no beds available in the military hospital, Alexei might be sent to Goryachy Klyuch. This, he said, should be prevented, or the examination results might be ruled null and void.

Ksenia believed that all now was up to the doctors’ opinion. But during his first days in Buynaksk, Alexei saw some specialists and they found him fit for service with only minor restrictions. That meant that he would be sent back to his motorized rifle unit, exactly where he was stationed before the hospital.

But the crucial appointment was to be with the neurosurgeon. They had to wait two weeks, the doctor was available for only a few hours on Wednesdays. When Alexei arrived at the clinic at two in the morning, he was fifth in line. Ksenia did not sleep, waiting for her husband's call.

The neurosurgeon said that Abramov needed surgery, which, he added, would hardly be performed at the military hospital.

Ksenia called the military investigation department and demanded additional examinations. The neurologist at the military hospital promised to arrange them. Then another problem emerged: Alexei's medical documents, both originals and copies, got somehow lost. Ksenia brought new ones from the clinic.

“It feels like they’re expecting us to accept the results of the commission. To get any progress in the case I had to complain or go to the media, only then things moved forward.

Ksenia thinks that she has exhausted all legal methods in dealing with the system, and yet she believes that there is no other way.

“I asked Alexei to leave the unit, but he refused. He wants to do everything by the law. I tell him: the law doesn't give a damn about us, what they're doing to us is already illegal! And he answers: ‘It's not just our fight. If we screw up, what happens to the people who believe in legal ways?’ I don't know if should I be proud of my husband or angry with him.”

Ksenia still doesn't want to surrender her husband to the system.

“I told him: You're not going back there under any circumstances. If nothing gets decided now, I'll let him have surgery, and how would they take him away afterward? If he gets criminally charged for leaving the unit, there will be trials. What else can we do? As my lawyer and I were driving home from the court, we listened to a song on the radio that said, ‘I love my country so much and hate the state.’ Now I understand this song very well.”

I still love my country, but what it is doing terrifies me. Human life really isn't worth anything to military bureaucrats, commanders, prosecutors, and judges.


Материалы по теме
Комментарии (0)
Мы решили временно отключить возможность комментариев на нашем сайте.
Start a blog
New articles
All sections