January 11, 2023

From Hero to Zero


From Hero to Zero
Russian 56th Separate Guards Air Assault Brigade
Igor Rudenko, Wikimedia 
 Commons

According to Novaya Gazeta Europe, the Odintsovo military court (Moscow Oblast) has sentenced 30-year-old sergeant Roman Kashtakov to two years probation because he did not show up for his military service. 

Yet Roman Kashtakov is not just a soldier, but a “hero” of the war. According to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, in March, Kashtakov destroyed an ammunition truck and five armored personnel carriers of the Ukrainian army with one lucky shot.

According to the verdict in his AWOL case, Kashtakov did not return on time from vacation to his service post. He had received a ten-day leave on June 24 from his field camp near the border of Ukraine in Valuysky district, Belgorod region. He only returned to duty in September.

This is not the first time a Russian soldier has been convicted for not showing up for military service. According to Mediazona, from the beginning of the war through December of last year, 790 sentences were handed down in such cases. And since the beginning of mobilization and the entry into force of the new law toughening punishment for going AWOL "during the period of mobilization or martial law, during wartime, or in conditions of armed conflict or warfare," some 40 similar cases have been recorded. In particular, in 19 cases, military members have been given heavy sentences: from 5 to 10 years in prison.

However, with Roman Kashtakov, the court chose a rather lenient punishment: only two years of probation. As follows from the verdict, the court considered Kashtakov's state award and his "participation in the special military operation."

Interestingly, while Komsomolskaya Pravda (a pro-Kremlin daily newspaper) recorded Kashtakov's "exploits" as a hero, it has yet to report that the war “hero” did not show up for service and was convicted.

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