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Trial day 9: Dmitrichenko testifies
Trial day 10: Dmitrichenko, Tsiskaridze, Vorontsova testify
Trial day 11: Stars defend Filin, attack Tsiskaridze
28 NOV 13 Finally the grisly evidence of Filin’s attacker has been properly reported in the Russian press. Most reporters were disconcertingly focusing yesterday on the personality/Tsiskaridze circus while ignoring the grotesque deposition of Yuri Zarutsky which came after the Bolshoi group refuting Tsiskaridze’s story.
Zarutsky (who is reportedly 35) has a previous conviction for murder, it was stated in court, and he painted a picture of a seasoned con taking advantage of a naive Dmitrichenko in order to stack up future benefit for himself, such as an illegal gas supply, acquiring free passes to ballet shows and to help his daughter into ballet school.
Zarutsky testified that he was not in fact 100 percent sure that it was Filin he was chucking acid at. He and Dmitrichenko had run through a number of options for physical violence on Filin. However, he had chosen battery acid off his own bat, rather than beating him up, he claimed, because he thought it would cause less damage.
He also stated that he had no interest in Filin, he did not know him, and his main purpose in attacking him was to take advantage of what Dmitrichenko could do for him.
He concluded his testimony by offering Filin his “services” when he gets out of jail.
All this is in the detailed report in Moskovskiy Komsomolets, translated here. By the way, their headlines, that Zarutsky intended to “blackmail” Dmitrichenko and speculate on ballet tickets is not fully supported in the text.
Filin’s attacker wanted to blackmail Dmitrichenko
A small sensation was caused at the Filin acid trial when the man accused of executing the attack stated that he had not intended to cause such severe injuries, and described Dmitrichenko as “a good young man” whose naivety he had intended to exploit.
[Yuri Zarutsky’s questioning followed the appearance of 10 extra Bolshoi witnesses called on Filin’s behalf to rebut Tsiskaridze and Dmitrichenko’s evidence on Monday. See Trial day 11: Stars defend Filin, attack Tsiskaridze]
Hearing his name called, Zarutsky stepped with alacrity into the cage [from which the defendants are being questioned].
First, he complained of pressure put on him by investigators, apparently leaning on him to inform on co-conspirators. He said the responsibility for what he did was his alone.
“I put my own interests ahead of anything else. I was pursuing my own mercenary goals. How was it connected with Filin? I’ll tell you later. I had my own plans for this good young man [Dmitrichenko],” stated Zarutsky with a smile.
Hearing this, Dmitrichenko, who had been smiling during the appearance of his other witnesses, drooped and started looking down at his shoes.
‘I was not 100 percent sure it was him’
In a flash Zarutsky became the star and cynically and cheerfully told the details of the attack.
“I was not exactly sure that it was Filin until he came up close. I kept behind him, when I heard steps coming by - it was a woman with a dog. At one point I even changed my mind. I opened the jar, I wiped it with snow in anticipation, I went up to him. I thought it was him, from the outline of the eyes and forehead but I was not 100 percent sure.
“Sergei Yurievich yelled an expletive at me, grabbed me by the arm. I chucked the jar in his face, he leapt away from me, screamed and ran away. I ran off back towards the car, then slowed down, got into the car with Lipatov, and said, I had seen and communicated with the little guy.”
His decision to use electrolyte rather than beat Filin up, as Dmitrichenko had requested, Zarutsky explained thus: "I thought that it would not cause serious harm - besides it was diluted [IB: with his own urine, reportedly resulting in sulphuric acid].
“The reason I used electrolyte was if I hit him once, or twice or three times, I might break his jaw, maybe knock out his teeth, but he could have screeched. If I’d had any intention to cause serious harm I would have used physical force, from which I would have had more satisfaction.”
Following this Zarutsky, who has a previous conviction for murder (he also told the court the details), said he would not continue further testimony, appealing to article 51 of the Constitution. But he now had a taste for the telling and could not resist more revelations.
‘It’s stupid not to use people like Dmitrichenko’
“I had an interest [in Dmitrichenko]. Various plans were floated, say to go for the head, or break bones, various steps of injury. I will not say that I am a great criminal personality. In future I planned to use Dmitrichenko to get a little gas supply and I wouldn’t be refused. It is stupid not to use such moments, and people like Dmitrichenko. I wanted to get my daughter into ballet school, wanted to get free passes which are very expensive before New Year.”
If everything Zarutsky said was true, then Dmitrichenko let a genie out of the bottle and could hardly cope with him. And it was extremely lucky for him that all the participants were arrested in short order.
“I do not feel any animosity towards Filin. Filin, Tsiskaridze, Pronin - they’re all the same to me. But this guy Dmitrichenko is a fighter for justice,” he said.
“I’m getting the impression that if you had known Sergei Yurievich, you wouldn’t have done this,” the victim’s lawyer could not contain herself.
Zarutsky replied, “It’s not impossible. I’m not afraid of anything, I go on directly and confidently to things, even though I’m going to get punished for this.”
He asked for Filin to be informed that he could always use Zarutsky’s “services” after his release from prison.
To recap: on 17 January Filin was splashed in the face with acid by an attacker. In March police arrested three suspects: dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko (29) and Moscow residents Yuri Zarutsky (35) and Andrei Lipatov (32). The allegation is that Dmitrichenko commissioned the attack from Zarutsky, a former convict, while Lipatov was hired as a driver to take Zarutsky to the crime scene.
The forensic investigation found that Filin has suffered grievous bodily harm, an offence carrying a sentence of up to 12 years in prison under paragraph "a" of Part 3, clause 111 of the Criminal Code.