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Charges Dropped Against Russian Woman Accused Of Misusing Rural Doctor Program

In the end, the regional prosecutor's office called the criminal case against Marina Cheremisina a mistake.

Charges have been dropped against a Russian physician accused of defrauding the state by misusing funds she received from the federal government under the Rural Doctor program.

Marina Cheremisina's lawyer, Vladimir Seredin, told the rights group Mediazona on November 10 that all charges against his client had been dropped after the authorities failed to show she had committed a crime.

Cheremisina and her family moved from the Siberian city of Omsk to Russia's western exclave of Kaliningrad sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland in 2013, where she worked in the town of Bagrationovsk under the Rural Doctor program.

As a participant in the Rural Doctor program, she received 1 million rubles ($15,700) from the government and used it to buy a plot of land where her family planned to build a house.

In 2017, Cheremisina was arrested and accused of misusing the funds by working the first two years of her Rural Doctor stint in Bagrationovsk, which is too large to qualify for the program.

Cheremisina explained that she was originally assigned to work at a village hospital in Dolgorukovo, about 9 kilometers from Bagrationovsk. But that hospital was administratively part of the town hospital in Bagrationovsk, and after she had worked in Dolgorukovo for a few months the director of the hospital in Bagrationovsk ordered her to work temporarily for him because of a critical shortage of doctors.

Local health officials knew about the assignment and signed off on her documents.

Cheremisina's case was sent back to prosecutors after she asked President Vladimir Putin to intervene via a video on YouTube in June.

The regional prosecutor's office then called the criminal case against Cheremisina a mistake.