Life is a Struggle for the Disabled

Category: Europe, Life & Society Topics: Health, Russia Views: 5180

Ruslan Nurayev moves around the courtyard of his house in a wheelchair. He is small, a bit overweight and smokes a lot. His mood swings from cheerfulness to anger. 

Nine years of violence and war in Chechnya has produced a lot of people like Nurayev, whose body and mind have been scarred forever by the conflict.

Until the current war began in 1999, he had a good job as manager of a construction yard that brought in a more than decent salary. 

Then in the autumn his family house in Grozny was damaged by an air raid. Nurayev climbed up onto the roof to mend it but was caught in an artillery barrage in which a small piece of shrapnel pierced his spine, leaving him paralyzed. 

No more job, and the 1,700 rubles (about 55 dollars) monthly pension he now receives as a "second group invalid" is not even enough to cover the cost of his medicine. 

From being the family breadwinner he must now depend on his children for both personal care and money. 

People disabled by shells, bullets, mines and bombs can be found in their thousands throughout Chechnya, struggling to survive. Of the 33,000 people officially registered as disabled by Chechnya's Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare - out of a total population of 1.1 million - most are of working age and another 7,500 of them children. 

Chechnya's Society of Invalids, the largest group defending the rights of the disabled in the republic, operates from an office in a semi-ruined building in central Grozny. 

Society head Rabu Azdayeva told Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) that life is tough for their 15,000 members on small pensions. "As they are not getting either free healthcare or medicine, this money is not enough to provide them with food, toiletries, clothes, basic products," she said. 

The society is having trouble helping, as much of its income used to be generated by a small network of businesses and shops which have been destroyed. 

And it is no good looking to local government. 

"In 2002 we were promised a one-off grant of 400,000 rubles (13,000 dollars) to get the organization back on its feet, but the money never materialized," says Azdayeva. 

Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare aide Imran Iriskhanov concedes that last year's budget of 34 million rubles (about 1.1 million dollars) to help the disabled was not nearly enough, but said it was simply not possible to redraw priorities at this stage. 

"The allocations for buying coal for regions without gas and procuring prosthetic limbs are well-provided for, but there is clearly not enough money for wheelchairs or sanatorium places. It's not possible to reallocate money from one article of the budget to another." 

Instead it is international organizations that shoulder the burden. Dr Ute Enderlein, Public Health Officer for the North Caucasus with the World Health Organization, WHO, says responsibilities have been divided up between the various agencies. Her organization, UNICEF and various partners are dealing with young disabled people under 21, while the International Committee of the Red Cross look after the adults. 

Altogether the WHO center in Vladikavkaz has fitted 400 false limbs, mostly legs, to Chechens in the last three years. Handicap International, a WHO partner, has provided limbs for another 300 people, while a new orthopedic center set up by the Red Cross in Grozny in April plans to treat another 100 more every year. 

Even so, one Chechen non-government organization, Laman Az, estimates that there are 2,500 untreated victims of mines and unexploded shells. 

Then there are the demands for bribes. Azdayeva says she hears a lot of complaints about disabled people being forced to pay up to get registered. 

"Starting with laboratory tests and ending with the doctor's commission, they end up paying up to 3,000 rubles (100 dollars). That's a big sum for a disabled person." 

Nurayev, who cannot walk, said that he was given only "category two" disabled status because he could not afford to pay more. 

Rustam Bakhmataliev, a former weight-lifter with a knee injury, says he received an offer for his disabled status to be moved up from category three to two in exchange for a bribe of 6,000 rubles - but he refused. 

"I imagined myself queuing for my benefit payment and I felt ashamed," he said.


