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Oborona Demobbed

The following is an exclusive translation from Kommersant. An exclusive interview by Grigory Pasko with Mr. Kozlovsky is coming up later this week. obo031208.gif“Oborona” demobbed Oppositioneer Oleg Kozlovsky returns from the army after two months Newspaper «Kommersant» No. 37(3854) of 06.03.2008 Photo caption: While Oleg Kozlovsky was in the army, his comrades-in-arms held the Ministry of defense under siege (on the photo – picket at the public reception office of the military agency) [poster reads “FREEDOM FOR OLEG KOZLOVSKY”—Trans.] Coordinator of the opposition movement “Oborona” Oleg Kozlovsky yesterday was demobilized from the Armed Forces of the RF. Mr. Kozlovsky, who stayed in the army since December of the year 2007, does not doubt that they had unlawfully conscripted him to serve, so that he could not participate in actions of the opposition during the time of the campaign with respect to elections of the president. He intends to sue the Ministry of Defense with a demand to compensate moral damages in an amount of 100 thsd. rub.

Yesterday, coordinator of the movement “Oborona” Oleg Kozlovsky, who has participated on numerous occasions in “Dissenters’ Marches” and other actions of the opposition, was dismissed into the reserve in the rank of private. He arrived at the Izmailovsky military commissariat of the capital and transferred documents, confirming that he had been released from the unit by virtue of state of health: the military-medical commission had uncovered osteochondrosis and varicose illness of the veins in the oppositioneer. “In the night of 3 March they drove me from the military hospital into the military unit and said that I am free”, Mr. Kozlovsky told “Kommersant”. “Apparently, I was such a thorn in the side of the military people that they released me home right away after the ‘Dissenters’ March’, in which I, without a doubt, would have taken part.”Oleg Kozlovsky was detained on 20 December of the year 2007 by a precinct police officer nearby his house. They delivered him to the military commissariat and immediately after a medical examination sent to a military unit in Dimtrovsky Rayon of Moscow Oblast. Employees of the military commissariat left without attention the declarations of Mr. Kozlovsky about how he is not subject to conscription by virtue of state of health, and that in addition to this, he had completed the military department at MGU [Moscow State University]. From the Moscow region they sent the conscript Kozlovsky to a unit of the military air forces in Ryazan Oblast.All this time, Oleg Kozlovsky attempted to challenge the legality of his conscription. At first, military health professionals of Ryazan Oblast certified him, finding him restrictedly fit, that is fit for service only in wartime. In January, the Moscow military-medical commission decreed to send Mr. Kozlovsky for additional certification to the military hospital named after Vishnevsky in Krasnogorsk, which is where the decision was adopted to muster out of the of leaders of “Oborona”. The military procuracy has begun a check based on the fact of his conscription.The movement “Oborona” was founded in the year 2005. The organization calls for non-violent regime change in Russia and conducts actions of civil disobedience – rallies, processions and pickets. “Oborona” took part in all of the “Dissenters’ Marches” and other joint actions of the opposition.Right after coming out from the military commissariat, reserve private Kozlovsky promised “Kommersant” to contest the lawfulness of his conscription in court. He intends to attain the opening of a criminal case against employees of the Izmailovsky military commissariat under the article “exceeding official authority” and to file a civil suit against the Ministry of defense with a demand to compensate moral damages in an amount of 100 thsd. rub. “They isolated me for the time of the conducting of the presidential elections. Speaking to this at the very least is the fact that employees of the FSB took part in my detaining and in the subsequent move to Ryazan Oblast”, declared Mr. Kozlovsky, who has been detained by the police on numerous occasions during the course of actions of the opposition, and in November of the year 2007 arrested for five days for resisting employees of the police during the course of a “Dissenters’ March”.In the press service of the Ministry of defense, they refused to comment on the demobilization of Mr. Kozlovsky. And the head of the Union of committees of soldiers’ mothers, Valentina Melnikova, declared to “Kommersant” that if the coordinator of “Oborona” proves that the uncovered illnesses arose not during the time of service, and confirms that the Rayon medical commission had just looked at him, and had not certified him [“certification” is a formal medical examination—Trans.], he has every chance of winning the case.”Andrei Kozenko