Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
9th June, 2016
“Ukrainians in Odessa beat an 11-year-old Russian immigrant from Lugansk, a patient with cerebral palsy. A child, sick with cerebral palsy, went for treatment to the specialized “Lustdorf” sanatorium, and became the subject of aggression by peers. The result was a closed craniocerebral brain trauma. 11-year-old Andrey, Lugansk resident, moved to Odessa along with his mother back in 2014, in June, when the fighting in Donbass began – named the Ukrainian authorities’ “anti-terrorist operation”. The barbaric bombing of the city left a terrible impression on this family, and they decided to leave their homeland, choosing a Russian-speaking region of Ukraine.
Andrey has a mild form of cerebral palsy, he can move independently and, thanks to fully intact intelligence, study a mainstream school program. In Odessa, he studied at the specialized №7 school. He studied well, got good grades, and made new friends. All was going well until the boy became a part of the program of rehabilitation of children-orphans and internally displaced children with cerebral palsy, for which the Ministry of Education, Family and Youth of Ukraine organized a rest in the “Lustdorf” sanatorium.
The group of sick children were met by a cultural program and sweet gifts. The candy that was given to Andrey attracted the attention of three boys. They were older and stronger, so they took the candy from the little child from the Lugansk region. Upon request to give the gift back, the children did not react. After more than two years, adults say that migrants from Donbass are not people, but “cotton”, “separatist”, and “Colorado”. When Andrey took a corn stick out of the bag that one of the offenders was holding, he was knocked to the ground and they started beating him. Where the teachers were at this time is not clear for the mother of Andrey – Irina – or those who found out about this story. Here’s what Irina said:
My son said that they were given candy, three boys took some and he was not given any. He took their corn sticks from the pile without asking, and they pushed him and started beating him. Where the teachers were at this moment, I don’t know.
Irina only learned about the incident the next day. Rather, they tried to cover up the story, and if not for the consequences of beating a child, anything could have happened. Unfortunately, bruises and grazes was not the end. Andrey appeared to be vomiting, a previously not peculiar opening of the mouth, a convulsive disorder since birth. The boy, previously sociable and cheerful, began to be afraid of people. The doctors diagnosed a closed craniocerebral injury and 2nd degree concussion. They refused to hospitalise Andrey, having referred him to surgery in the Department of Neurosurgery. Therefore, after the treatment the child will go home.
The mother decided to not leave the incident without attention, and intends to ensure the punishment of those responsible. The staff of the hospital, where the facts of the beating of the boy were stated, reported it to the police. Irina also wrote a statement to the police. A day later she was informed that the staff of the sanatorium opened a criminal case. As long as everything goes according to the rules, it seems that the perpetrators will be identified and punished. But Irina has doubts. After all, the main “Lustdorf” doctor Anatoly Sadovnik is the Deputy of the Odessa regional Council, and could use his influence to hush up the case.
The boy suffered injuries and most terrible of them are not even physical but psychological. God willing, the consequences of a concussion of the brain in the form of seizures will be under the influence of drugs, and the bruises and abrasions will heal faster. But how to heal the terrible wounds to the heart? How to make a child with a disability once again begin to trust people and to interact with their peers? Will time help and psychologists?
P. S. While in Odessa, on the international day of the protection of children, when a small child from Lugansk was beaten, DPR children marked the holiday on the squares and in concert venues. Children with disabilities did not remain without attention. For example, the guys from the project “Special Child”, which brings together families of children with autism and autism-like disorders, philanthropists who wished to remain anonymous, gave a memorable holiday with a cultural program, gifts, and sets of sweets.