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© Ismene Brown 1992-2022


25  NOV 13  

Today was the biggest day of the Bolshoi acid trial since the victim himself testified. His claimed attacker, the dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, was examined on his testimony given last Friday, while what the press was really interested in was the appearance of the ex Bolshoi celebrity Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Dmitrichenko's young girlfriend, the ballerina Angelina Vorontsova, over whose career it has long been speculated that Dmitrichenko was motivated to plan revenge.

Given the difficulty of finding any decent Russian court reporting, and the blatant bias of the most attentive paper, Izvestia, I have translated the exhaustive blow-by-blow live account of RAPSI, the Russian legal news service. Being vastly detailed - though preferring not to give direct quotes - this sheds light on quite a lot of discrepancies between the previous sworn affidavits in the investigation and what Dmitrichenko said in the box on Friday and today.

Essentially he repudiates his written affidavits taken by the police investigators, though he did not give clarification why he signed affidavits he did not read, considering the severity of the case.

He admitted paying Zarutsky 60,000 roubles, though now says it was a loan, not payment for the attack Zarutsky admits he carried out. The dancer was grilled about the night of the attack and agreed he had watched Filin leave the theatre and phoned Zarutsky to tell him to hurry. There was a considerable amount of organising of mobile phones and money, but he maintains he still thought Zarutsky was "going to have a word with Filin and punch him in the face".

He also agreed that after the attack he met Zarutsky in Lipatov's car and handed him more money "for fuel" when Zarutsky signalled to him he had attacked Filin, though Dmitrichenko claims he had no clue what with.

Dmitrichenko ‘did not realise’ criminal responsibility

When the judge asked him if he realised that commissioning Zarutsky to beat Filin up still involved criminal responsibility, he said, no, he hadn't realised that.

Much of the dancer's evidence focused on attacking Filin's abilities and conduct as artistic director; as indeed did Tsiskaridze's testimony.  The impression given by what they said was of Filin having an impossible task to impose his authority as artistic director on two people who refused to recognise his position and had no intention of obeying him. Dmitrichenko challenged Filin publicly several times, on occasions that might well be construed as Filin attempting, if tactlessly, to whip a highly unruly company into shape, while administering a hugely flawed and corruptible payments system that dates from Soviet times.

It emerges that dancers saw little reason to attend class if they were not performing, yet Dmitrichenko tasked himself with ensuring they were paid a share of bonuses intended (in the Bolshoi's extraordinarily opaque salary system) for those who were actually taking part. Dancers earn so little that these "grants" are essential to keep some of them out of downright poverty, and Dmitrichenko was the champion of the corps de ballet, who suffered more than most from the system.

But neither he nor Tsiskaridze would cooperate with Filin in artistic matters either. Tsiskaridze told the court how he was unavailable for a Giselle rehearsal at which the orchestra was called, yet he had only informed an office manager, who did not tell Filin. When Filin found she knew about Tsiskaridze's unavailability, he blew a gasket and she ticked him off, at which he said he would fire her. At which Dmitrichenko leapt in on her behalf, accusing Filin of maltreating her.

On another notable occasion, it appears that Filin criticised the quality of a corps de ballet rehearsal going on in the upper stage, and told the dancers that from now on there would penalties for absenteeism from class. Again Dmitrichenko leapt up and accused him rudely in public of running the theatre like a tsar.

One can see exactly why the former chief executive Anatoly Iksanov said in his own evidence last week that the ungovernable Dmitrichenko knew very well how to make the job of artistic director impossible. Yet it was not inconsistent that other dancers saw his impetuosity as concern for them that few in management felt.

Filin ordered the dancers to use the formal 'you'

Tsiskaridze said he had always thought Filin a "brilliant dancer", but when he became artistic director he ordered the company to stop using the familiar "you" and "Seriozha" address, and now use the formal "you" and "Sergei Yurievich". Tsiskaridze thought this caused difficulties.

