Helene

Sergei Filin Attacked

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I think it's clumsy because she explicitly states that "no one doubts," when it appears that, for the moment at least, there are plenty of doubters.

That is the difference between a spokesperson for a particular organization, and a reporter.

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I should have phrased my observation differently, because what matters is not my perception, but whether her attempt at message control is likely to be effective. Whatever you think of Novikova's statement, this is a response on the blog of Kirill Filatov, one of the leaders of the Bolshoi's second violin section:

Today the RIA Novosti agency published a statement by Bolshoi Theater press secretary Katerina Novikova regarding the situation around Pavel Dmitrichenko. In connection with this, I, Kirill Filatov, today, 11 March 2013, being of sound mind and firm memory, consider it necessary officially to declare the following:

I had, have and will have no connection to the "collective" and "no one doubts" mentioned in the interview. The honorable Ms. Novikova CANNOT say anything of the sort in my name inasmuch as I hold the opposite view on this point.

I also consider it necessary to add that I, being more than usually sociable, communicate with a large portion of the artistic, administrative and technical staff. I can assure you that among those with whom I have shared opinions on this situation, those who definitely believe that Pavel Dmitrichenko is party to the attack on Sergei Filin are only a handful, a far greater portion at minimum simply doubt his participation, and an even greater number completely reject the possibility of his guilt.

Yes, we may all be mistaken, however the assertion that the entire troupe supposedly does not have doubts about the guilt of Pavel Dmitrichenko is a lie.

http://filatovkirill...com/293163.html

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I think it's clumsy because she explicitly states that "no one doubts," when it appears that, for the moment at least, there are plenty of doubters.

That is the difference between a spokesperson for a particular organization, and a reporter.

Still pretty klutzy, I'd say, even considering the source. In general whenever a flack says "No one doubts" or uses similar language in a situation like this one where much is still unknown and unclear, it only serves to highlight the fact that doubters are thick on the ground.

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I have been given to understand that as a result of decades of government censorship, Russians are better at reading between the lines than we in the West are...

Indeed.

Everyone is focusing on the leaves here. There is a glaringly obvious oversight that everyone is tiptoeing around, in the press, inside the Bolshoi, and for good reason: fear. What Amy wrote above is the closest to the truth yet. Read between the lines. The answer is in front of your nose. People know who it is. People are not stating that outright bc the person in question wields so much power. Think.

There's such a thing as a pawn. The hired gun who hired another gun, who hired a third gun. The man who takes the blame. The story is as old as history.

In my view, what Dmitrichenko said/did/planned, at this point is irrelevant if the impetus was not coming from him. And that is the message that the Bolshoi press, Filin, his attorney, and numerous articles have been telling us for over a month now: Dmitrichenko was not the initial source of this. Think/look at the forest, not the leaves. It is right in front of us in every article they print.

Dancers at the Bolshoi were supposed to hold a collective meeting on Saturday about the issue -i have not had time yet to follow up and find out if that took place but I presume it did not as I've heard nothing since on that note.

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Indeed.

There's such a thing as a pawn. The hired gun who hired another gun, who hired a third gun. The man who takes the blame. The story is as old as history.

In my view, what Dmitrichenko said/did/planned, at this point is irrelevant if the impetus was not coming from him. And that is the message that the Bolshoi press, Filin, his attorney, and numerous articles have been telling us for over a month now: Dmitrichenko was not the initial source of this. Think/look at the forest, not the leaves. It is right in front of us in every article they print.

.

Dmitrichenko may well be a pawn--but what he actually did is not altogether irrelevant, especially when dancers are refusing to believe he was involved at all. His arrest did not occur, as one of them is quoted as saying, with no evidence whatsoever--there was evidence having to do with cell phone purchases, usage etc.: the kind of evidence that police departments all over the world use all the time. It's also not irrelevant in determining to what degree he is being "victimized" and to what degree he should shoulder his own share of responsibility however secondary. (Put a little differently: a pawn in this situation is not quite the same as a victim.)

