«As he was beating me, I shouted: «I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.» A ninth-grader of the Cossack Cadet Corps of the Rostov region claims that he was ill-treated by its director


17 January 2024


Aleksey Marinets from Rostov-on-Don has been studying at the Shakhty Cossack Cadet Corps since 2020. According to the teenager, in October 2023, he was beaten by the institution’s director, Vitaly Bobylchenko, for a minor offense — Aleksey took out a mobile phone during the lesson. Media reports indicate that this is not the first complaint about ill-treatment of cadets and their bullying at that educational institution.

On 27 October 2023, Aleksey’s day routine began as usual: the students woke up, did some physical exercise and went to the lessons. The cadets’ second lesson was physical training; during that class Mr. Marinets took out his mobile phone and began recording his classmates. This fact became known to the head teacher and the director, and they came to the lesson, as mobile phones are prohibited in the institution.

Aleksey, having immediately admitted that he was recording his classmates, voluntarily gave up the phone and followed the head teacher to the coach’s room, where, according to the teenager, the director Vitaly Bobylchenko was already waiting for him.

«The director shouted at me and then hit my head with his hand. My vision grew dark, my head began to spin, and I fell onto the gym mats. I lay on my back, trying to cover myself with my arms, tucking my legs under me. At that moment the director approached me and started hitting me in the ribs with his fists. I repeatedly shouted: “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.»

Aleksey recalls that subsequently, the director and head teacher left the office, leaving the teenager alone. He was breathing with some difficulty, his head and ribs hurt. The coach sent Aleksey to the first aid station, where he indicated that he had fallen during a physical education lesson. The nurse gave him the medication named «Menovazin». which he himself applied to the bruises. In such a state of health, the ninth-grader went to his next lesson, but was unable to sit through to its end because of the growing pain, finally having asked to call his parents.

Aleksey’s father, Ivan Marinets, arrived at the institution after lunch; the director hadn’t already been there, and the head teacher denied any ill-treatment of the boy. Aleksey was taken home, and that same evening he and his father lodged a crime report before the police. At home, the teenager felt worse: he had a severe headache, felt sick, vomited, and a finger on his hand was swollen. The father called an ambulance, and the medic who arrived gave Aleksey an injection. In the morning, the father and the son went to the hospital, where the boy was diagnosed with a closed fracture of the little finger and a bruise of the soft tissues of the chest. Subsequently, Aleksey walked with a cast for about three weeks. Besides, a forensic medical examination revealed moderate harm to the teenager’s health.

Ivan Marinets underlines that the institution’s director called him, allegedly wanting to “clarify the situation”, but Ivan refused to talk. Ivan also filed a petition with the prosecutor’s office and the regional ombudsperson for children’s rights; his petition was subsequently transferred to the Department for Cossack Affairs and Cadet Educational Institutions of the Government of the Rostov region.

On 9 January 2024, Ivan found out that, following an inspection of the Department for Cossack Affairs, Vitaly Bobylchenko was actually punished, but that punishment was not for beating Aleksey, but for poor control of the lessons’ schedule. Currently, the Shakhty Investigative Department of the Russian Investigative Committee conducts an enquiry into the crime report regarding the beating of Aleksey.

Ivan Marinets applied to the human rights lawyers because he fears that the authorities are trying to cover up this incident: his complaint would be transferred from one department to another, and the director of the institution would escape any punishment.

The Crew Against Torture informs that the cases of violence against children in educational institutions are not uncommon. There are enough similar incidents described in the case-law of Russian courts. Thus, it is surprising that the Investigative Committee handed over the enquiry to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the latter returned the case back. This is doubly surprising, given the particular attention of the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Mr. Bastrykin, to cases where the rights of minors are violated.

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