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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs