volcanohunter

Dmitrichenko, Zarutsky, Lipatov Trial

121 posts in this topic

We got a glimpse of the dysfunctional Russian court system during the Pussy Riot Trial last year. Here's a Russian columnist from the NY Times describing the shameful system (and there is extensive documentation elsewhere of the Russian court system). I can't imagine it's gotten any better in the last year:

http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/theshame-of-putins-courts/

Regarding the condition of and treatment in the penal system, see the open letter regarding the Pussy Riot hunger strike.

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Update on Day 5 of the trial in Ismene Brown's blog:

http://ismeneb.com/Blog/Entries/2013/11/13_Trial_day_5__accuseds_pal_says_police_beat_him_into_confession.html

Witnesses of the day were: Filin associate Dilmara Timergazina, who did not take kindly to the accusation that her daughter-in-law, Olga Smirnova, was sleeping with Filin for parts, Vlademire Ageyev, the car park security guard who first encountered Filin after the attack, Filin's building concierge Antonina Proshkina, and Dmitrichenko friend Batyr Annadurdyev, whose testimony and written statements were not always consistent and who seemed to have difficulty testifying [as if he were an articulate actor in a TV script].

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This is all pretty riveting, and also depressing.

Thank you very much for all those reporting on this here.

-d-

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What relevance does it have to the case to what extent Filin has lost, regained, or will regain his eyesight? The fact that acid was thrown in his face is documented by medical and surgical photos that are available online. In my view, legally speaking, and not legally speaking, it bears no relevance how severe the damage is or was, then or now -- because there IS damage and acid WAS thrown. And it was ordered thrown by someone other than Dmitrichenko. Those are facts. I don't understand the focus (in the courtroom) on that or the focus on whether or not Filin was carrying on a casting couch situation. Unless that is going to determine the amount (in monetary funds) of compensation for his suffering. Other than that I think that line of questioning by the courts/attorneys is a bit irrelevant. Or is that just me?

Secondarily, as a journalist, I can tell you that the coverage in certain US papers is decidedly slanted against or for certain pieces of news. As a journalist I've personally been asked by US national papers to find more "dirt" on someone when there was no dirt to be found (and when the someone in question was Russian). I just say that to suggest we should take with a grain of salt whatever is in print by a national paper (US or otherwise). Look at the source and look at what their typical political views are in most articles on said topic, and then seek out a paper with the opposite views and you will likely find the facts in order to piece together the story.

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Nothing justifies throwing acid in Sergei Filin's face or causing him pain and suffering. From a legal standpoint, I can think of a range of reasons why a trial might involve different types of testimony and evidence on the issues you raise.

The degree of injury could be relevant for a number of reasons. If one needs multiple operations and continuing care, that could cost more money and require payment to cover larger medical costs, cause a longer period of time out of work with more lost wages, and generate greater pain and suffering. In criminal cases, the degree of injury may affect the degree of a crime. By analogy, one could commit petit larceny or grand larceny, depending on the amount in question.

I don't understand the discussion of dancers demanding the right to solo roles in a number of different scenarios discussed here. I thought the prosecutor or the press had raised it, to show a motive for animosity toward Sergei Filin. However, it seemed tenuous, unless they are suggesting a Nancy Kerrigan type situation. If you are asking why the defense would raise it, emotional distress could affect the degree of a crime in America. If one were to demand sexual favors from a man's wife or girlfriend, I can imagine the husband/boyfriend taking serious offense or wanting to protect his girlfriend and responding physically. The defendant's emotional state would be at issue, and he would need to show why.

I can imagine a number of reasons why one would inquire into Sergei Filin's theatre management and labor negotiation activities. I will pose a few hypotheticals. If someone in negotiations at the theatre with a labor leader, hypothetically, threatened a union leader, or his girlfriend or family, and law enforcement is not a reliable source of protection for political or economic/corruption reasons, then one could imagine the union leader asking for protection for himself or his girlfriend from a thug, to give an appearance that one is not to be further threatened, not knowing or intending that the thug would harm anyone or throw concentrated battery acid in his face. Alternatively, one could imagine the thug might have wanted something from the theatre or its head or its affiliates, and approached the union leader as a way to have an excuse to approach the theatre head. As another alternative, the thug may even have used the name of the union leader or his girlfriend as a way to get himself to the head of the theatre, wholly unbeknownst to the union leader or his girlfriend. Under another scenario, one could imagine the union head being introduced to the thug and saying he was scared for his girlfriend, and asking what to do, and then the thug offering to talk to someone, or do something else, and being rejected. The thug could have proceeded on his own, intending maybe to demand payment for his services thereafter, or attain the benefit of access to the theatre head, regardless. These all could affect questions of proof of the defendant's mental intent or involvement in any action.

One can imagine a range of similar scenarios. However, I raise them to address the issue of relevance to a trial. Even the prosecution is asking why, and trying to show intent, as well as knowledge and participation in various actions. The defense is trying to show a lack of intent, and even lack of knowledge of or involvement in the wrongful action, and why.

I can also imagine a lawyer would try to introduce such evidence to counter evidence of the prosecution. For example, imagine a golden child is injured. The personal injury attorney or criminal prosecutor will appeal to the jury to see the wrongdoer as evil incarnate, harming a defenseless, perfect, beautiful, innocent child. This would consciously and subconsciously lead to a greater monetary award or harsher criminal sentence. However, if the defense attorney shows or insinuates that the victim is not pure, and maybe even provoked a response or left the defendant with no reasonable alternative but to fight, then the jury could consciously and subconsciously be influenced to modify the harsh view of the accused.

Again, I don't know how rules of evidence operate in Russia.

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This is not a jury trial: it is a trial before a judge. To think that a valid defense to the representative of the system is "The system couldn't defend me against the corruption of the theater head, therefore I arranged an illegal attack on him, even though I never went to the police with a stack of evidence against him" does not sound plausible to me.

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What has never made sense to me is Dmitrichenko taking his stack of evidence to the administration of the Bolshoi Theater on January 16, the day before the attack.

I don't understand the discussion of dancers demanding the right to solo roles in a number of different scenarios discussed here. I thought the prosecutor or the press had raised it, to show a motive for animosity toward Sergei Filin. However, it seemed tenuous, unless they are suggesting a Nancy Kerrigan type situation. If you are asking why the defense would raise it, emotional distress could affect the degree of a crime in America. If one were to demand sexual favors from a man's wife or girlfriend, I can imagine the husband/boyfriend taking serious offense or wanting to protect his girlfriend and responding physically. The defendant's emotional state would be at issue, and he would need to show why.

These issues feature in the police report that is part of the official case. In it the police was theorizing on motives for the attack and its possible perpetrators.

If anyone finds this aspect of the case distasteful, please skip over the remainder of this post.

Dmitrichenko, Tsiskaridze and Pronin may be involved in committing this crime; in addition, there have been complaints against Filin made by Anzhelina Vorontsova and Annadurdyev. In addition, the victim Filin had intimate relations with Malandina, Natalia Alexandrovna, who was fired at the initiative of the victim as a result of a conflict that arose, as well as with Vinogradova, Maria Viktorovna, and Smirnova, Olga Vyacheslavovna. Conflicts also arose between Filin and [Anton] Getman in the course of their professional activities. Currently Prorvich, Maria Alexandrovna, lives with Filin.

http://izvestia.ru/news/560219

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Izvestia is pro-Tsiskaridze, and therefore anti-Filin, so take into account the source of who's "producing" the news.

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That's obvious enough, but I would hope that when court documents or testimony are quoted, they are reproduced accurately.

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That's obvious enough, but I would hope that when court documents or testimony are quoted, they are reproduced accurately.

Me too. I don't know if they are - I suppose only the courts and those with access to them will know for sure.

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That's obvious enough, but I would hope that when court documents or testimony are quoted, they are reproduced accurately.

Me too. I don't know if they are - I suppose only the courts and those with access to them will know for sure.

