A teenage schoolgirl who wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin to complain about the hardship they were going through as a result of her mother’s wages, has been found dead after officials reprimanded her family.
Natalia Khatchenkova, 14, was found hanged in a block of flats next to her home. Local residents found her body and called the police.
The police found a suicide note inside one of Natalie’s pockets which asked for no one to be blamed for her death. But Natalie’s relatives believe that her letter to President Putin was behind her suicide.
In the letter, she had complained that life was too hard. After it was sent, her mum, who works in a state hospital, was allegedly scolded by government officials.
Speaking of her death, Natalia’s older sister Yulia said:
Natalia said she was going for a walk to visit our grandmother. However, she only visited her nan for a minute and then kissed her and went away.
Then we received a call from the police saying that they had found Natalia’s dead body.
In her letter to the president, she mentioned that our mother works as an assistant at the local hospital and that her salary is too low.
She said that our mother has two daughters and her salary is not enough to cover even our most basic needs. That our life is simply too hard.
According to Yulia, a representative of the president’s administration called the hospital’s bosses after the letter was sent and asked them to “handle the situation”.
As a result, the girl’s mother was reportedly scolded by her supervisor. In return, when the mother came home from work, she is said to have told reprimanded Natalia for sending the letter.
Yulia said that the response to the letter was the last straw in her sister’s hard life and pushed her to commit suicide.
She had always been bullied at school because of her eye condition, weight and shyness. The school psychologist never counselled her.
Russian authorities are laying blame on local officials for the death of a 14-year-old girl who media reports said apparently committed suicide after being bullied at school and writing to President Vladimir Putin to seek help for her financially strapped family.
The Investigative Committee branch in the Smolensk region issued a statement late on November 20, following news reports about a girl in the town of Safonovo who was found dead on November 18.
Investigators have found evidence of criminal negligence in the actions of officials with agencies “that should monitor and provide support to families in difficult life situations,” the statement said.
Warning that a criminal investigation on suspicion of negligence has been opened, it said: “it is already clear to investigators that officials who had an obligation to delve into the child’s problems did not take sufficient measures to avert the tragedy.”
The statement said that the girl lived with her older sister and their single mother, a hospital worker and that the family was in a “difficult financial situation” and had sought help from the local authorities.
It also said the girl, an eighth-grader who was legally handicapped, was bullied at school as a result of what media reports said were problems with her eyesight.
The investigative agency’s statement did not mention what media reports said was a letter the girl had written to Putin seeking financial help for her family.
Media reports said that the girl’s mother was reprimanded at work for her daughter’s letter.
It was not clear whether the purported letter reached Putin, who is often portrayed by the Kremlin as a leader attentive to the needs of ordinary Russians and has sometimes intervened to settle local disputes or aid a single citizen or family.
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