He also accused Filin of allowing his assistant Dilyara Timergazina, too much power to influence casting. Izvestia unsurprisingly reports more fully than RAPSI the damning things he said about Filin: “To be honest, hand on heart, for the past two and a half years the Bolshoi Ballet has been governed by this lady who has not a scrap of ballet training. If she doesn’t like someone, that person loses roles. She is officially an advisor. It’s not know, what on. But that’s how it is.”

Izvestia also reports Tsiskaridze’s characterising of Filin as someone who habitually badmouthed and berated people. He also said he was not surprised Filin named him as a potentially involved in the attack: “Because Sergei was ready to use anything for advertising.” At this Filin’s lawyer queried the word, “advertising”. “Yes, advertising. Many articles appeared that had my name in the headline, but in the interview below it was all about Mr Filin, not me,” he said.

What was not aired in court today was Iksanov's outspoken views on Tsiskaridze that he had been machinating for years to destabilise first the previous ballet directors and then Iksanov himself, hoping to get the top jobs himself.

Tsiskaridze was ‘a stone in Filin’s shoe’

Ruslan Pronin, once Filin’s close friend and the company manager until he was dismissed this summer, told the court that “for Filin the presence of Tsiskaridze was like a stone in his shoe.”

But Filin's instant assumption after the acid attack that Tsiskaridze and Dmitrichenko were involved was brought up several times. Dmitrichenko said in court today - which seems to be new information - that when he was first interrogated, the chief police investigator suggested he name Tsiskaridze as potentially involved in the attack. Asked by the prosecutor why he had little to say about his supposedly coercive questioning and detention, he said he did not wish go into unpleasant details.

Angelina Vorontsova's appearance in court added little solid except that she only realised her boyfriend's involvement in the Filin attack when she saw his "haggard face" on TV after he was taken into custody.

She was not asked about Tsiskaridze’s allegation that Filin said Vorontsova was too fat, and should get pregnant and have an abortion. This tale, if true, is disgusting; if not true, it’s disgusting it was told.

It's a very long read but it's instructive also to see how Russian courts operate.

‘In Nutcracker I am the Prince, he is the Mouse King’

RAPSI, 25 November, 2013, 13:55

...Meshchansky Court is pretty crowded, a lot of reporters and cameras. Even the foreign press is interested - Reuters and the New York Times correspondents are expected to be there. Everyone is gathering outside courtroom number 76 but it's quite small - it can hold only about 20 people, so everyone hopes it will be moved once again to courtroom 66, which is more spacious. Angelina Vorontsova and Nikolai Tsiskaridze have been been spotted in the courthouse...

Filin's lawyers are unhappy about the proceedings being broadcast; they would even like to ban it, but the journalists would oppose that. Judge Elena Maximova opens the session. They've arrived.

Andrei Lipatov's defending laywer Sergei Zhorin is absent again; but there is a second lawyer, so the hearing can go ahead. Zhorin asked the court to go on without him. No one opposed it.

The judge reminds everyone that Dmitrichenko's questioning was begun in the previous hearing, but now it's the prosecutor making a request. The prosecutor is asking to ban the press from using electronic devices, because in the previous hearing there was a simultaneous transcription.

The judge says, "There is not to be a live transcription made of the hearing. She gives as her reason the fact that witnesses in the corridor would be able to use this opportunity to hear the testimony of witnesses already appearing.

Dmitrichenko questioning begins

Meanwhile Dmitrichenko's lawyer starts questioning him. Dmitrichenko recalls that he danced six years in the corps de ballet, after which he was promoted to soloist. "I never asked Sergei Filin to promote me… Even more, I have never in my life asked for anything," said Dmitrichenko. He says once again says that it is Yuri Grigorovich whom he thanks.

His lawyer moves on to what happened on the upper stage, which Dmitrichenko has several times asked other witnesses to recall. The dancer says that there was a run-through on the upper stage, which was interrupted by Filin. Sergei Filin decided to announce new rules and penalties for absenteeism, said the dancer. According to him, Filin's speech culminated in phrases about dismissals and freaks. The accused says he stood up for his colleagues and challenged Filin to say why he had said this. Later on Filin repeatedly demanded explanations from Dmitrichenko. After a meeting at which Dmitrichenko accused Filin of incorrect conduct, his name was taken off cast sheets, said the defendant.

