EDITORIAL: Another Young Russian into an Early Grave


Another Young Russian into an Early Grave

Alexei Cherepanov

Alexei Cherepanov

What a country.

Though Russians are wont to complain about “evil foreigners” encircling Russia with malicious intent, anyone even casually familiar with the country knows only too well that the greatest danger to a Russian citizen is . . . another Russian.

The horrific most recent case in point was 19-year-old hockey player Alexei Cherepanov, who collapsed on the ice earlier this week in a manner eerily similar to figure skater Sergei Grinkov several years ago. 

And it was all so unnecessary.  Once again, total Russian incompentence combined with total Russian disregard for the value of individual human life was exposed in the most horrific manner possible. Russia’s hockey establishment, in short, is every bit as corrupt as Russian society generally.

Not only did Russian sports authorities fail to diagnose the young prodigy’s ischemic heart disease, which caused him to collapse during a game in Moscow (he was preparing to enter the NHL next year), but it also failed to have an ambulance on site during the game. By the time one finally responded, nearly an hour after the incident, it was far too late. Furious onlookers are reported to have assaulted the ambulance crew when it finally showed up. 

Reader “Oleg” sums it up by e-mail:

That is beyond belief in any civilized country, but not in Russia.  If this happened in the US, the hospital would be sued, there would be investigations and a clear intent for this never to happen again.  What will happen in Russia?  Nothing.  Where did the ambulance drivers have to go that they left their assigned post before their duty was over?  To get drunk, I bet.  This is so typical of the Russian mindset where an individual life has no meaning.  It means something to Alexei’s family, but not a bit to the Russian society.  Yes, they will say this was tragic (just like the loss of Kursk submarine was tragic), but will they hold the government accountable?  Never, because it did not affect them personally.  There is a cynical, hard outlook on the value of life.  Just like individual Russians do not care about the hostages killed by their own government in Dubrovka, or the people killed when their own government blew up the apartment buildings, or the sailors that suffocated to death 300 meters under water while Putin played politcs with their rescue — to them if it did not happen to their immediate family, then it is not worth the effort of addressing it with those responsible.  Now, a 19-year-old hockey superstar, who had his entire bright life ahead of him, is dead because it took a Russian ambulance, which abandoned its post, 45 minutes to come to his aid.  If I was an NHL player, or any expat businessman, is this the country that I would want to live in?  What is wrong with these people? 

And so it goes in Vladimir Putin’s neo-Soviet dictatorship.

16 responses to “EDITORIAL: Another Young Russian into an Early Grave

  1. This editorial is in typical larussophobic bad taste. A mind-bogging cynicism and indifference towards human life of which you quite candidly accuse the Russians of. You, moreover, quite conveniently fail to mention cases of sudden death in American athletes or of those in other countries. Never mind, a relatively quick search in Google (which was developed by somebody of Russia origin) might be interesting. It would also be worth adding the term “ineffective screening” in your search at some stage or examining how the USA rate in comparison to Italy in the specific field.

    P.S. 1)What happens to people in the States when uninsured and sick? I’m sure the” horrific”ally socialist American welfare state takes care of everybody.
    2) You must have been relishing in joy when you received this e-mail from “Oleg”. Lucky you, indeed!


    The only indifference to human life shown here is YOURS, in seeking to rationalize the barbaric behavior of the Russian people rather than reform it. By doing so, you invite more and more incidents of this kind. You are a monster.

  2. This is a typically larussophobic response.

  3. Yet again you fail to even make the slightest comment regarding what somebody says (in all probability because you have nothing to say: there is simply no denying athletes elsewhere die of undiagnosed heart conditions or that people in the States that are uninsured are pretty much on their own). Instead you turn to weird argumentation in a lame attempt to put the onus on others. The validity of me being a monster is as valid as it bad to be rational.

  4. Way to go Cathy! You are a brave and smart woman! Larussophobic’s response is ridiculous…


    Talk about ridiculous! You think all people who agree with you are “brave and smart” while those who don’t are . . . to be liquidated. Same idea Stalin had. We’d use different words to describe it . . . pathetic would come to mind.

  5. cathy –
    * athletes elsewhere die of undiagnosed heart conditions – agreed.
    * LR is often brash with their response – agreed (it’s their blog; they are free to do whatever they want; when you call Howard Stern show – you know what to expect. Still, I don’t quite like it either).
    * people in the States that are uninsured are pretty much on their own – disagree; but more importantly, how is it related to the original article?

    The point is (the way I read it) – the ambulance wasn’t at the venue, as it supposed to be; and when they finally arrived some equipment significantly contributed to athlete’s death. That is another example of how barbaric Russia is. Rather than comment on these points you either bring an irrelevant point (namely, insurance), or impugn LR’s motives. In my mind it doesn’t make you a monster – but it makes a very poor debater.

  6. In most civilized countries there are doctors on site, the smallest sports facilities have life saving equipment and even childrens tounaments require that an ambulance be on site – just in case.