Dear volcanohunter, I would like to share your hope but I doubt that we will see the perfect trustworthy report of the court hearing.

Agree with the last statement. I noticed that even in the lawyer's personal report online there were omissions of some important information pieces, which popped up in the newpaper reports later. To be fair to the lawyer he admitted himself that he was “short of words to make at least some sort of evaluation of what we hear”.

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This is not a jury trial: it is a trial before a judge. To think that a valid defense to the representative of the system is "The system couldn't defend me against the corruption of the theater head, therefore I arranged an illegal attack on him, even though I never went to the police with a stack of evidence against him" does not sound plausible to me.

I don't recall reading that he went to or said that he intended to or did go to law enforcement with evidence about the corruption in the theater. To whom, if anyone, did he present the "stack of evidence" that you describe, on Jan. 16, as someone above mentions? Does any article indicate what it contained? Does law enforcement have those "stacks of evidence"? Have they been used at the trial?

I don't know the hierarchies, methods, or rules regarding labor negotiations, but I thought he represented dancers in negotiations. Applying the question of "stacks of evidence" to the above hypotheticals, one can think of a range of ways to use stacks of evidence or involve thugs that do not involve going to law enforcement. Maybe he planned to or did use the evidence in negotiations, or someone else did.

For example, maybe he said, "Here is a problem, here is evidence of it, how can we address it?" Or maybe he said, "Here is a problem to address, here is evidence of it, don't think you can threaten me not to use this evidence or raise this issue, because I have people on my side to protect me." Or maybe he said, "Here is evidence of something bad, I will use it against you or beat you up unless you agree to fix it." (This would assume he did not know of or intend the acid throwing, but rather, something more mild or escalating, as negotiations ensued.) Those are all different ways he could have used the evidence that did not involve law enforcement.

Or maybe the person he talked to about the stack of evidence used it without his knowledge. Maybe the person who threw the acid wanted to get Filin out of the way, so someone more vulnerable or amenable would be frightened, bribed, or extorted, based upon the stack of evidence, to change things in exchange for payment or favors. Maybe Filin was going to address the problems so someone wanted to get him out of the way, and the stacks of evidence would be buried, and things would stay the same.

And then Pavel would be blamed for being a vindictive hot-head with an egotistical girlfriend who wanted a solo role, which would be a convenient, albeit not entirely logical or plausible, excuse.

Or maybe he kept the stacks of evidence as backup so something bad would not happen to him, or if something bad were to happen to him, then no one innocent would be blamed or framed for it.

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Those scenarios would make interesting made-for-TV movies, but none of this has been posited in court where Dmitrichenko faces a long prison sentence if convicted, where the odds are stacked against him, and where if any of this was true, it might be in his interest to disclose them as to his state of mind; however as I wrote in the part you quoted, it rarely works to go to the authorities to argue that the authorities are useless and/or corrupt. They usually don't take that too kindly.

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I don't recall reading that he went to or said that he intended to or did go to law enforcement with evidence about the corruption in the theater. To whom, if anyone, did he present the "stack of evidence" that you describe, on Jan. 16, as someone above mentions? Does any article indicate what it contained? Does law enforcement have those "stacks of evidence"? Have they been used at the trial?

I'm finding it a little difficult to retrieve articles going back to March, but among the reports about Dmitrichenko's interrogations, which were being leaked right, left and center, there was information that he had taken his concerns about Filin's alleged financial wrongdoing to Oleg Miskovets, a deputy general director of the Bolshoi Theater, on January 16, and the latter asked him to prepare a detailed report, but the investigation never went any further because of the attack, which took place the following day.

http://izvestia.ru/news/546345

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Izvestsia reported this?

" In addition, the victim Filin had intimate relations with Malandina, Natalia Alexandrovna, who was fired at the initiative of the victim as a result of a conflict that arose, as well as with Vinogradova, Maria Viktorovna, and Smirnova, Olga Vyacheslavovna.Conflicts also arose between Filin and [Anton] Getman in the course of their professional activities. Currently Prorvich, Maria Alexandrovna, lives with Filin."