RAPSI: As there is a little time, we will explain briefly that the transcription is proceeding, because of rulings by the Supreme Court, and also [laws regarding media] which read: "Persons present in open court shall have the right to make audio recording and written transcripts. Photography, video and/or filming are allowed with the permission of the presiding officer at the hearing." We will try to avoid direct quotations, in the interests of fairness, but it will still be interesting, so we're reverting to the process.

Dmitrichenko said the work was hard, and Filin's requirement to attend all classes was unnecessary let to the risk of artists being injured.

Now to the conflict between Filin and Veronica Sanadze, one of Dmitrichenko's favoured topics. [RAPSI: On Friday Sanadze related how Nikolai Tsiskaridze did not attend a Giselle rehearsal; Filin aske if she knew why he had not come, and she said she did. Filin demanded she write a statement about it, and she broke down in tears. Later Filin apologised to her, saying he had got over-excited.] The accused told how he came out of class and saw Sanadze crying. After a conversation with her Dmitrichenko wrote a letter in her support, which many people signed, and Veronica kept her job. We recall that according to both Sanadze and Filin himself, she had been asked to hand in her resignation.

The defendant believed Filin to be an irascible man and he gave examples: the Bolshoi artistic director might call a dancer into his office for three hours for a dressing down.

A question from Dmitrichenko's lawyer about the union leader.  Or rather, unions plural - in the theatre there are two unions; one is the performers' union. Filin led that one, and, according to Dmitrichenko, did so unlawfully. In part because, for example, for two years he did not pay contributions.

And now for the grants commission, of which again several witnesses have spoken. The commission met in December, Filin was there, says Dmitrichenko. He tells the same story as on Friday, where he asked for non-performing dancers to be able to have one point on the five-point system of distribution of bonuses, and the commission agreed, making Filin storm out in anger. The meeting would usually last two hours, but on that occasion it went on for eight.

Questions move on to the history of Dmitrichenko's acquaintance with Zarutsky. The defendant told this fairly fully on Friday, but the lawyer wants more details. Pavel recalls that Zarutsky was open to conversation and a very intrusive sort of person. They saw each other around 15 times and not once spoke about sulphuric acid nor of electrolyte.

Dmitrichenko recalls that when he learned that Filin had been attacked with acid, he rushed to find out information on the subject on the internet. He read about acid and saw pictures of objects that had acid poured on them. Dmitrichenko's exact words here were: "Their faces were horrible, like candles."

Now to return to the major authority figures in Pavel Dmitrichenko's life. These appeared only to be Yuri Grigorovich and his teacher. Dmitrichenko did not take any requests concerning Vorontsova or himself to Filin, not because it was useless, but because the dancer himself decides where he wants to dance and what he is capable of.

Incidentally, Dmitrichenko says he's interested in why the investigator ascribed revenge as his motive in the case file. The investigator did not answer the dancer.

The accused often looks at his notebook. He says he never knew the phone number of another defendant, Andrei Lipatov.

He doesn't deny the phone calls. We recall, he started talking about them last Friday, when he began his testimony. Generally Dmitrichenko is repeating the testimony he gave on Friday.

He recalls the moment of his arrest. It was a significant event in life, we won't dispute. However, he doesn't want to talk about nuances, and he refuses to recall unpleasant details of his detention. While he made no protest against the internal affairs authorities, he did protest against the investigator, who, for instance, told everyone of a confession of guilt which in fact had not happened. He says he told the investigators about all his meetings and conversations with Zarutsky.

Dmitrichenko's lawyer has completed his questions, Zarutsky's lawyer has no questions for him, but there are some from Lipatov's defence.

