Kommersant: “Full Board”

Sentence announced into death of 18 residents of private assisted living facility.

In Krasnoyarsk Territory, the court announced the sentence into the death of almost two dozen elderly people in a private assisted living facility “Kalina Krasnaya” (The Red Snowball Tree). According to the investigation, they died of improper care and lack of emergency medical assistance. The Prosecutor’s Office asked for eight years of imprisonment for Yevgeny Zhdanov, the Director of the facility who was charged with rendering of services that failed to meet safety requirements. Mr Zhdanov claimed that the investigators failed to prove his guilt with a single convincing evidence and forged the results of examinations. The court decided to reclassify the charges to less strict. The director was sentenced to 1.5 years of supervised release lifted anyway due to expiration of the statute of limitations.

On Monday, the Yemelyanovo District Court finished the headline-making case into Yevgeny Zhdanov, the founder and director of the assisted living facility “Kalina Krasnaya”. The suburban private facility had caught the law enforcement’s attention in summer 2016 because of a series of deaths of residents occurred during the five years of the operation of Kalina Krasnaya. There had been 18 patients that died in the age of 78-93. Few of them had lived a month after they had been put to Kalina Krasnaya - most had lasted two weeks in average. The Krasnoyarsk Regional Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened the criminal inquiry into rendering of services that failed to meet safety requirements and entailed death of people (Part 3 of Article 238 of the Criminal Code of Russia).

The inquiry established that relatives of an elderly person paid 30,000 roubles for the person’s monthly residence in the facility. The sum included lodging, boarding, and care. The most important item of the contract was that the staff of the facility would immediately call for an ambulance if the patient’s condition deteriorated - but in fact they would not. The inquiry stated that, allegedly, no one called for an ambulance when patients complained about their condition, which caused their death. The Investigative Committee said the staff that had been caring for the residents was not qualified for that. The investigators also reproached the rooms in the facility that “failed to comply with sanitary, hygienic and fire-safety requirements”.

Mr Zhdanov considered his case a put-up. He said that the investigators did not manage to provide a single proof of his guilt during the preliminary investigation and the trial. Moreover, the defence stated that law enforcement had been adjusting the examinations to the result they wanted to get. “I am not guilty, there is not a single proof. All examinations have been falsified. The people being brought to me have a lot of health issues. No one would take them - neither hospitals nor retirement homes. They were fatal cases. It was inevitable for each of them,” Yevgeny Zhdanov told the court. The staff and many residents of Kalina Krasnaya spoke for the director of the facility. “Such kind and dedicated people are exceptionally rare,” sympathising people said asking to drop the charges from Yevgeny Zhdanov. However, the Prosecutor asked for eight years of imprisonment for him.

The court reclassified the case to a less strict one noting that the defendant’s guilt had not been proved. Yevgeny Zhdanov was sentenced to 1.5 years of supervised release under Part 1 of Article 238 of the Criminal Code of Russia (rendering of services that fail to meet safety requirements). Nevertheless, the nominal punishment was immediately lifted due to expiration of the statute of limitations on the director’s case.

Author: Konstantin Voronov