Russian military top brass have decided to pardon a deserter who went AWOL 15 years ago after learning he had been in hiding ever since and was so scared of being caught he had not even contacted his mother.
Despite the military police looking for him all that time, when Evgheny Yuzhanin, who is now 35, was eventually caught this week the army decided not only to pardon him – but also notified his mother and aunt so they could finally be reunited after believing him dead all this time.
He had deserted the Russian army in the south-central Russian region of Tyumen in December 2004, according to the press service of the military investigative department of the Russian Investigative Committee.
He avoided all contact with his family and friends fearing it could lead to his arrest, which resulted in his mother and aunt believing he was dead.
However, he has now reportedly been found alive and well in Tyumen city. Officers from the military investigative department in Tyumen Oblast found him working illegally in a factory.
His mother and aunt then drove from the city of Lipetsk to see him after being told of his discovery, shocked at hearing he was still alive.
Local media report the former soldier has been changing jobs and moving around the Tyumen and neighbouring Sverdlovsk regions for the last 15 years to avoid capture.
Reports state a criminal case into desertion was dropped, but the official reason why was not stated.
According to Russian law, if a soldier deserts a military unit to take care of a relative with health issues, after the death of a relative, or other ‘adverse life situations’, the criminal case can be dropped. It is unclear which was the motivation in the case of Yuzhanin.
Local media report another three military deserters are being searched for in the Tyumen region: Gennady Kirsha, 47, who abandoned his post in 1992, Arkady Belonogov, 45, who deserted in 1996, and Nurkali Gabdullinov, 33, who left the army in 2007.
Gabdullinov is unlikely however to escape any punishment as he is also wanted not only for desertion but also for rape, robbery and forcing a victim to give false evidence.
It was not revealed how the army found out about Yuzhanin’s whereabouts.
To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Gheorghi Caraseni, Sub Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.