The accused recalls that they saw each other once in summer, Zarutsky introduced them. Then they met during the handover of money when Dmitrichenko lent Zarutsky a small sum. In December they did not meet,  and did not both visit the crime scene. Overall he had never planned anything with Lipatov.

‘It is a colossal sum’

Filin's representatives question him concerning the victim's claim for compensation of 508,000 roubles [£9,500] for material damage and 3million roubles [£56,000] for moral damage. Does Dmitrichenko agreed to it or not?

Dmitrichenko remarks that it is a colossal sum, and he recalls that he does not absolve himself of moral responsibility. But he has not given a clear answer to the question whether he acknowledges the claim. Dmitrichenko says, if he had 10million roubles [£188,000], and Filin needed the money, he would give it to him.

Now to the question how Dmitrichenko was associated Zarutsky - was he in his circle. The dancer doesn't understand, and answers that he mixed with everyone. Zarutsky was interested in the theatre and wanted to get his daughter into ballet.

The prosecutor asks whether Zarutsky proposed to kill Filin - he answers in the negative. As also to the question, whether Dmitrichenko asked him to beat Filin up.

The accused did not follow Filin, but he phoned Zarutsky and said that he saw Filin in his car, which meant he would soon be at home. Dmitrichenko explains his actions being because "the other guy wanted to hit him."

Strong discrepancies

The prosecutor asks for Dmitrichenko's written evidence to be read out, due to strong discrepancies. No one makes objection.

Dmitrichenko makes a counter-petition: watch the video. The judge will consider the request later, first the written records of the questioning and confrontations will be read out.

On the subject of Dmitrichenko's acquaintance with Zarutsky - there are some new details. Dmitrichenko spoke with Zarutsky about Filin, and the latter twice proposed to "bash" him. The dancer had both times categorically refused. But from the affidavits it appears that Dmitrichenko offered Zarutsky 50,000 rubles [over £1,000] to beat Filin up.

Meanwhile there are no differences that on 17 January Dmitrichenko intended to go with Batyr Annadurdyev to deal with dacha business, on the way out of the theatre he saw Filin, and told Zarutsky this on his phone. Then he saw the victim in his car again, which he again quickly told Zarutsky, warning him that Filin would be going home in a few minutes.

That night, Pavel Dmitrichenko learned from a phone call between Angelina Vorontsova and Nikolai Tsiskaridze of the attack on Filin.

"I acknowledge guilt and I fully repent of what I did," the accused says in the written affidavits. Then it's reported that he did not have any suspicion about the use of acid, but only thought Zarutsky had punched Filin in the face. This was to scare Filin and get him to reconsider how he treated various dancers.

RAPSI comment: Quite honestly, it is difficult to narrate all this without using direct quotations.

Now we turn to the affidavit on the official "confrontation" between Dmitrichenko and Lipatov. When Dmitrichenko got into the car where Lipatov was, when he asked Zarutsky, "Well, what about it?", replied, "I've ****** him." Dmitrichenko only discussed the Filin matter with Zarutsky, say the statements. And Dmitrichenko did not know whether Zarutsky had let Lipatov in on the plan.

In his deposition, apparently the money paid to Zarutsky for the attack on Filin was in fact given him as a loan - Zarutsky did not ask for any [payment] for punching Filin. This is a discrepancy with the first statements, which Dmitrichenko explained as being that questions were put to him inexactly.

Another affidavit is read out. This says that he never plotted beforehand with either Lipatov or Zarutsky, and fully denied his guilt. And Dmitrichenko did not have unfriendly relations with Filin, said the affidavit.

Once again the prosecutor petitions to read out another written affidavit because of contradictions. No objections. The affidavit concerns the 50,000 roubles, whether it was a loan or something else.

[The reporter here comments that they don't understand the apparent discrepancies. "Unnoticeable". Around 17 minutes are not being reported.]

Dmitrichenko makes a petition to read out basically all his statements, and asks for the video to be shown. Judge promises this will be done next time, the equipment will need to be prepared.

