News / 30.06.19

For shit-covered cows – criminal cases, for human death – disciplinary penalty

Kirill Romanov, a 33-year-old resident of Gomel, died while performing emergency work on the eve of president's visit. He worked as a driver of the rescue squad of the Gomel Chemical Factory. On the day of his death, Kirill and his colleagues were sent to wash cowsheds, since Alexander Lukashenko was supposed to visit the farm.

The young man fell from the roof and died. The Factory refuses to regard itself guilty, and to pay the claimed compensation of moral harm to the parents. In November 2017, the Buda-Koshelevo District was preparing for the arrival of the president. Farms were engaged in emergency cleaning. "Bringing land to order – this was the main leitmotif of the president's working visit to the Gomel Region," the newspaper "SB-Belarus Today" wrote while covering Lukashenko's visit to the Buda-Koshelevo District. The "brining land to order" cost Kirill Romanov his life.

The "Morozovichi-Agro" farm is a structural unit of the Gomel Chemical Factory. Washing the barn roof was outside Kirill's duties as a driver. But his bosses forced him to go there – to wash and paint the roof of the barn in late November. Rescuers washed the roof windows – the openings covered with polycarbonate sheets. Kirill stepped on polycarbonate and fell from the height of 6.6 meters onto a concrete floor. He died on the spot, leaving a widow with two young children – three and six years old at that time.

For shit-covered cows – criminal cases, for human death – disciplinary penalty

"The son said that he could not refuse to go there, although it was beyond his duties. After all, like other workers, he was bound by a labour contract and the need to repay loans. Bosses said: who doesn't like it, your place is behind the gate," says Anna, Kirill's mother. She retells the words of her son: "I've never seen such insanity: some paint the roof – and this is in November, in fog and frost, – others wash the roof moving towards them."

The young man worked without safety means. Later, the labour inspectorate stated that given a slight slope of the roof, safety means are not mandatory. The head of the rescue squad commanded the work by telephone – he was not at the site himself. "There was no control, no one thought about safety. Who died – he is to blame for violating safety rules. All documents were timely corrected; bosses received disciplinary reprimands for the death of our son," said Kirill's mother, adding that factory bosses are notable for "inhuman attitude to people."

"When president saw shit-covered cows in the Mogilev Region, criminal cases were immediately opened; and people will go to jail. But when people are dying, nobody cares. They should have awarded medals to factory bosses," Anna, the mother, is indignant.

"Children grow up without dad. We won't have another son."

After Kirill Romanov's death, a criminal case was initially instituted, but then stopped.

"Officials were found not guilty – the court found that there was no direct causal connection of their violations in labour safety with Kirill's death. At the preliminary investigation, the factory bosses three times changed their testimonies. In the end, they found a hole in the legislation – that the safety means were not needed because of the small roof slope. But the roof was wet, and under such conditions security means were a must! In the end, what wasn't done for years – they failed to clean the cow barn, and never washed and painted it – it's impossible to do what bosses wanted in one day," says Ivan Romanov, Kirill's father.

After the death of his son, Roman lost his health – became a Category III invalid. Same with his wife – she lost a lot of health. Kirill was their hope for old age. Now parents are left without a son, children – without a father. "I take my granddaughter to a music school. Other children are sometimes brought their by their young fathers. My heart bleeds – my grandchildren grow up without their dad; we lost our son. We won't have another one," says Anna.

The parents have filed a lawsuit against the Gomel Chemical Factory for the recovery of moral harm. On May 29, the Sovietsky District Court of Gomel upheld their claims and decided to collect BYN 50,000 from the factory in favour of the parents. The factory lodged an objection, since it disagreed with its fault and the claimed amount, treating BYN 10,000 as quite "fair". Officials considered the amount of non-pecuniary damage "unfair" and "significantly overpriced". In the appeal they called the "fair" amount – 10 thousand roubles – and asked the court to change the decision.

"Our son died so that cows have enough light"

"They show on TV that Belarus is a country for life; but for what kind of life and for whom? For bosses? This is not a country to live in, but a concentration camp, as the president said. But not for cows – for people," Ivan has added. He tells how at the trial factory bosses fought against the demand to compensate our moral harm. "They enumerated their help with the funeral and the tombstone, their financial help to the widow and her children. However, this help is all enshrined in the collective agreement of the factory. This was the help from factory workers; they deduced the money from their salaries and wages," Ivan points out.

Anna asks: "Why has my son died? For making comfortable environment for cows? For the bosses to get promotions and stay in their warm seats? So that they could show the president – look how good we are. I could understand if he suffered when rescuing people: he worked for the rescue squad."

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