Committee of Soldiers' Mothers


per. Louchnikov 4/3, k. 5
101000 Moscow
Tel: 928-2506
Fax: 206-8958
Contact: Maria I. Kirbasova, Chairwoman; Veronika A. Marchenko; Valentina Melnikova, Press Secreta
Founded in 1989, the committee has worked to expose human rights violations within the Russian military, including the high number of deaths from hazing or severe punishment. It gives legal help and material assistance to the families of dead servicemen, consults on legislation affecting military service, and publishes research on service-related deaths in the military. The committee advocates improved living conditions in the military and a true alternative service option for conscientious objectors. It also operates barracks in Moscow for fugitive soldiers.

Between Jnauary and March 1998, the committee received 331 letters from conscripts and servicemen reporting human rights violations. More than six percent were from parents of soldiers killed in service, and 25 percent came from servicemen citing hazing abuses, including torture and extreme physical violence. Three press conferences held by the committee in the first half of 1998 addressed worsening conditions in the Russian military and were widely reported by Russian press, TV, and radio. The group continues to actively lobby the RF government for legislation to protect the rights of servicemen, reform the military, rehabilitate veterans of regional conflicts, and provide support to the families of dead servicemen.

In early 1998, the committee worked with the Moscow military prosecutor's office to address appeals for amnesty from military deserters. At the committee offices, military prosecutors heard the testimony of several hundred deserters regarding the human rights violations that prompted their abandonment of military duties. After consultation with the committee, the prosecutor's office was able to dismiss criminal charges against those servicemen with legitimate claims of abuse.

Regional branches of the committee are active throughout Russia. The committee received the 1995 Sean MacBride Peace Prize, awarded by the International Peace Bureau, for its work in opposing the war in Chechnya as well as for its previous campaigns to end human-rights abuses within the Russian military.

Last updated:    February 1999

A print version of much of the information contained in this NIS Third Sector Organizations section can be found in the The Post-Soviet Handbook (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1999).

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