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Are there privileges for the parents of servicemen perished in the army?

V. Kharuta, Kharkiv
In 1991 under the pressure of desperate mothers of servicemen who returned home in zinc coffins in the peaceful time, the Supreme Rada of Ukraine adopted the law ‘On social and legal protection of servicemen and their families’ of 20 December 1991.

According to this law, some privileges to the members of families of the servicemen, who perished, died, missed in action or became invalids during their military service. The privileges were not granted if the servicemen perished or died during their military service as a result of committing crimes by themselves.

The law stimulated privileges in the following spheres:

in the improvement of their living accommodation;

in reducing payments for the communal services;

in building individual houses;

in privatization of flats;

in paying for intra-town and inter-town transportation;

in taxes.

The Ukrainian law ‘On pensions of servicemen in the army or bodies of internal affairs’ of 9 April 1992 the following auxiliary privileges were stipulated:

the parents of servicemen perished during their service had the right to retire on a pension five years earlier than usual;

their pensions were raised by 50% of the minimal old-age pension.

The Ukrainian law ‘On the status of war veterans and guarantees of their social protection’ of 23 November 1995 (together with the changes introduced on 22 December 1995) stipulated that, according to point 10 part 2, the action of this law was extended to the families of servicemen perished (missed in action) or died as a result of a wound, contusion or injury inflicted during defense of the motherland or the execution of other obligations of the military service (service duty), and also as a result of a disease caught during the military service or on the territory of other states during military actions and conflicts there.

The words ‘service duty’ separated the families of the perished servicemen into two categories: perished ‘during the execution’, when they are granted some auxiliary privileges, and perished ‘during the military service’, to which the privileges are granted according to the laws of 20 December 1991 and 9 April 1992. The new law on the status of war veterans did not cancel the privileges; it only separated the families of the perished into two categories. Cases of suicide are related to the ‘during the service’-category. What is the true cause of their death, was it really a suicide, what were the reasons of it? All these questions are usually unanswered. The sons have perished and the authorities, without any grounds, began to cancel the privileges for the parents.

The authorities refer to the Ukrainian law ‘On pensions’ of 5 November 1991, but the law ‘On pensions of servicemen in the army and bodies of internal affairs’ was adopted later, on 9 April 1992, and it is this law that stipulated the privileges to the parents.

The Ukrainian law ‘On the status of war veterans and guarantees of their social protection’ stipulates a number of privileges for the families of the servicemen perished during the execution of service duties.

As the result of numerous decisions and resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers and local state administration, practically all the privileges do not operate now, to say nothing about some of them which never operated.

So, all the privileges concerning the medical service are inoperable. The privileges concerning the communal services cost and the cost of living accommodation are practically equivalent to getting subsidies by other categories of the population. The parents of the perished could get subsidies.

The privileges for the transportation in the intra-town transport are real in trams, trolleybuses and subway, but not on buses, since they are all privately owned, or, otherwise, are renamed as root taxis. As to the privileges for inter-town transport, lately many cashiers refuse to give tickets referring to the fact that the privilege has been canceled. And what concerns the 50% discount in spring and autumn, most ticket offices refuse to give tickets. It is worthless even to mention out-of-turn reparation of private houses and state flats, or out-of-turn installation of telephone, or granting living accommodations.

As to increasing the old-age pension to 150% of the minimal one, it looks like a joke, since it makes Hr 24 (about 4 USD), that is less than one third of a normal pension.

The state also established an auxiliary pension for small children born after the death of the perished servicemen. The state hands out a tremendous sum of Hr 7.5 per month. The school takes for every child about two times more. We even do not mention the soaring prices for communal services, electricity, city transportation, food, clothing, medical service and so on. Thank you very much, our rulers, for your financial aid!

The introduction of the parents of perished servicemen into war veterans made it possible for different instances and levels of bureaucrats to shamefully throw out these new quasi-veterans in writing numerous instructions and resolutions. As a result, we are loosing the former privileges, since the new instructions mention the war veterans and lack the words ‘other citizens having the same rights’.

We are not ‘other citizens’, we are those who are doomed to the solitary old age, since the state killed our future.

Our state must stop to be shy and confess that in the country there exists a category of people, to whom the state is infinitely indebted. The state must adopt an honest well-balanced separate law ‘On the status and social protection of the families of servicemen perished in peaceful time’.

This law must guarantee normal living conditions for members of the families of servicemen perished during the execution of military service, it also must guarantee the care of the graves of the servicemen and their protection from the present and future vandals.

The law also must stipulate the free ritual services for the parents.

PL commentary.
When this material was being prepared for press, we have learned from the new state budget of Ukraine that the parents of the perished servicemen lost all their privileges! Every day the parents of the perished servicemen, who hardly make the ends meet, phone to the Union of soldiers’ mothers. These people do not know how they can live further. About 300 families, to whom, as V. Kharuta writes, the state is infinitely indebted, have lost the infinitesimal bits of support. What public moral can we speak about?

I. Sukhorukova
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