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Deserters turning into refugees2010-04-09 00:39
Being a deserter in Russia means shame and insecurity, while in Georgia it means comfort and pleasure, especially if you desert a Russian military unit. Sergeant Sasha Glukhov was the first to go the whole way from deserters to refugees. He was followed by others, such as Dima Artemiev and Vitaliy Khripun, who were also attracted by free meals and the mother-like care of the Georgian officials. Khripun has just obtained an official status of a refugee.
Well, the Georgian taxpayers have put another Russian on their neck. To be more precise, he was put there by the authorities desperately needing anti-Russian propaganda.
Now the state is to take care about Vitaliy Khripun's board, lodging and employment. It must have already accommodated its own refugees, especial the very first ones who came from Abkhazia. However, they are ungrateful, for they are still making demands. No reason to worry, though: there are enough vacant positions in Georgia, and only 16 percent of the working population prefer to stay unemployed for some reason.
Why does the Russian serviceman deserve so much attention? He left service in South Ossetia in the evening of December 20; he was drunk and had a service gun on him. At first he said that he was badly treated, hazed and humiliated and then announced himself a political refugee.
So long as Khripun was a contract serviceman, nothing prevented him from resigning if his service was really unbearable. He was not Dmitriy Artemyev who was a conscript who served abroad against common sense: he could really suffer because of the older servicemen.
However, the information about violent hazing and everyday discomfort in the military unit accommodated in the village of Sinagur, from where both deserters escaped, one of them half a year later than the other, was soon denied. Mayor of Frontier Service Victor Yakimchuk described the perfect state of the facilities to the journalists. According to him, there are no conscripts in the unit; there are only sergeants and ensigns left: "they are getting on in years, some of them being under forty". What hazing are we talking about, indeed?
According to the second version, Khripun could have had no affection for Russia but in this case he was free to legally emigrate. His scandalous behavior must have had other reasons, which were reported this February by Deputy Chief of the Russian FSS Border Administration in South Ossetia Colonel Dmitriy Chikirov. He says that both Khripun and Artemyev had communicated with a criminal from the village of Perev of the Javskiy region before their escape and were evidently provoked by this person.