Is there basis for these slurs? Have the ladies in question come forward? Commented at all on these things? I see that Catherine says Isvestia is on Tsiskaridze's side and implies that these charges are false as well as scandalous -- but Catherine, do you KNOW they are false? If they are not false, is there any evidence that they were consensual? American standards of power-playing, in paticular of sexual harrassment, obsess us all of course, but they are far from universal -- and they are almost the opposite of what one would expect in a hierarchical society, but the potential for scandal -- and for using such material as red herrings.

And it's also the case that of course dancers form relationship with other dancers -- nobody else knows what they go through, and another dancer will be able to "get it" [as the City Ballet show has made clear] -- whether or not there's angling for advancement, there's a serious need for companionship.

What a great soap opera! "Who can you trust?"

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The quote comes from a police report that was read aloud, at the request of Dmitrichenko, in court on the day Filin testified. Since we don't have access to transcripts of the police interviews, we don't know on what basis they reached these conclusions. The report speculates on three possible suspects or, perhaps, "persons of interest," so presumably it predates Dmitrichenko's arrest by some time. I expect that in the event of an attack, it would be usual to investigate any professional, financial or personal elements in the victim's life that might have factored into the crime.

We don't have access to the exact text of the police report either, so we're relying on the reporters who were in court to record the text. Words to that effect were also reported in other sources, though with less precision. Nearly all reports picked up on Smirnova's name. The LA Times also mentioned Malandina, though it spelled her name incorrectly, and a Maria Alexandrovna, which presumably refers to Filin's wife.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-sergei-filin-bolshoi-20131106,0,5574978,full.story#axzz2kyEpq8Qv So it's safe to say that a text to that effect was read aloud in court, though we're relying on the shorthand skills of the reporters for the details.

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Since the reference to Maria Alexandrovna was reported in the LA Times the day that Filin denied sleeping with any of the women except his wife, whom he also testified he never promoted, it's possible that he report was of Filin referring to to his own wife formally (with her patronymic). All of the other names use the last name, not the patronymic.

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The police report also refers to Filin's wife by surname, name and patronymic, so the LA Times reporter may have been rushing to record the text, but didn't catch her surname, which is fairly unusual. Recent research, on the other hand, has shown that Smirnov is the most common surname in Russia (somewhat to the surprise of researchers themselves, who expected it would be Ivanov), so no Russian reporter would have difficulty remembering it.

(In case anyone is wondering, the winning surnames are 1. Smirnov, 2. Ivanov, 3. Kuznetsov, 4. Popov, 5. Sokolov, 6. Lebedev, 7. Kozlov, 8. Novikov, 9. Morozov, 10. Petrov.)

http://genofond.ru/default2.aspx?s=0&p=362

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 08:59 AM

This is not a jury trial: it is a trial before a judge. To think that a valid defense to the representative of the system is "The system couldn't defend me against the corruption of the theater head, therefore I arranged an illegal attack on him, even though I never went to the police with a stack of evidence against him" does not sound plausible to me.

17 Nov 2013- 12:35 PM said:

Those scenarios would make interesting made-for-TV movies, but none of this has been posited in court where Dmitrichenko faces a long prison sentence if convicted, where the odds are stacked against him, and where if any of this was true, it might be in his interest to disclose them as to his state of mind; however as I wrote in the part you quoted, it rarely works to go to the authorities to argue that the authorities are useless and/or corrupt. They usually don't take that too kindly.

I don't recall reading that Pavel said the prosecution or the court (i.e., the judge) were corrupt. Did he? I read on these boards about a "99% percent conviction rate", and the "odds [being] stacked against him," which gives rise to certain inevitable questions about fairness, but I don't remember Pavel commenting on issues related to presenting his case in court (or rather, of any such issues being discussed on these boards).

I recall reading that Pavel said that (a) he was beaten into a partial confession and (b) he was attacked after entering prison by masked guards. I also recall reading that another alleged attacker was stating that he was threatened by police. Those are factors I would assume anyone would raise in his defense. How could he not, even if might offend the prosecution or make it defensive?

