Grigory Pasko: In the Kingdom of Military Bureaucratism


Without a paper you – are a bug, but with a paper – a person*


Grigory Pasko, journalist

The Strasbourg court asked me to send them a document in supplement to my application – a document about how I had received a pension in the department of social security of the Moscow military commissariat.


The fact is that I truly had received a pension:  from July 2003 through March of the year 2004.  The pension for length-of-service (I’ve got service in the Armed Forces of the USSR and Russia – 27 years) comprised somewhere around 100 dollars per month (as recalculated into foreign currency).  After discharge from service this pension was accrued and for a period of time was paid out.  After the decreeing of the verdict about how I – was а «Japanese spy», they still continued to pay out the pension for a certain time, and then all of a sudden (by verbal indication of the FSB – that’s what they told me at the military commissariat) – stopped paying it.

Photo:  plaque on the building of the military commisariat.  (source)

Personally, I had no intention to go begging for a pension from thePutinite state:  if not the letter from Strasbourg, I would nothave gone to the military commissariat.

But, inasmuch as I – am a law-abiding person (while a court’s request -this is law for me), so it was that I went to the military commissariat.

 Moscow.  Prospekt Mira.  9:30 in the morning.  The building of the Mosgorvoenkomat [MoscowCity Military Commisariat].  About five people there.  At 9:45 – already 20 people.  Allelderly pensioners.  They stand in the queue.  No place to sit.  At the table where they give out passes -three policemen and two military service personnel.  Why such a quantity of security in front ofthe entrance to a very peaceful establishment – the pension department of themilitary commissariat – is hard to say. Okay, fine.  At 10:00 they startedto let everybody in.  The building is new, large, beautiful.  Everywheregood furniture.  All visitorsto office 208.  Such an impression thatthe other offices aren’t working.  Before208 behind a large table  sits awoman.  She asks of everybody for whatreason they have come.


An elderly woman: – I need a document about how I together with myhusband had served in such-and-such a garrison… Reply: – Go to the military commissariat at the place of residence.

An elderly pensioner: – I would need a repayment of money spent ontransportation on holiday.  I brought the tickets

Reply: – You need to apply to the military commissariat at the place ofresidence…

An elderly man: – I’m here about a document…

Reply: – And why didn’t they give it out to you in the militarycommissariat at the place of residence?


Not waiting for a reply, I went immediately into the office of the chiefof the department.

A large spacious office.  In alarge leather chair sits a not-large colonel – Andrey VladimirovichMironovich.  An the wall before him – alarge portrait of the chairman of the government of Russia, Vladimir Putin.


I briefly set out to the colonel the essence of the matter:  I need a document about how I have ALREADYreceived a pension from them.

Reply: – Your question is complex. Give your declaration and the letter from the court, and we during thecourse of two weeks will give you a reply.

I say yet again: – Where is the complexity here?  I have ALREADY received a pension fromyou.  Give me a document about how thisfact has ALREADY taken place.


The colonel looks at me as at someone gravely ill.  He clearly doesn’t understand me.  (Or he understands very well, and that’s whyhe’s not giving the document).  He says:- We must clarify, was the pension accrued to you lawfully; do we have thecorresponding documents and so forth.

I make a final attempt to explain: – The fact is that they have ALREADYclarified all of this, long before you: the pension was accrued lawfully, all the documents exist…  I’m not demanding an admission of theunlawfulness of the cessation of the payout of the pension from you.  I’m askingonly to confirm that which has ALREADY been.


The colonel replies: – I can’t. Come back in two weeks…


The past in Russiais unpredictable.  That’s why the colonelisn’t giving documents about what has been.

But then the future is predictable: that’s why in the office of the colonel there hangs a portrait of thefuture president – Vladimir Putin,  andnot the current one -Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Dmitry Medvedev.

And I can also predict:  theywon’t give me the document.  They’ll senda letter about how «in connection with the sentence…the decision of a court…anexplanatory memo of the pension administration…the minister of defence…thepension is not being paid out lawfully and with substantiation».


…At the exit I met the elderly pensioner, with whom I had stood in thequeue.  He was walking with his headbowed.  I looked into his sad eyes.  He, taking a look at me, said: – So, theydidn’t give the document.  Now I’ve gotto go again to my district military commissariat…


…At home I discovered that I’d forgotten to return the buildingpass.  I looked at it attentively:  its number – 3513.  I can say that on that day there were notthree thousand and fifteen visitors. This means that the passes were being given out merely for the sake ofgiving them out.  Without any sense atall.  And the fact that they did notdemand it back upon exit – confirms this as well.

propusk111708.jpgThe author’s ticket to the kingdom of military bureaucratism (photo by Grigory Pasko)


The matter, as you understand, isn’t in building passes, but in thesenselessness of the existence of such establishments.

On that same dayin one of the newspapers I read:  «TheMinistry of defense of the RF continues to elaborate a plan for the broad-scalereformation of the armed forces, begun at the initiative of president DmitryMedvedev, likewise being the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.  In the meantime in officers’ circles isripening dissatisfaction with the transformations being carried through».

I’m thinkingthat soon dissatisfaction is going to ripen in the circles of militarypensioners, too.