That said, it's obviously crucial for the future of the theater that all the persons involved, especially those most powerful who are "behind" this crime, be exposed and, one hopes, tried for their crimes. I confess, though, that the answer is not obvious to me. I would be curious what you are thinking and why.

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Personally I have thought that Dmitrichenko seems like a pawn (not to say he has no fault or guilt) - mainly because of what Filin has said himself in believing there is more behind this, and what was posted above about him perhaps not wanting to return if this is not solved to the end; not to mention the doubts that seem to be bubbling just beneath the surface of those that work there.

Filin has said he doesn't believe Tsiskaridze is involved, so if we eliminate him from the equation, to me it leaves one person that does wield a lot of power, a person that others may fear because of his influence, a person who has those who are very loyal to him - a source of conflict when it comes to leadership within the troupe. However I may be completely misreading and misunderstanding what was posted and if so I will edit this...

It may be my own bias because I have questioned in my own mind why he has barely been brought up, when clearly the power struggles seem to revolve around him in many ways.

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Dmitrichenko may not even know who is pulling the strings. Judging by what he said in court and by what he allegedly said in police custody, each time it was Yuri Zarutsky who offered to inflict violence on Filin. Dmitrichenko complains to Zarutsky about his problems at work, Zarutsky offers to do something about it. Dmitrichenko supposedly said that he rejected outright at least two offers by Zarutsky to kill Filin. (Unless it was said in jest, if someone offered to help me solve my problems by knocking off my boss, I'd subsequently avoid that person like the plague.) In court Dmitrichenko said he did accept Zarutsky's offer to beat Filin. It is possible that someone had paid Zarutsky to goad Dmitrichenko into ordering an attack.

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Dmitrichenko may not even know who is pulling the strings. Judging by what he said in court and by what he allegedly said in police custody, each time it was Yuri Zarutsky who offered to inflict violence on Filin. Dmitrichenko complains to Zarutsky about his problems at work, Zarutsky offers to do something about it. Dmitrichenko supposedly said that he rejected outright at least two offers by Zarutsky to kill Filin. (Unless it was said in jest, if someone offered to help me solve my problems by knocking off my boss, I'd subsequently avoid that person like the plague.) In court Dmitrichenko said he did accept Zarutsky's offer to beat Filin. It is possible that someone had paid Zarutsky to goad Dmitrichenko into ordering an attack.

It's a very generous reading (and assumes Dmitrichenko is not lying about anything)--but he had already hired Zarutsky for help with "muscle" at the Dacha complex (I too will assume he is telling the truth) and, in that context, he then starts telling Zarutsky about problems at work with Filin...In Dmitrichenko's version, as reported at least, this doesn't exactly seem like a kind of quasi-entrapment. I should have thought that if Dmitrichenko's strings were/are being pulled then they were/are being pulled in more direct psychological fashion. Either way, if Dmitrichenko is a pawn (not, I underline, without responsibility) what's depressing is that the Bolshoi is a theater where this kind of plot could even be thinkable let alone succeed--and I think that speaks to exactly the issues Remnick addresses in his article. It would be less depressing if the "plot" were relatively contained with or without Dimitrichenko at the center or it.

What Remnick reports on Filin's eyesight does not sound very positive.

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...what's depressing is that the Bolshoi is a theater where this kind of plot could even be thinkable let alone succeed

That a large number of Bolshoi employees refuse to believe in Dmitrichenko's involvement suggests that for them such a thing is unthinkable.

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...what's depressing is that the Bolshoi is a theater where this kind of plot could even be thinkable let alone succeed

That a large number of Bolshoi employees refuse to believe in Dmitrichenko's involvement suggests that for them such a thing is unthinkable.

Yes, that's true. I guess I would be more cheered up by that fact if some of the ones quoted didn't also seem to think it was entirely thinkable that Dmitrichenko would hack Filin's email and have Filin's tires slashed...

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......to me it leaves one person that does wield a lot of power, a person that others may fear because of his influence, a person who has those who are very loyal to him - a source of conflict when it comes to leadership within the troupe. .....