  Category: Europe, Life & Society
  Topics: Health, Russia
Views: 5180

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Older Comments:
In the name of allah
it is a duty of every muslim to help
his brothersthose who are suffering by the tragedies made by war.their struggle in the path
of god is a valuable effort. allah will certainly
help them.I wish all sucess to your attempts.all must help every thing possible as they can

Excellent point Shuja. Poor Ramesh is as you can tell a Hindu fanatic, cut from the same cloth the RSS and BJP terrorists who run India today. I suppose he expects others to have as short and selective a memory as does when it comes to such issues.
I guess the poor fellow has seen too many cheesy Indian movies.

Romesh Chander:

So anybody using his mind is not a terrorist. Was there any reason Arafat(a terrorist according to you) was welcome in New Delhi for years. Show me one eastern country where he was not embrased. A terrorist was being given a red carpet reception. Why do Indian history calls the persons like Guru Gobind Singh, Shivaji, even Ghodse (murderer of Gandhi) to be the heroes. Did not they venture weapons against the enemies? Did not India support by force to Bangladesh in 1971? Moral support sometimes makes lots of difference. Chechens are well on the way to victory. How long the current economical situation of Russia will make it stand against these Chechens? These people are the bravest in the contempory world. They are extremely tough. Russians are no match to their bravery and toughness. By the way, Chechens never calls for help. Today, being Indian myself, I am ashamed to tell that our great nation is laying a red carpet for the greatest terrorist ever Areil Sharon. It is nothing but shame. Had Sharon murdered the similar amount of Hindus, this would never had happened. A united and prosperous India should have understood the sensitivities of its major minority too. Even many western nations are refraining to welcome Sharon because of his role in numerous civilian murders of Muslims. How can you justify this?


Ecclesiastes 2:26 For to the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner he gives travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him who pleases God. This also is vanity and striving after wind.

The above verse indicates (to me) that, to those who seek to do "what is good" shall be given the "harvest reaped" by those who make no distinction between what is right and wrong. I think the point is: toil for the right reason and simply rest assured that somewhere down the line those who are in the right shall profit, regardless.

Also, please forgive me - but I fail to see a portion of this article about which I ought to feel indifferent - I apologize for any offense I might have caused. The article appears to be about as devoid of politics as any "social article" I have ever seen (published) at this site.

May Peace be with you (Assalamu alaikum).

Let me state a few facts....Mr. Ramesh Chandar is an enemy of Islam and Muslims. Individuals like him do not understand peaceful, decent talks. They ONLY understand big-bangs like 9/11.

He is a Christian fundamentlist, NOT a HINDU. He was Hindu before but converted to Christinity when someone gave him candy/money with ONE hand and the Bible w/ another hand. Such offer was irresistable so he distanced Gita 6.08*10^23 light years from him.

People like him are SO COWARD and afraid of death that they would NOT do anything to prevent other nations/occupiers destroy their decent and civilized way of life as the WEST destroying India.

Today, you see Indian men/women getting drunk, having sex with multiple partners, going to nudy even in Indian cities, not just in the west.

They call themselves freedom-loving, civilized, modern, and progressive. However, they fail to see that they are becoming nudes like animals just trying to become modern. They are completely forgetting the definition of decency. To me they look like people in the STONE AGE.

They claim themselves as peacemakers, but they are ONE who are the real terrorists, increasing the entropy of the world by waging war. MUSLIMS ARE BLAMED b/c they are one who are really resisting the forces of darkness.

Chechcians are NOT terrorists. Palestnians are NOT terrorists.They are ALL FREEDOM FIGHTERS. Mr. Chander is a VICTIM of propanda. Probably watches TV/NEWS too much. He does NOT understand that the U.S. gov't is full of thugs, extremists, and imperialists exactly like the British.