The prosecutor asks if everything was as it has now been read out. Dmitrichenko says that it's not quite right. The first affidavit in which he admits guilt and describes everything, he says, he signed without a glance. It was because it was all happening at 2am, and he had been arrested at six the previous morning, he had not eaten. Generally Pavel was exhausted.

The prosecutor queries the discrepancy in the amounts: how much in total did Dmitrichenko give Zarutsky? The accused says it is 60 thousand rubles, as a loan - the receipts are in the case file, states Dmitrichenko.

The judge asks whether Dmitrichenko had his rights read to him. He doesn't remember. He says a lawyer was there, but at certain points went out of the room. He did not read the affidavits at all - he trusted the lawyers.

Dmitrichenko draws the judge's attention to the fact that in all the affidavits it states that the dancer was not aware of sulphuric acid being used. "You didn't read it, but you signed it?" sums up the judge. "Yes."

Investigators told him to name Tsiskaridze

He says the investigators suggested Dmitrichenko should name Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Ruslan Pronin as customers [who ordered the attack]. Hopefully today we will hear their testimony.

Now point by point: how Dmitrichenko knew Zarutsky - confirmed; how Zarutsky wanted to beat Filin up - confirmed.  Zarutsky also had to want to talk with Filin.

The judge asked whether Dmitrichenko understands that even to "beat someone up" carried liability with it. No - he did not understand! Only now Dmitrichenko has understood. And he recalls how when he was 17 he got into fights, when the local boys really badly beat up him up. This is the whole story - Dmitrichenko got beaten up by local boys when he was 17. And he did not imagine that Zarutsky would go and beat up Filin.

He did not know about Zarutsky's criminal past, he had not looked to see if cameras were present at Filin's residence - which means these statements aren't confirmed  (in the affidavits it says the opposite). His messages to Zarutsky about Filin's movements he does confirm. The judge asks a reasonable question, considering, why Dmitrichenko was communicating these to Zarutsky. The dancer explains, to have a word and punch him.

Dmitrichenko says he is "willing to do anything to help Filin forget the situation," which is why he recognises the civil suit.

Now Filin's representatives ask Dmitrichenko whether he is physically fit. He says, he is fit in ballet terms.

Suddenly, it's becoming clear: Dmitrichenko is 29, Filin is 43. So Filin's representatives wonder why Dmitrichenko did not himself punch the artistic director in the face.

Dmitrichenko comments that if he had some wild desire to beat Filin up, "I would beat him up every day". But he did not have that desire, it was Zarutsky who had these intrusive suggestions.

Now a question from Zarutsky. On the question of the word "bash". It seems, he is a car-lover and sometimes expresses himself obscenely. Could the word "bash" have sounded in some other way, he asks.

Everyone has understood the question, and even the first answer everybody understood, but the udge has reminded Zarutsky that he will be given his time to speak.

Meanwhile a last question from the judge to Dmitrichenko; and the accused says that that he did not give evidence in the form in which it is written. He is prepared to endorse only what is recorded on the video.  Again the accused says that the interrogator asked him to refuse it, but he refused to refuse it. That's the story.

The judge wonders why Dmitrichenko did not tell the investigators that he feared for his girl Angelina Vorontsova and for his family. Dmitrichenko replies that it was because he did not know where Zarutsky was at the time. Strange answer. But Dmitrichenko's cross-examination now ends. Tsiskaridze is called in.

Nikolai Tsiskaridze’s testimony

Nikolai Tsiskaridze confirms he knows Pavel Dmitrichenko, they have worked together at the Bolshoi Theatre. Before then he saw the accused in school, the other suspects he has seen on television. Tsiskaridze worked in the Bolshoi for 21 years, and has known Filin since 1987. He was introduced to Pavel in 2004 - the latter came to his class as a pupil.

Tsiskaridze says Dmitrichenko was a capable boy. The soloists share roles in many ballets: Tsiskaridze played positive characters, Dmitrichenko negative. "In The Nutcracker I was the prince, he was the Mouse King."