Yes, the person for whom a very important ballet competition in Sochi is named (which he happens to chair), whose top winners rise up fairly quickly through the Bolshoi ranks, after winning said competition. The person who casts his ballets, which happen to constitute at least 50% of the repertoire of full-evening-length works. Of course, we cannot actually name him because we're all scarred stiff that our friends, family, former students, etc. now employed by the company may be hurt, so he remains "Mr. X."

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......to me it leaves one person that does wield a lot of power, a person that others may fear because of his influence, a person who has those who are very loyal to him - a source of conflict when it comes to leadership within the troupe. .....

Yes, the person for whom a very important ballet competition in Sochi is named (which he happens to chair), whose top winners rise up fairly quickly through the Bolshoi ranks, after winning said competition. The person who casts his ballets, which happen to constitute at least 50% of the repertoire of full-evening-length works. Of course, we cannot actually name him because we're all scarred stiff that our friends, family, former students, etc. now employed by the company may be hurt, so he remains "Mr. X."

Indeed.

I can't say whether he was or wasn't involved of course, but I can't say I haven't wondered about the fact he seems to be a common denominator in a lot of this. (Also, combined with what FIlin has said about there being more behind this). Perhaps I am being unfair in my assessment, time may tell.

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That Grigorovich continues to be an "issue" for the Bolshoi, sure--it's obvious; that his presence is behind a great deal of the factionalism and general ugliness of Bolshoi politics--yes, that too. That what Iksanov said of Tsiskaridze could probably just as well be said of Grigorivich--well, I could easily believe it.

The rest? Not so obvious and not even so easy to believe. Bluntly: Why would Grigorovich be interested in going after Filin in so much more vicious a way than he (or anyone else) has gone after any of Filin's predecessors -- many of whom arguably posed a bigger threat to the Grigorovich legacy than Filin did (e.g. Ratmansky and Burlaka whose work as choreographers and stagers of classics was in more obvious competition with that legacy)?

I'm not saying there isn't an answer to that question, just that it is far from being something one can make out "between the lines" and insinuating Grigorovich's involvement in this crime seems to me very problematic without more to go on than the fact a member of his "faction" has confessed. Indeed given Grigorovich's continued hold on the company it hardly seems necessary for him to have taken such extreme actions--if he is so very feared, then he obviously has less over-the-top ways to exercise his influence--unless indeed we are supposed to think that looming mortality has wrecked his judgment.

It just seems to me that without something more than general paranoia to go on, it's too big a leap ....

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there was evidence having to do with cell phone purchases, usage etc.: the kind of evidence that police departments all over the world use all the time. It's also not irrelevant in determining to what degree he is being "victimized" and to what degree he should shoulder his own share of responsibility however secondary. (Put a little differently: a pawn in this situation is not quite the same as a victim.)

That said, it's obviously crucial for the future of the theater that all the persons involved, especially those most powerful who are "behind" this crime, be exposed and, one hopes, tried for their crimes. I confess, though, that the answer is not obvious to me. I would be curious what you are thinking and why.

If the mastermind is an older person, will they be able to track back to this person using technology? I ask because many times older people are not using email, facebook or cell phones at all. I think Mr Dmitrichenko will be 'leaned' on heavily to reveal the mastermind.

That said, it's also possible that there was no further mastermind beyond Mr Dmitrichenko. The refrain "I can't believe he'd do such a thing" is pretty common after crimes as well. Sometimes people have dark sides (just read the confession section of Reddit to slip down the rabbit hole of bizarre behavior).

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How old is Grigorovich now? 86? and slowing down from what I've heard. As Filin allowed him to oversee his productions, wildly popular with the Russian public in spite of what westerners think, I don't actually see a motive.

Filin himself thinks there is more than just fall-guy Pavel D. involved in this so there may yet be more revelations to come.

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My theory:

This person has had a long history of antagonizing Bolshoi management. But in this case, he is aging, and Filin has staged his works but also made it clear he wants to aggressively expand the Bolshoi repertoire. For this person, it's about knowing which buttons to push (in tis case, seeking out a disgruntled dancer) and letting the rest play itself out.