However...However... I am very optimistic about Mr. Chander b/c he is moving up the ladder in terms finding the true, partnerless God. In the past, he used associate 100's of God with the God, now he assoicates 3 Gods in ONE(extremely confusing to me), but HE soon will start worshipping ONE TRUE God like we, Muslims, do. So, LET US Embrance our enemy Ramesh Chandar and soon he'll stop choking on Pretzs

Nice shot Shuja, hope that will stay between his eyes.

this state would not have happened if the entire muslim states and organisations come together to help the people of chechnya.the WHO did not stop the war in the first stance and now they are helping these disabled people of chechnya.the rest of the world were just keeping mum when oppression were inflicted upon the poor souls.wht were they doing when these people were being oppressed in the pretext of war.they were enjoying their tandoori and hamburgers while these chechans were losing their invaluable limbs.the enemy's planning so too is allah(S.W.T) and allah is the greatest of planners.may allah protect these poor souls from the treachery and oppression of the enemy.Glory be to allah,the most compassionate,the most merciful.

Nobody understood my point. All I am saying is this is war, so quit crying and looking for sympathies. Just don't get emotional about it. People have been emotional about palestinians, and that have not let them any victories either.
USSR did not give freedom to its various republics, they snatched it from USSR; Chechens, after all the death and destruction, have not succeeded so far; will they succeed, I don't know. Tamil Tigers have been fighting in Sri Lanka for over 20 years; they have not won anything either yet; but they have caused lot of death and destruction. I never said Chechens are terrorists, though it seems stupid to me that they look for separation when all of Europe with diverse cultures and languages is trying to forge an econmic and political unity.
Yes, you morally support Chechens; well, that has not won them any victories on the battlefield; so what good is your moral support; I am a realist . It is very easy to support morally and financially (if you have enough money) for any cause.

Regarding USSR/Afghanistan, well US is a nuclear power; it lost in Vietnam to a power who has literally no economy to talk about. And so far US has not won anything in Afghanistan either; and the situation in Iraq is getting worse for US; it is begging other countries for help.
Nelson Mandela is not a terrorist; though I have serious reservations about Yasser Arafat. Nehrus and Gandhis used their brains to fight the British, not destructive weapons.

Mr. Romesh Chander:

I have agreed to your views on many occasions before. Now, I take strong exceptions to your biased and unwarranted and irrational views. Chechens are fighting for a legitimate independence from Soviets. If it is not legitimate then why on earth Soviets had relinquished from Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Latvia, Moldavia and the list goes on...... By the way, in your earlier comments, you had mentioned the status of Russia being the nuclear power. If that is so, then why on earth Russia was humiliated in Afghanistan despite its nuclear arsenal? Why its economy is equivalent to the state of Illinois today?

Chengiz Khan and party brutalized Muslim land for 100 years, finally, they have laid down their weapons to the beauty of Allah-O-Akbar and became the soldiers of Islam.

Furthermore, if the Chechens were illegitimate and terrorists, then so were Nehrus, Gandhis and Patels or Azads in 1947!!! How can you explain the independence of Bangladesh where India had played key role by helping the Mukti Bahini(freedom fighters)? Israelis call the foundation of their artificial nation as an independent movement too.

Were Nelson Mandela and Arafat too terrorists? You were wrong in stating earlier that Muslim nations (rulers only) not supporting Chechens. All the Muslims including myself are morally supporting the Chechens for their legitimate struggle.

You are right in stating about the different movements in Africa and Southern America. We support all the movements. However, Muslim movements are being branded as terrorists, which is discriminatory.


Listen Ramesh, matter of fact, you can't highlight the problems of global community that is suffering and placed on chaos by the ruling thugs in one article, however, this article has done excellent coverage for that particular area, region, and people. Be critical;but, be polite.And using intellect doesn't hurt at all.

Well, nothing new or unusual in this article. Just descibes the face of the war. But what is different about this war and any other war?. None, that I know of. But then this website has not been talking of wars that having been going in Africa, Sri Lanka, Asia and South America. Why not? Why be so emotional about Chechens? Because they happen to be muslims. Hey, non-muslims are human too.

Chechens can stop the war and then there will be chance for normalcy. Sudanese can stop their war and there will be chance for normalcy. It is that simple. Don't just blame others; blame yourself too. You (i.e. Chechens) are part of the problem.