Tsiskaridze always spoke up for Dmitrichenko, that he was a promising performer with fine gifts. The lawyer interrupts this, to ask how people are given certain roles. Tsiskaridze explains that two people must be concerned, the choreographer must be interested in the performer and the artistic director too. In the case of Dmitrichenko, casts were chosen by Yuri Grigorovich and the artistic director could not argue with him. "Did Filin have influence on Dmitrichenko's casting?" Tsiskaridze replied that he could, but he only tried to frustrate it.  

Now Tsiskaridze's version of the incident with Veronica Sanadze. Filin "protected" certain dancers, but when Dmitrichenko got a role, as Tsiskaridze saw, "Pavel was running off, with Filin shouting behind him, that I'll find you, I'll get you and so on."

He also told about rules: for instance, if the name of a dancer is on the official poster, it can only be removed in extreme circumstances. But Filin quite often took Dmitrichenko's name off the poster.

Tsiskaridze says that Filin like to collect paper of when he had not turned up. He recalled that Filin chose him to dance Giselle. An orchestra rehearsal was called, but Tsiskaridze was occupied in another place and he warned Sanadze of this. Tsiskaridze says that Filin exhibited himself "striking hysterical poses", and goes on: he remembers how an unpleasant situation developed when they demanded an explanation from Sanadze. She said they should not write bad things about Tsiskaridze. Filin demanded her dismissal from the theatre, and generally demanded that Tsiskaridze's students should renounce their teacher.

As well as that, Tsiskaridze says Filin often raised his voice at him, but as he had known him a long time, he knew action would not follow.

Generally Nikolai was surprised that he was interviewed in the first call. The investigator explained it that it had been decided to begin with the principals. Straight away with the letter Ts. But then, of course, it was acknowledged, that it came about because Filin had suspected Tsiskaridze himself.

Tsiskaridze remembers a conversation with Filin about Vorontsova: he says the Bolshoi artistic director called the ballerina heavy, said she should get pregnant and have an abortion. Tsiskaridze tried to explain to him that Vorontsova was a talented dancer and Filin was wrong.

The lawyer asks, did Vorontsova ask to dance Swan Lake. Tsiskaridze says she did not ask, and he did not know whether Dmitrichenko asked for her. "If the words "maybe" is used, it means it will never happen," said Nikolai very solemnly.

Tsiskaridze says he has known Filin since childhood and the latter was a brilliant dancer. Nikolai himself, despite the pressure being put on him, would not leave. His pupiles too wanted to leave with him, but they were urgently advised not to do so.

Already married

Tsiskaridze starts telling about the relations between Dmitrichenko and Vorontsova.

After a show one night, Pavel introduced Nikolai to Angelina. It was a shock to Tsiskaridze, as Dmitrichenko was married to a mutual friend (Olga). Pavel said that they had divorced the previous month. It spoiled Tsiskaridze's mood. "Angelina had problems with Filin, and now everything was coming together onto her, I thought." In the theatre everyone was quoting Filin's words that if Dmitrichenko ever married Vorontsova, she would never dance again.

The lawyer wonders whether Dmitrichenko is a confrontational man, and Tsiskaridze says all dancers are generally emotional people. But Dmitrichenko stood up for the rights of "the less able and those who had less work". He says that under Filin nepotism began to flourish. He mentions a letter in defence of Dmitrichenko, saying that it was signed by more than 300 artists and they do not believe in Pavel's guilt.

Tsiskaridze describes a meeting with Filin in the elevator last December: other workers got into the lift and Filin started saying Tsiskaridze should not behave this way. Tsiskaridze said he did not want to talk to him and the artistic director made nasty gestures behind his back. "He said he didn't do anything. But I reminded him that there was a record of the conversation, and he flinched nervously and got out."

Vorontsova works at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, she has became prima ballerina. They drove her out of the Bolshoi, it was obvious to Tsiskaridze.  In the Bolshoi the rank she held would permit her to dance leading roles, but since Filin's arrival these became very few: "Lina herself never refused a role, she danced everything."

