war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Report on monitoring the results of the recruiting campaign of spring 2000

The Kharkov oblast Union of soldiers’ mothers, Kharkov working group of the International Union of human rights and Kharkov Group for human rights protection regularly carry out monitoring of recruiting campaigns in Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast. In particular, we monitored the results of the campaign of 1999 and sent questionnaires to military units and got 22% of responses. During the monitoring of spring-2000 campaign we sent 77 letter to the units, where our recruits serve. We received 35 responses, i. e. 45.45% from the total number of the requests. Only one unit responded that the data requested by us make a service secret. The increase of the number of responses testifies that the military understand the use of such monitoring, as well as the growing trust in public organizations. We regard this phenomenon as one of positive changes, which have occurred in the army. We hope that our united efforts could lead to better results.

In those military units, about which we know, 1014 soldiers of the spring-2000 campaign serve, that equals 50.57% of the total number of the recruits (20005 persons).

1014 persons were investigated


From them:

Absolute number

% from the total number of investigated

1. Got to a hospital or a medical unit within the first month of service



2. Have chronic diseases, which became acute within the first days of army service.



3. Have behavioral deviations, were detained by militia, took narcotic drugs.



4. Related to the risk group as having suicidal inclinations.



5. Recruited with violation of legal norms (have the right of postponements according to Article 17 of the law ‘On military duty’



6. Concealed chronic illnesses from the commission to get to army.



7. Protested that they had no wish to serve in army.



8. Number of attempts to desert.



9. Number of suicidal attempts.





The commanders of 10 (28.57%) military units have no pretensions to the quality of the recruits.

Only 189 per 1014, i.e. 18.63% (some of them got into two or more groups) appeared to be inadequate for army service from the first days. The monitoring of 1999 resulted in similar numbers: 18.25%. The study of 2000 is more representational, that may be explanation why the proportion is larger than in the previous year. Besides, we believe that the responses were sent from better units, where commanders care about their subordinates, so the service there is easier. So, we got only one answer from a unit, where a suicide had happened, so we have no adequate data to debate this question.

The largest proportion of the unsuitable recruits is given by the Moskovskiy and Kharkovskiy district recruiting commissions of Kharkov and the Pervomayskiy recruiting commission of the Kharkov oblast. So, private L., who was recruited by Kharkovskiy district commission, got to the hospital with a kidney trouble. He was demobilized from the army with the conclusion that he had been ill before the army. All in all, 8 persons were demobilized from units studied during the first 2-3 months of the service. One cannot regard reliable the records like ’illness appeared due to military service’, since some military doctors make such records pitying the boys. All these boys had not been investigated adequately, they were called to the army in bad health, during the service their illnesses became more acute, so some of them returned from the army as half-invalids.

Some of the responses we could not read cool-bloodily. So, one of the commanders wrote that two of the five recruits-Kharkovites were dismissed from the army: private Ch. (the Zmiyov district recruiting commission) with the diagnosis ’organic lesion of the cerebral brain’, hydrocephalia, and private S. (the Moskovskiy district recruiting commission) with the diagnosis myocardial sclerosis. Private K. (the Barvenkovo district recruiting commission) committed the suicide. According to the postmortem, ’in the period before the death was in a psychic condition typical of suicide (schizoid features of character – personality of braking type)’. This means that all these boys should not be recruited.

The response from another unit read: ’I inform you that recruits from the Kharkov oblast (260 persons) passed the medical examination on the arrival to the unit, which enabled us to remark the insufficiently high level of their able-bodiness. Namely: private P. was dismissed according to Article 38 – rheumatism, rheumatic heart disease, etc. of the 1st stage; private S. was dismissed according to Article 18 – split personality, moderate, partly or completely compensated. Besides, 27 persons more are substantially undernourished – lack more than 15 kg of weight’. The response from this unit also informs that during the first month of the service 48 soldiers got to hospitals or medical unit. The lack of weight is not considered to be a reason for the postponement of recruiting. But is it reasonable to recruit dystrophics? There exist an opinion, that these boys will improve their health in the army. We categorically disagree: the army is not a sanitarium. Such servicemen will not be able for service. Maybe, a special program of rehabilitation is needed for such boys, which will enable the boys to improve their health and be recruited when they become able-bodied and able to serve.

