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6 MAR 14
The Bolshoi dancer convicted of organizing the acid attack on his boss today lost his appeal, whereupon the Bolshoi Theatre finally dismissed him. At an emotional and bitter appeal hearing in Moscow, Pavel Dmitrichenko won only a six-month reduction of his original six-year sentence, and a reduction in the severity of the regime.
Both his accomplices also had their sentences reduced. Yuri Zarutsky, who hurled sulphuric acid in Sergei Filin’s face, causing him partial blindness, will now serve nine years instead of 10, while his driver, Andrei Lipatov, will serve two years instead of four.
As compensation to Filin, Zarutsky must pay 1.5million rubles [about £25,000], Dmitrichenko 1.2million rubles [about £20,000], and Lipatov 300,000 rubles [£5,000].
The sentences had remained in abeyance pending the appeal, but today Moscow City Court upheld the decisions of the Meshchansky court last December.
Angelina ready to speak
During the appeal hearing, Dmitrichenko’s new legal team claimed that his former girlfriend Angelina Vorontsova was now prepared to come to court to state in public her claims that Sergei Filin demanded sexual favours from her in return for advancing her career. During the December trial she had not felt able to declare it, they said, but now she felt ‘calmer’ and ready to talk about it.
Filin’s representative responded that nothing had stopped Vorontsova raising this either during the trial when she was called or with the theatre administration, and these were frivolous petitions to delay the process. The court agreed, and dismissed the defence to recall Vorontsova and also former company manager Ruslan Pronin.
They then heard mitigation pleas which became emotional and barbed as two of the convicted men made personal attacks on Filin’s integrity. Dmitrichenko repeated his previous allegations from the trial that the director had demanded Vorontsova sleep with him. [His accusations against Filin were condemned in court by other Bolshoi dancers during the trial.]
He also said the reason he himself did not personally attack Filin in response to his fears for his girlfriend was that he “did not want to go to jail” or lose his job.
The hitman Zarutsky claimed that he had seen Filin at the Sochi Olympics, waving a Russian flag, and once again questioned Filin’s level of injuries.
Filin’s lawyer Tatiana Stukalova replied angrily that she had photos on her phone to show anyone who needed proof of Filin’s eye injuries.
The court panel took 10 minutes to make their decision.
Here’s a translation of the story from the Bolshoi Theatre.
Convicted dancer’s sentence now comes into force
The Bolshoi Theatre has terminated the employment contract with its former dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, the theatre chief Vladimir Urin has told Izvestia. “In accordance with Russian law, the Bolshoi Theatre management must dismiss Dmitrichenko following the sentence of the Moscow court,” he said.
The sentence passed by the court came into effect today, after Moscow City Court reviewed the verdict and reduced the dancer’s sentence from six to five and a half years, and eased the conditions of his imprisonment from hard regime to standard. The sentence was passed after the dancer and his accomplices were convicted of an attack on the Bolshoi ballet artistic director Sergei Filin.
According to Urin, Dmitrichenko’s professional career is over. “Theoretically, he could return to work at the Bolshoi Theatre. But it is impossible to imagine that in practice a ballet dancer, unable for such a long period to work on his profession day by day, could maintain the necessary physical form,” he told Izvestia.
On 17 January, 2013 Sergei Filin was attacked - he was splashed in the face with acid. In March police arrested three suspects: Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko and two Moscow residents, Yuri Zarutsky and Andrei Lipatov.
Forensic examination found that the victim Sergei Filin suffered grievous bodily harm. Currently the artistic director, while still undergoing treatment, continues to work at the Bolshoi.
In December Moscow’s Meshchansky Court convicted all three defendants and sentenced them to substantial prison terms. Today the Moscow City Court, on appeal, reduced Dmitrichenko’s term by six months, Zarutsky’s by a year, and Lipatov’s by two years.