Protection of rights of recruits and servicemen with psychic disorders


Editor’s note:We print some documents which were sent by our colleagues from the Russian fund ‘Mother’s right’. This fund was created in Russia in 1990 to protect civil rights of servicemen and members of their families. The fund’s bulletin also named ‘Mother’s right’ often publishes materials, which are actual for Ukraine too. In what follows we publish the resolution of the conference that was held in Volgograd and was aimed at drawing attention of the public to enlisting of recruits with psychic disorders.

Readers of ‘Prava ludyny’ remember that we also publish materials about this painful problem. Kharkiv Union of soldiers’ mothers found from the complaints received in 1998 – 99 that out of 20 soldiers who deserted their units 14 complained of psychic disorders. After we turned to the Ministry of Defense 11 from them were demobilized with psychiatric diagnoses. Certainly, all of them were the immediate victims of dedovshchina. Besides, in all cases of mutilation, suicide or murder the victims and often the perpetrators had psychic disorders of different kinds.

Thus, servicemen with psychic disorders obviously should not be taken to the army. Unfortunately, recruitment of psychic cases is not a rare exception. That is why the program initiated in Russia by the fund ‘Mother’s right’ would be useful and actual for Ukraine.

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The material published below is taken from the leaflet describing the materials of the conference ‘Protection of rights of recruits and servicemen with boundary psychic deviations, character pathologies and other psychic disorders’. The conference was held on 20 April 1999 in L. S. Vygodskiy charity society jointly with ‘Mother’s right’ with the financial aid of the Institute of open society. The conference was attended by leaders of human rights protection NGOs, representatives of legislative and executive organs, members of recruiting commissions, psychologists, psychiatrists and journalists. The medical establishments and military hospitals were widely represented too.

In 1995 the L. S. Vygodskiy charity society in Volgograd, as the only public organization in the region, which protects the rights of youth in the sphere of psychic health, received an appeal from the fund ‘Mother’s right’ to organize the independent psychiatric expertise for servicemen who became victims or perpetrators of grave conflicts in the army because of psychic disorders. This activity was passed to the medico-psychological center ‘Neuro’. The medical aid was rendered on charity principles up to 1999, until the charity society got a grant form the Institute of open society.

At present this program has become supported by the Volgograd city administration and several native and international charity organizations.


According to the data of mothers’ organizations, more than 80% of appeals for help are related with servicemen’s complaints of extreme depression or extreme aggression. This statistics is confirmed by military psychologists which believe that 18% of servicemen must be sent from the units due to their inadequate reactions and general psychical state.

Many youths have obvious disorders formed in their childhood or adolescence. Such ‘special’ youths are weakly differentiated and are regarded as practically healthy. That is why they are taken to the army as everybody else. Later, having got under the press of strong psychical and physical load, their pathological psyche cannot find adequate reaction, their adaptation mechanisms run out and acute behavioral breakdowns occur.

Another group of servicemen are those who acquire psychic disorders because of crimes which they observe in military units. Their psychic disorders may be caused by head traumas or tortures. The army conceals that psychic disorders depend on the military service.

Unstable psyche of a partly abnormal soldier who is well-armed is an immense and tragic problem for the army. Neglecting this problem causes terrible and irreparable consequences: suicides, torturing or murdering comrades at arms. To lose a son or to learn that he became a murderer of a son of another distraught with grief mother is, perhaps, equally awful.

A young man with the unusual behavior must serve in the army with many defensive restraints or be exempted from the army service.


The first link of the chain is when the parents turn for help to ‘Mother’s right’. The relations with the army for each soldier must be solved in a rather complicated manner, by organizing the proper chain, by overcoming many difficulties, since the state and the army, psychiatric establishments regard the sick as simulators, and have a tendency to underestimate the state of the diseased. These conflicts can be resolved only by the independent psychiatric expertise.

To support the right of the serviceman with psychic disorders for demobilization from the army or for the special attention in the army, the center ‘Neuro’ carries out the apparatus and computer investigation, which results in a well-proven psycho-neurological diagnosis determining the character, acuteness, direction and degree of the possible decompensation or aggression. The expertise results are recorded in the form of recommendations. In doubtful cases the patient is directed to the stationary examination.

Using these recommendations, an independent lawyer and a psychologist give their own recommendations and aid the serviceman and his parents to write the correct documents to the military prosecutor’s office. Then the medical and legal recommendations are directed to the military command and to independent public organizations, which provide the legal escort. In the case of a conflict with the military the documents serve as the basis for the claim to court. The court decision, as a rule, protects the serviceman.


The growth of frequency and graveness of adaptation breakdowns of servicemen makes the society pay attention to this problem, and the realization promotes the cooperation between the society and the military agencies. In particular, it focuses the attention on the work of recruiting commissions.

It is very essential for the medical commissions to find the psychic deviations of the youth in the pre-army period and put him under a special observation during his army service. Lately the center ‘Neuro’ records data on the accidents, which happened with those servicemen, about whom the center warned the commissions. The statistic is very convincing, and now the recruiting commission pay more attention to warnings from the center. Now army psychologists sometimes turn to the center ‘Neuro’, asking them for an expertise before the recruit will take an oath.

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