Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Officials Seek to Save State Money by Denying Invalid Status to Russians with Medical Problems, Doctor-Journalist Reports

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 23 – German Pyatov, a doctor who often writes for Moskovsky Komsomolets, reports on his own experience of trying and failing to be certified as an invalid, an experience he says shows officials will do almost anything according to some “unwritten rule” to save the state money by denying such applications.

            Most Russian who go through the vicious cycle of applying for such certification don’t know the rules or the ropes and thus assume that their denial is the work of individual doctors or officials, Pyatov says. But anyone who does know can see the problem is far larger than that (mk.ru/social/2021/05/23/rossiyskie-chinovniki-delayut-vse-chtoby-sekonomit-na-invalidakh.html).

            The coronavirus pandemic has simultaneously made it easier for officials to make such unjustified decisions because it allows them to work only with documents rather than directly with patients. But at the same time, it has made what they are doing more obvious to more people and better documented if the latter challenge the decisions in court.

            Pyatov gathered all the documents the certification board said were necessary but they rejected him saying he hadn’t provided one. He then sent that in and they denied him again for reasons they didn’t give, a bureaucratic maneuver based on what he says but me “an unpublished directive from the leadership” not to give such status to anyone lest it cost the state money.

            Because he is a doctor himself, he could easily recognize what was going on, something those without his medical expertise or whose conditions are too severe to do the leg work required to keep getting the documentation that the invalid certification board keeps asking for as a means of denying them their rights.

            This defective system is part of the Soviet heritage when no official wanted to give invalid status to anyone who might be able to do any job lest he impose a burden on the state in the form of payments rather than a benefit to the state in the form of taxes that the individual denied invalid status could be expected to pay.

            “In present-day Russia,” he says, “the situation is similar: the state, that is, its bureaucrats, does everything not to lose money on the ill or the invalid. If you are an invalid and pensioner and die before you are given that status, you save the state from expenses and if you are a worker who hasn’t been recognized as an invalid, the bureaucrats get the opportunity to steal money which you pay in taxes.”

            All too often, Pyatov says, “doctors are co-conspirators in this.” Primary care doctors don’t show initiative in helping their patients but go along with a system that throws up obstacles to their getting invalid status when they deserve it. They count on the legal illiteracy of the population to allow them to do so.

            Only if Russians begin to learn just what their rights are in this case is there any chance that they will be able to begin to live better. They must begin to connect the dots and see that the problems they face are not caused by this or that official but by a system designed not to help them but to ensure they don’t get help.

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