Odd…

by Nathan Hamm on 9/21/2004 · 5 comments

A “dead” Soviet soldier is standing trial in Uzbekistan.

Kosim Ermatov, 38, was extradited from Pakistan in June and is facing charges he belongs to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, his relatives said. He could face the death penalty if convicted of the most serious terrorism charges.

“We haven’t seen him since he went to army service in 1984. In 1986, we received a death certificate and we buried a zinc coffin,” his sister, Dilfuza Ermatova, said outside the courtroom.

The family was told that Ermatov was a hero, was awarded a high Soviet medal – the Order of the Red Star – and a school and street in his native village in eastern Namangan were named after him, said his mother, Kumrihon Temirova.

Needless to say, read the whole thing. Kind of reminds me of this story.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 5 comments }

Asror September 21, 2004 at 6:25 pm

Life is interesting, isn’t it? Look what happens:
“Russian politicians were later to call “a tragic mistake”. => “The family was told that Ermatov was a hero, was awarded a high Soviet medal – the Order of the Red Star – and a school and street in his native village in eastern Namangan were named after him, said his mother, Kumrihon Temirova”. => “Nonetheless, authorities immediately renamed the school and took away the medal”.

Tatyana September 21, 2004 at 8:30 pm

So, azror, what do you find strange? If a soldier died during the military operation with his unit, his officers can honor him with post-mortem medal and call him a hero. But if later it were proved he deserted his unit and went to the enemy side, I don’t find it strange the medal and the “hero” treatment were withheld.
This is how military everywhere in the world would treat the situation. Politics has nothing to do with it. It doesn’t matter that later Afgan war was called a tragic mistake, or that young soldiers are treated horribly in the Soviet Army and life becomes a nightmare to them – that doesn’t change the situation: you are a called a traitor switch sides at the time of war, if you fail to be loyal to the country you pledged to defend.
I don’t see from the article that the guy’s fate is decided yet – if witnesses don’t paint him as actively, “with arms in his hands” fighting on the enemy’s side, may be he will not be given a death sentence.

Tatyana September 21, 2004 at 8:34 pm

Asror, sorry for mispronouncing your name.

Asror September 21, 2004 at 10:36 pm

It’s ok Tatyana(are you russian?),
But I wonder who is guilty actually for these events:
these guys who went to the war to fight against enemies and all in all went to their side or the government who began these “…” war?

Tatyana September 22, 2004 at 11:30 am

I think I’ve answered our question.
Soldier who deserted to the enemy side and participated in military operations against his former comrads-in-arms is guilty of treason.

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