As far as the issue of alleged corruption in the rebuilding of the Bolshoi, the admitted claquers, the influence of politics and oligarchs, the fighting for roles, the rich patrons and favors - that has been discussed on these boards, and in the press, but has Pavel raised it in the trial? As Volcanohunter stated, Pavel was asked to write a report to the management by management about certain (unidentified?) issues, but that is not an accusation against the court. I can see how those who might have thought they would be identified in a report, or in court, would not be happy, though, Helene.

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How could he not? So far, according to all reports coming from the court, he has not and his lawyer has not (to my knowledge), and it is now the prosecutor's turn to make the state's case.

No matter how the odds are stacked against him, arguing to the state that he had to hire a thug for an illegal attack on another person -- a beating being illegal, however technically or winked at -- instead of following through by official means (the report he was supposed to write and present) because legal recourse does not work usually doesn't result in a positive outcome, even when the judiciary is so supportive of the state.

Edited to add: this link from Ismene Brown's blog with summary and translation of day 7 of the trial featured the Chief of Police refuting Annadurdyev's assertion that the witness was intimated by police into claiming he had heard Dmitrichenko's end of a cell phone conversation [in which Dmitrichenko reported that Filin had just left the gala early].

http://www.ismeneb.com/Blog/Entries/2013/11/18_Trial_day_7__elusive_Iksanov_to_be_compelled_to_testify.html

I don't think it's a stretch to assume that the judge would take the Chief of Police's word over Annadurdyev's, especially since Annadurdyev was not described as a good witness by any press reports we've seen.

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No matter how the odds are stacked against him, arguing to the state that he had to hire a thug for an illegal attack on another person -- a beating being illegal, however technically or winked at -- instead of following through by official means (the report he was supposed to write and present) because legal recourse does not work usually doesn't result in a positive outcome, even when the judiciary is so supportive of the state.

Do you mean he should have risked life and limb of himself and his family to report something and not fear retribution for blowing the whistle on those in power? Or would he have been better off to enter into negotiations in a powerful position, without going to the police?

I think everyone who says, e.g., Joy Womack should go to the police are very brave from the sidelines, but they have no consideration of the consequences she and her family will face.

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How often do police admit to misconduct? I would estimate close to never.

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How could he not? So far, according to all reports coming from the court, he has not and his lawyer has not (to my knowledge), and it is now the prosecutor's turn to make the state's case.

Has he reaffirmed the confession in court? If he does not, then he will be asked why. And if he is asked why, he would have to say, because he was coerced, or it is an inaccurate transcript, or ?

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How often do police admit to misconduct? I would estimate close to never.

I watch much Russian TV and the number of Russian series and movies that show police corruption are shocking and it is not possible that so many Russian shows and movies depict police corruption, if not true. I have many Russian friends and they say police corruption is everywhere. Watching Russian TV, what is most shocking is that smaller towns are ruled by the wealthiest person in the town, who pays off police and tells police who to arrest, but creating fictitious information. I recently saw on USA TV, a documentary on Russian prisons and many of the prisoners described that they were totally innocent and the police made up false charges or someone framed them. There are so many Russian shows describing innocent Russians arrested because someone more important than them, disliked them or did something wrong and found a way of falsifying information to get another person arrested instead of them. The latter is just a loophole in Russian crimes and not necessarily police corruption, but often is.

One common aspect shown in too many shows, particularly in the big cities, is what I call the wealthy Russian's private swat team. There are too many shows which depict Russia's main business competition practice as being murder of the competition. Wealthy Russians are followed around by body guards to protect them from getting killed by business competitors. Usually the richer men pay off police. There are too many shows that show a swat team with masks and machine guns that come to a competitors home or estate and kill all the body guards and all servants and all family members.

Even Gergiev, while in Russia, walks around with two body guards. Putin, walks around with an army of body guards.

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Putin, like Obama, like any head of state, should have body guards... Gergiev? I don't think Peter Martins requires bodyguards...

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