Vorontsova was prepared for the leading role in Swan Lake, Tsiskaridze considered. He says he only communicated with Dmitrichenko in the theatre, and reproved him for not working enough. "In outside life, I hardly talked to him, but much more with Angelina. Her future very much concerned me. When people are scoffing at your children, it's very painful."

Filin's lawyers asked the dancer if he had changed his attitude to the artistic director after he discovered that Filin suspected him. No, Tsiskaridze's relationship did not change - he simply did not communicate with Filin.

'When I saw Filin on TV my attitude changed'

"When I heard about the acid, I felt shock. But when I saw him on TV, my attitude changed."  Filin's representatives ask him, how changed?

From the interview Filin gave, Tsiskaridze realised "that it was not all right, as I am trying to say". "When people get acid poured over them, things aren't quite like that with them," a quote from Tsiskaridze.

Filin's representatives ask whether Tsiskaridze knew about the eyes. The dancer says that he read nothing about it.

The next question is to talk about Dmitrichenko's skirmishes with Gennady Yanin [IB former Bolshoi Ballet company manager who was demoted after an internet porn scandal whose provenance remains unresolved]. The latter impeded Pavel's appearance in one production, recalls Tsiskaridze: "Because of this Pavel wrote to [then Bolshoi general director] Anatoly Iksanov, he said there was oppression going on."

Tsiskaridze's relations with Filin have not changed since the attack on the artistic director. Disciplinary sanctions were imposed on him, but theey were illegal efforts on Filin's part. (See this judgement: Tsiskaridze against the Bolshoi Theatre reprimands.)

Now the prosecutor's questions. Tsiskaridze says that Dmitrichenko was dissatisfied with Filin, and did not want him to lead the union. "He realised that in this case he himself would fight legally for the rights of dancers."

"Did Filin obstruct Dmitrichenko's performances?" "Yes, but he danced because they were Grigorovich's ballets." He characterises the Dmitrichenko/Filin conflict as "industrial".

And once again the story of how Filin called the artists “freaks”, and after Dmitrichenko stood up for them, how he was taken out of roles.  Now, as regards the commission: he says that if Dmitrichenko was elected it was because everyone trusted him. "I was stunned when investigators came to the Bolshoi and started persuading everyone that they had found the culprit."

"You too were like that," Tsiskaridze tells Filin's representative, Tatyana Stukalova. She says that she was not. But colleagues are whispering that she was. The point is not this, says Tsiskaridze, rather than everybody stood behind Dmitrichenko.

RAPSI: Can we start a tag "Tsiskaridze quotes"? "Seriozha [Sergei] is a hysterical man - he loves mimicking people. As an artist he is very dear to me - the best Romeo I have ever seen. But the moment he got power over us, the first thing he said was: you must address me formally with 'Vy' [the formal 'you'] and 'Sergei Yurievich'."  Nobody was going to be over-familiar, but in personal conversations it came over funny, said Tsiskaridze.

No further questions. Tsiskaridze leaves.

Andrei Uvarov

Next in the box Andrei Uvarov, teacher and coach at the Stanislavsky Theatre [and former Bolshoi male principal]. He adds nothing new, in general. He says Dmitrichenko was a talented dancer, not aggressive and not confrontational, and says all performers are emotional types. He has known Filin about 30 years.

Filin's representatives ask the witness about the duties of artistic director, but the witness can't judge them. He had not witnessed conflicts between Filin and Tsiskaridze. He says that by this time he had moved to another theatre.

Angelina Vorontsova

Next comes Angelina Vorontsova. She is in a short dress and Dmitrichenko is smiling. She is introduced: prima ballerina in the Mikhailovsky Theatre, and last winter worked in the Bolshoi Theatre. She knows Dmitrichenko. "First we were just working in the Bolshoi Theatre, but then we had close relations." [The reporter notes the past tense.] She joined the Bolshoi in 2009, but in her first year of work didn't come into contact with Dmitrichenko.

On the question of conflicts between Dmitrichenko and Filin, she says that Pavel often defended dancers. And now Angelina recalls that same situation on the upper stage, the story about "freaks".