    In Russia, that great humanitarian state, there are other priorities – rebuilding the empire, hell with thepeasants.

    As to fre health care, in the US, yes you have to pay a fee for services provided in Russia there may be no fee for prfessional servies, but there is problem of the bribe that has to be paid.

  7. Felix, my point was to disagree with the absurd opinion that this incident is a sign of barbarity of some sort or any other ideologically loaded term that is spouted off. If it is barbaric for a country to have an athlete die on a pitch (as if its never happened anywhere else where ambulances don’t arrive on time) then it must be equally barbaric for a country to have a health care system where health care is universal and free (in Europe people feel quite strongly about this and I dare say I am European (UK)).That’s why I brought up the particular issue. As for commenting on the incident there is little to say (and I also felt it would significantly have limited the picture leading the discussion to a result LR would have argued for), just like there is little to say about cases where your average people need immediate help and the ambulance doesn’t arrive on time. This happens even in developed European countries unfortunately but it does not mean that the country is barbaric any more so than a country that systematically doesn’t offer free universal health care. I’m sorry you didn’t understand my argument maybe I should have elaborated on my original post a bit more but it hardly makes me a poor debater.

  8. Cathy is completely in her own world and off the point. The point, my dear socialist Cathy, is that the ambulance was not late in arriving, but left its assigned post, something which is typical in Russia, where professional responsibility is nonexistent. This has nothing to do with an athelete tragically dying, as it does happen in all countries. However, the civilized countries do not have underpaid ambulance drivers leave their critical post. Civilized countries have laws requiring defibulators to be present at sporting events, and they get honestly inspected for compliance. Cathy has probably never spent a day in Russia but feels moraly superior to comment and comare that state to the US. Here is a question Cathy… Have you ever seen Russian healthcare? The unsanitary hospitals available for the common folks? Oh sure, you have European clinics in Moscow and St Pete but can an ordinary Russian afford them? Go back to living in your socialist British fantasy. I have lived in both worlds and I know the difference!

  9. Karhunmetsastaja

    Dear Cathy,

    have you heard of Jiří Fischer? Or Richard Zedník? Try using the Web search engine that was developed by someone who’s parents managed to escape Russia when he was six and who recieved his master’s degree from Stanford University, California, USA.

    Fischer’s and Zedník’s incidents are similar to that of Cherepanov’s, yet outcomes are a lot happier. And I think you know why.

  10. Great post, Cathy. Interesting that you mention American health care. I myself am in that same situation from an attack I endured more than two years ago by two rappers while going home from work. Two weeks ago there was an article in the local newspaper about the hospital here going after a HOMELESS MAN to pay his $50,000 medical bill. Funny, every little accident that happens in Russia, every death from any sickness, its all the Russian people’s fault according to the russophobes. But I don’t think even Putin’s Russia would go so low as to harass homeless people with bills they can’t pay.

  11. For Oleg:

    “Oh sure, you have European clinics in Moscow and St Pete but can an ordinary Russian afford them?”

    You should come to the USA, kid. Maybe it doesn’t strike you as possible, but countless Americans are without health care and can’t afford it and when they need it for life and death situations, they are left in financial ruin if not refused service. American health care is by far the most disgusting. You’re only worth it if someone can get rich from helping you.

  12. TB, that is a flat out lie. A terminal patient “cannot be denied aid due to the lack of ability to pay.”

    On the other hand, we have people that will punch trees so they can get oxycontin, or percoset after breaking a finger. If you render aid to these people, you become an enabler.

  13. I am in this country, you moron. My parents immigrated here and have worked every day of their lives for everything they earned. They never asked for a day of welfare, unlike you and your universal healthcare socialists. I am in the military paying back the debt I owe to this great land for giving me the opportunity to escape the USSR and the despicable land it has now become. Unlike you, I know both sides. You are a miserable human being for hating your country so much. Please leave before someone more of a man than you kicks your ass back to Cuba or Venezuela, where you so desperately want to go.

  14. BTW, the great paradise that you consider Russia to be has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the world and one of the lowest life expectancies in the world. How’s that for universal healthcare. While you’re at it, ask the Europeans why they all line up to come to the US for healthcare. Maybe its because they have to wait in line for emergency surgery?


    Your abusive remarks about a fellow commenter violate our comment guidelines and have been deleted. If you continue your flouting of our rules, you will be entirely banned from commenting on this blog.

  16. There is a sequel to this story:

    It is shocking: apparently, Alexei was very sick and doctors knew it and didn’t disclose it. He was too ill to play, but the “doctors” were pumping him with drugs that pretty much killed him.

    Killed slowly, killed by many. He was taking cordiamin for almost two years, and he got the last injection just three hours before the game. KHL (hockey league) tested 100 players and found 3 of them too ill to play. 3 out of 100 in the first division! But there are 600 players in first division, and more in upper division, and even more in youth clubs.

    I am not trying to confuse cathy or TB with facts – they obviously live in their own la-la world; but this story does reflect the state of affairs in Russia.

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