Private Vitaliy L., taken by the Pervomaysk district recruiting commission of the Kharkov oblast, is characterized by the commander of his military unit as follows: ’L. always complained about his health, especially about his cardiac problems and enuresis. We were surprised when we read the recruiting commission recommendation to use L. as an organizer. L. passed the medical examination in the military unit. The examination showed that L. has the fourth (unsatisfactory) group of the psychic state, the high level of alarm, emotional unsteadiness, exalted type of personality. L. was directed to a hospital, from which he escaped. After L. was returned to the unit, he was directed to the oblast psychiatric hospital, where he was given the diagnosis: ’emotional unsteadiness, temporary enuresis’. According to medical recommendations, L. will be demobilized because of his health. Before the army L. was detained by militia, and even was condemned for theft, but the recruiting commission disregarded these facts’. Thus Vitaliy L. was a reason for troubles for his commanders, who, instead of training their subordinates, had to search, catch and heal him, wasting their time and nerves to correct the negligence of the recruiting commission.

Analyzing the addresses of recruits and their parents to public organizations, one can draw a conclusion that the most frequent cause of their complaints is the inadequate medical investigation. 18 persons turned to our organization during the spring recruiting campaign of 2000 with complaints that the medical commission of the recruiting commission disregarded their complaints about illnesses and did not direct them for the additional medical examination. After our interference the boys were examined. 16 out of 18 got a postponement or were considered as restrictedly able-bodied in the peaceful time. This means that 88.9% of the complaint were well grounded. Those recruits, who do not complain at their health, have no chance to get adequate medical examination. The worst lot awaits those, who decided to conceal their illnesses. The proportion of such is 2.46%. They do get to military units, but later they find that they are unable to serve, they become ill, mocked at, they desert. And then it is very difficult to prove that they got to the army by mistake.

Medical commissions have a difficult duty. Their attitude to executing their duty determines the lot of young people and the efficiency of the army. It is well known that unhealthy soldiers, especially with psychic deviations, most often become the objects of the dedovshchina. A man, who is given weapons, must be 100% psychically healthy. That is why, in out opinion, it is time to change the attitude of the doctors to recruits. Doctors must not wait for the complaints, they must industriously examine those, who will take weapons in their hands. Medical errors have a too high cost for the army, both material and moral.

Doctors, working in recruiting commissions, often complain at the excessive load during recruiting campaigns. The recruits, who were regarded as able-bodied before, during the previous registration, start to complain and demand the additional examination. This situation can be essentially improved. The reason is that the medical examination during the previous registration is very superficial. The boys come together with their class and they are shy to confess in some diseases. For example, it is difficult to fancy that a boy will tell about his enuresis or another disease of such type.

Besides, the Union of soldiers’ mothers receives complaints that recruits cannot get a complete examination because of the poverty of their parents. Some examinations are carried out only for pay: tomographic, immunologic and, some times, X-ray examinations. It is strange why the parents, who are sure that their children are unhealthy, had to pay to prove it. The recruits, who must be examined according to the direction of their recruiting commissions, stay in hospitals. It happens that they get very superficila or no examination at all. For example, recruit O. Who complained at toxico-allergic reactions, stayed in the special ward of a hospital, but was not examined at all. He was not given any allergic test, but he got the diagnosis ’practically healthy’. Recruit P., who has a sugar diabetes from his childhood, after staying in one of the city hospitals, got the diagnosis: ’bad tolerance to carbohydrates’. Now he will undergo additional tests. This controversy of interests is very expensive for the society.

We found that recruits and their parents do not know Article 15 of the Ukrainian law ’On introducing changes to the law on the universal military duty and military service’. That is why they await call-up papers instead of coming to recruiting commissions within one month after the declared mobilization. As a result, some of them are fined.


About 20% of young soldiers recruited from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast are unable to fulfil their service duties completely. It results in moral and material damage for the armed forces and for the state as a whole.


1. Turn to the Minister of Defense with the proposition to return to the restrictions on the insufficient weight of recruits, which was abolished by Order No. 207 of 12 July 1999.

2. Turn to the Kharkov oblast administration with the proposition about the creation of the program of rehabilitation for youths having the weight deficit.

3. To perfect the procedure of medical examination, in particular, during the previous registration, to interview recruits individually, not collectively.

4. To increase the responsibility of medical commission members for the quality of their work. Until the professional army is organized in Ukraine, the recruiting commissions must call to the army only such persons ho are able to fulfil their service duties.

5. To turn to the oblast education department with the request to information future recruits and their parents about their rights and duties during the recruiting campaign and about the procedure of medical examination.

6. To recommend to doctors working with youths to examine future recruits, finding diseases and treating them in the proper time. To inform such doctors about Order No. 207.

7. To oblige the oblast health protection department to provide the high-quality free examination of recruits.

P. S.
After this article was already printed in the Russian version of ’Prava ludyny’ the Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers received a letter from a military unit. We want to quote this letter: ’We need your help very much… This spring we have not got recruits from Kharkov or the Kharkov oblast. We got recruits from Odessa and Nikolayev, where no work like your is conducted. We have already demobilized many recruits from these oblasts of the spring call-up’.
 Share this