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Iksanov is now saying that if Dmitrichenko is acquitted he will be able to keep his job at the Bolshoi. He also says that he believes Dmitrichenko when he says that he "only" intended for Filin to be beaten up. So if a judge believes that as well, does that mean Dmitrichenko will be acquitted? I don't care if Dmitrichenko is a pawn or not, he was the one who set the attack in motion. He's still guilty and deserves a harsh sentence. I find it very disturbing that the director of the Bolshoi is willing to keep someone like him on the payroll - a man who thought it okay to use violence as a way to deal with his disgruntlement with his artistic director. A man who has shown no remorse or regret or taken any responsibility for the immense suffering that has been inflicted on Filin because of his own involvement in this crime. Why isn't this enough to get him fired? Imagine you're Sergei Filin, finally coming back to work after months of surgeries and treatments, only to have to continue working with the man who paid an ex-con to have you beaten up.

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Not sure if this rather lengthy report has anything new to add:

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http://ruvr.co.uk/2013_03_12/Bolshoi-ballerinas-express-sadness-at-Filin-attack/

In the latest twist to the story, one of the men charged with an acid attack on the theatre’s artistic director claimed today that a dancer also arrested for the attack is innocent.

Yury Zarutsky, who is charged with carrying out the attack, said that the dancer accused of organising the assault, Pavel Dmitrichenko, knew nothing of his plans to use acid.

Zarutsky said the dancer had expressed a desire to have Sergei Filin beaten up, but that was all. He admitted it was his idea to ‘spoil Filin’s face,’ and that he was not paid any money for this.

The trial for all three suspects in the case is expected to start in April.

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This is a translation of an open letter by employees of the Bolshoi Theater demanding a fair investigation and trial of Pavel Dmitrichenko. It is said to have been signed by more than 300 employees. It's my own translation, so I apologize in advance for its imperfections.

To the President of the Russian Federation

To the Government of the Russian Federation

To the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia A.D. Zhukov

To members of the media

To admirers of ballet and theater in Russia and abroad

To the theater community

An Open Letter

The creative and administrative teams of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia consider it their duty to express their position on the tragic situation of the attack on the artistic director of the ballet S. Yu. Filin and the accusation of committing the crime made against ballet soloist P. Dmitrichenko.

In recent weeks and days in connection with the situation at the Bolshoi Theater, numerous statements in the media have been made discrediting the reputation of the theater, with more than two hundred years of history behind it, and those who work in it. We think the time has come for the people who have worked directly and continue to work with two outstanding artists, who meet daily with them in rehearsals and performances, and who have long-standing creative and friendly ties with them, to speak. The matter concerns the fate of two men, whose formation and career are inextricably linked with the walls of the Bolshoi; for the colleagues of Sergei Filin and Pavel Dmitrichenko to state their civic and moral position is important and fundamental.

For all those who know Pavel Dmitrichenko, even the notion that he could be inspiration and instigator of a crime committed so brutally is absurd. Knowing Pavel personally for many years, we are certain that despite the known features of his personality–vivid temperament, brusqueness and directness–he is a deeply decent man, responsive and always willing to lend a hand. His active work in the community organizations of the Bolshoi Theater is the most eloquent proof of this, and his creative achievements are also evident and cannot be doubted. It is our firm conviction that fundamental differences with Sergei Filin about his artistic and personnel policy could not go outside the bounds of the law. The conclusions of the investigation seem to us premature, the evidence – inconclusive, and the confession of Pavel himself, later changed, to be the result of brutal pressure.

Unfortunately, the history of our country and our society knows many examples where results "needed" by investigators were achieved by unfair and sometimes illegal methods, and the evidence and proof often proved to be fictitious.

We ask for a fair and impartial investigation into the tragedy that occurred to Sergei Filin, a scrupulous examination of all the circumstances and possible motives for the crime, and that all legal and judicial norms be maintained. It is not just the fate of well-known artists that are at stake, but ultimately the reputation of one of the best theaters in the world and Russian culture in general, and any verdict in this case will play a fateful role for the country.

The pitting of two artists—the artistic director and a leading soloist of the Bolshoi Ballet—against each other is in itself flawed, since until a verdict against Pavel Dmitrichenko is reached, the presumption of innocence stands; the hasty conclusions of some media, who describe him as a criminal, violates not only legal, but also moral and ethical standards.