Angelina talks about her upbringing, her first prizes and awards. She recalls how Filin arrived in Voronezh at a school performance and saw her there, aged 16. He invited her to work in the Stanislavsky Theatre but Vorontsova had another year's schooling to finish. Then Filin proposed she should move to Moscow and complete her studies in the capital. Which in fact was what happened. Filin found her a room in a flat, she continued.

Then Vorontsova began getting invitations to go to the Bolshoi, but the dancer was not yet 18 and she and her mother could not take any final decision. But after that Vorontsova did well for herself in a competition and the Bolshoi hired her.

Angelina believes that Filin would not have taken offence at her "disobedience", but after  his arrival at the Bolshoi her situation changed. For example, she was taken off the Paris tour and there were proposals that she should leave Tsiskaridze, refuse to have him as her teacher. Of course she did not do so. It was not so simple to leave Tsiskaridze.

She tells how she was asked to go on the American tour; "I asked Sergei Yurievich could I go. He said he would sort it out, and evidently he himself said I should not go."

She speaks a few words about Dmitrichenko - that he's ambitious, kind and not an aggressive person. The man he respected was Grigorovich, she repeats Tsiskaridze's words.

She says he is mad about ballet and has invested his whole heart and soul - for example, in a dacha cooperative as well.

Tsiskaridze was an uncomfortable character for Filin, says Vorontsova. She says it is stupid to say that Dmitrichenko went to Filin to ask for roles for her. Filin called her into his office and told her that Tsiskaridze's contract was expiring and she needed to choose another coach. On that Vorontsova asked why put her in such a situation.

She says on 17 January Dmitrichenko drove in the direction of the dacha. And he often loaned money to people, yes.

The lawyer asks whether Vorontsova made a recording of conversations with Filin. She answers that she did not. But Tsiskaridze recalled some recordings. Really.

Now Pavel Dmitrichenko asked questions. He asked about the incident on the upper stage - he considers this is significant. It seems that Vorontsova is confused about the dates, and says she didn't know Pavel then. But she did. Well.

Filin asked Vorontsova to vacate her room when she went to work at the Bolshoi Theatre. The witness considers that he demonstrated resentment.

Fundamental discrepancies

The prosecutor asked to read her written statement, saying there are fundamental discrepancies. "Today, the witness stated that the whole thing was that Filin asked her to quit Tsiskaridze, but during the investigation it was written that she was to move to a female coach," This is the same thing, objects Vorontsova.

Dmitrichenko laughs and opposes the petition. All the lawyers are against, but the court begins reading out Vorontsova's affidavit.

Vorontsova partially confirms the affidavit. She says there it's more compressed.

Filin's representatives ask who initiated her move to Moscow. She says it was a general initiative. But people want to hear the name of Filin - they say he really helped with the accommodation. She was promoted to the rank of soloist; up to Filin's arrival she was a coryphee. Filin's representatives ask, is this the lowest rank? No, says Vorontsova, there are lower ones.

They ask whether Dmitrichenko ever talked to her about his involvement in the crime. Vorontsova says the she realised it from the TV, when "I saw his haggard face".

"And you felt no pity for Sergei Yurievich?" "Nobody said they felt no pity. But thank God, he is recovering."

Once again, we hear that Dmitrichenko never asked for anything from Filin either for himself or for Vorontsova.

The ballerina only knows Zarutsky from the media - she only went once to the dacha cooperative, and did not see Zarutsky there.

The examination of Angelina Vorontsova is done. She wishes to remain in the courtroom. She sits opposite Dmitrichenko and looks at him.

Related to this

           Trial day 9: Dmitrichenko testifies

           Trial day 8: Iksanov testifies (other reports)

           Trial day 7: ‘elusive’ Iksanov to be compelled to testify

Trial day 10: Dmitrichenko questioned, Tsiskaridze testifies

Pavel Dmitrichenko in court [photo Izvestia/ Vladimir Suvorov]