News / Europe

    Russian Prosecutors Seek 9 Years for Acid Attack Dancer

    Bolshoi Theatre dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko is escorted out of a court room in Moscow, Nov. 6, 2013.Bolshoi Theatre dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko is escorted out of a court room in Moscow, Nov. 6, 2013.
    x
    Bolshoi Theatre dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko is escorted out of a court room in Moscow, Nov. 6, 2013.
    Bolshoi Theatre dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko is escorted out of a court room in Moscow, Nov. 6, 2013.
    Reuters
    State prosecutors demanded a nine-year jail sentence on Friday for a dancer accused of ordering an acid attack that nearly blinded the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director and exposed bitter rivalries at one of Russia's great cultural institutions.

    Pavel Dmitrichenko, a former soloist at the Bolshoi, showed no emotion as he sat still in a courtroom cage listening to the prosecution summary in a trial that lasted one month. The judge said she would issue a verdict on Tuesday.

    The prosecution also asked for 10 years in prison for Yuri Zarutsky, who is accused of throwing the acid in artistic director Sergei Filin's face last January, and six years for Andrei Lipatov, accused of driving him to and from the scene.

    “Dmitrichenko's motive was a conflict between Filin and Dmitrichenko,” prosecutor Yulia Shumovskaya told the Moscow court, saying the dispute was caused by the dancer's disappointment at not being given good roles by Filin.

    Filin's lawyer, Natalia Zhivotkova, said: “All the defendants are guilty and, from our point of view, deserve no mercy.”

    Filin, 43, was left writhing in agony in the snow outside his apartment late at night before he managed to get help after the attack by a masked assailant.

    He has since returned to his job at the Bolshoi Theater but always wears dark glasses and needs further surgery to save his sight, even after more than 20 operations.

    In a final statement from a courtroom cage, Dmitrichenko reiterated that he had wanted Filin roughed up and given Zarutsky the go-ahead to beat him, but never intended acid to be thrown in his face.

    “I regret this very much,” said Dmitrichenko, 29. “The whole situation happened because of my big mouth.”

    But he repeated that he does not admit guilt and placed the blame on Zarutsky, who has testified that throwing acid in Filin's face was his own idea and that he had not told Dmitrichenko he planned to do it.

    “My parents raised me properly, and I have never in my life wanted to cause anyone the kind of pain that was inflicted on Sergei,” Dmitrichenko said.

    “I am not a vengeful person,” he said. “We are artists, we are emotional people. Emotions are part of our profession.”

    Tarnished reputation

    Zarutsky, an ex-convict and the only defendant who has admitted guilt, said he deserved no leniency but asked the court to have mercy on Dmitrichenko and Lipatov.

    “It turned out very ugly on my part, to have drawn two innocent people into this escapade,” he said, asking forgiveness from Filin and the parents of his co-defendants.

    The case has tarnished the reputation of the colonnaded Bolshoi Theater, which stands a stone's throw from Moscow's Red Square and the Kremlin, and has caused one of its worst crises since its foundation in 1776.

    The theater has made management changes to try to train the spotlight back on the stage, but the toxic rivalries in the wings have flared up in court, including when Filin came face to face with his alleged attackers. He said Dmitrichenko falsely accused him of favoritism and affairs with ballerinas.

    Defense witnesses, meanwhile, portrayed Filin as an imperious hothead and Dmitrichenko as a champion of others in the company who felt slighted but feared to speak out against the artistic director, who has considerable power to make or break careers.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora