Novye izvestia reported on January 18 that Gennady Uminsky, the retired warrant officer who filed suit in an Oryol district court on January 13 seeking restitution from the separatist Chechen government for disabling injuries he suffered when his unit was trapped in a three-week battle with rebel forces while patrolling Grozny in 1996, recently received a response from the rebels. According to the newspaper, Uminsky got a call from one Nabir Abdullaev, who identified himself as a representative of the “government of Ichkeria” and said he was ready to pay compensation.
As the Moscow Times reported on January 17, Oryol’s district court ruled last year that the Defense Ministry should compensate Uminsky with a lump sum of almost 1 million rubles ($34,000) and a monthly pension of $900, but the Oryol regional court reversed the ruling in August, saying the government was not obliged to pay him because it was impossible to determine who exactly was responsible for his injuries. As Novye izvestia reported, the regional court suggested he appeal to “the causers of the harm,” meaning Chechnya’s separatists. Uminksy, who believes that his unit was trapped by Shamil Basaev’s forces, told the Moscow Times after he filed suit: “I know Basaev will laugh when he learns about this, and I will laugh with him over this idiocy. But what else can I do if the Russian government and the Russian courts have put this absurdity on me?” According to Novye izvestia, rebel representative Nabir Abdullaev told Uminsky: “We will pay you for causing harm to [your] health. But after we pay, tell the whole world about it. We will not abandon this war.”
Meanwhile, Aleksandr Ryklin wrote in an item posted January 13 on Ej.ru, the website of Yezhenedlnyi zhurnal, that in directing Uminsky to seek compensation from the rebels, Russia had “de facto recognized Ichkeria as an independent state capable of taking responsibility for various types of obligations.” Ryklin added: “It is not necessary to feel uneasy about taking money from an enemy of your country. Because if the country has turned its back on you, then you no longer owe it anything.”