Our support for Pavel Dmitrichenko is not a sign of indifference toward Sergei Filin, who is living through the most difficult period in his life; we wish him a speedy recovery. We hope that the real causes and circumstances of the crime will be established, and that the opinion of the staff of the Bolshoi Theatre, where the tragedy occurred, will help the public to see the situation in a much more objective light, without a media prone to sensationalism and possible pressure from judicial and executive authorities who want to put a quick end to this matter.

We appeal to the government to set up an independent commission to determine the causes that led to this tragedy.

http://www.mk.ru/cul...itrichenko.html

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Do the people who signed the letter assume that there would not be a fair investigation and trial without the letter? The Russian legal system is perplexing, to say the least.

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Do the people who signed the letter assume that there would not be a fair investigation and trial without the letter? The Russian legal system is perplexing, to say the least.

We hope that the real causes and circumstances of the crime will be established, and that the opinion of the staff of the Bolshoi Theatre, where the tragedy occurred, will help the public to see the situation in a much more objective light, without a media prone to sensationalism and possible pressure from judicial and executive authorities who want to put a quick end to this matter.

that's how the above sounded to me.

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With this call for an "independent commission," are they also saying, in effect, that they do not trust the ordinary judicial process?

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The idea that Dmitrichenko "only" arranging to have Filin beat up is not a big enough deal to have him fired is just appalling to me and if, indeed what happens is that he is found guilty but kept on at Bolshoi since that is "all" he did, I fear that guarantees that an atmosphere of lawlessness in and around the theater will persist. [Edited to add: when I wrote this I had misunderstood Iksanov's very proper remarks that if Dmitrichenko is acquitted then he can have his job back.] I realize the dancers are claiming they think Dmitrichenko may be innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever: I've yet to hear or read anything that makes it seem as if that's the case.

I agree with Jayne that dancers saying "Pavel Dmitrichenko would never do this" is not evidence one way or another: people rarely believe those they work with are capable of vicious crimes. And some of the same dancers have been quoted as more or less accepting of criminal behavior that fell short of an acid attack--slashed tires etc. I'm sure that they don't trust the judicial system and that they have reason not to do so, but that doesn't make Dmitrichenko innocent. Perhaps more will come out...

(I'm sure people remember reports of the scene in court. When a reporter yelled out to Dmitrichenko asking if he was "sorry" for what he did, he was certainly under no obligation to answer--but he did. And what did he say--"What for?" It's not the police who relayed this, but journalists.)

As far as saying (suggested above) that all Grigorivich had to do was aggravate a dancer like Dmitrichenko and let the rest take its course--for myself I don't see that as necessarily anything more than the kind of thing Tsiskaridze has been said to have done. Even if I believed this is what happened or could have happened -- I would say it's ugly and worthy of criticism, but it's not a crime.

I understand that the point that concerns many is that Dmitrichenko may not be a big villain, but may be just a bit player. Fair enough: but if that turns out to be the case--he would still be a bit player in a big crime and, to my mind, with very little apparent excuse. Of course, it's essential for the good of the Bolshoi (and ... uh... the rule of law) that the entire truth be uncovered. Though I'm not sure it will be and not sure that even if it is, it will become public record.

Regarding Tsiskaridze: given yet another opportunity to say something halfway human about Filin by David Remnick (as quoted in New Yorker article) he volunteered that he doesn't care what happened to Filin, and repeated his litany of complaints -- justified or otherwise. Are we to admire his lack of hypocrisy? For that matter, he wants to direct a major theater with super-fraught politics and yet can't even come up with something neutral to say like "Such crimes are always terrible."

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Apologies for supplemental post but just saw Miriam Elder's piece in Guardian which I did not see mentioned in this most recent part of discussion. In it she quotes Filin saying to Russian television on Tuesday that "Every time, every moment, every meeting with Pavel Dmitrichenko was, for me, yet another threat, yet another demonstration of hostility."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/12/bolshoi-acid-attack-members-support-dancer

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