volcanohunter

Dmitrichenko, Zarutsky, Lipatov Trial

121 posts in this topic

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.

Sounds like the book Manon.

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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?

It's his moral and fiduciary responsibility to the dancers in his position as a union rep to report coercive activity. If he didn't want to be in that position, he shouldn't have taken the position.

To bring back the timeline, he claimed to have contracted a beating back in the Fall, months before he went to theater authorities with his complaints and was told to make a detailed report. He claimed to have had second thoughts and hoped that the entire thing was forgotten. He claimed to have been contacted about pursuing the attack months later, and at the least, feared not paying his contracted thug. He sat in a car staking out Filin and reported when Filin left the theater, participating directly, which led to the attack.

He did not contract the attack because he feared "risk[ing] life and limb of himself and his family to report something and not fear retribution for blowing the whistle on those in power." He contracted the attack and after he was recontacted about the attack, he then went to higher ups with his complaints and allegations and was told to make his case. Did you expect them to say, "Oh, yes, we believe you without proof, and we will act without proof"?

Or would he have been better off to enter into negotiations in a powerful position, without going to the police?

He wasn't asked to go to the police. He was asked to submit an official report as a union official to the theater authorities and to use the existing process.

He's on the same side as Tsiskaridze, and Tsiskaridze has powerful protectors, as we continue to see in the press reports. Had Dmitrichenko not contracted a thug to attack Filin, there would have been a reasonable chance that Tsiskaridze's friends in high places could have used any evidence to sack Filin. I would say he made a stupid choice.

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.

Joy Womack's situation is very different than Dmitrichenko's: Dmitrichenko is in jail for arranging for a physical attack on Filin, the prosecutor is attempting to hold him responsible for the outcome of the attack because it wouldn't have happened without his initiation, and Filin is trying to hold him responsible for the suffering and loss of eyesight through monetary compensation.

Womack has done nothing illegal and isn't being held by the police. Were she to go, the police could shelf it, they could ignore it, they could say that there's not enough evidence, or they could take the "misunderstanding" route that Urin took. she'd be asked to make a formal statement, and, if there would be a case, she'd be asked to testify. There are enough people in high places that would love for her to give evidence, and if what she says is true, and she had proof, I'm sure there are plenty of Russian dancers who would be happy for her to take charge. As an outsider, she can have a career anywhere in the world, and she wouldn't be leaving her family in Russia.

I don't know if she has any obligation to report wrong-doing -- in some places, she'd be obligated if she saw an illegal act, but know one would have known had she kept what she had seen to herself and not spoken to the press -- but the theater has every right to say, "You have a problem, go to the authorities, and we will back you in every way. Otherwise, don't think that you can sling mud in the press and expect to walk away and have us sit back and do nothing." It was very astute of Urin to posit it this way.

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

And that is Dmitrichenko's reality. You state earlier that going to the authorities to report the corrupt would put his life and that of his family in danger. What would you expect the outcome to be if he claims police brutality and that the Chief of Police is lying through his teeth?

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

And that is Dmitrichenko's reality. You state earlier that going to the authorities to report the corrupt would put his life and that of his family in danger. What would you expect the outcome to be if he claims police brutality and that the Chief of Police is lying through his teeth?

So how does one deal with an untrue or illegally derived confession?

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Why would you assume anyone would be safe simply by leaving Russia, if she is complaining about unsavory situations in Russia and they want to silence her? I always laugh when I watch TV and people are advised to get out of town, as if they would be safe because the person who wants to harm or get rid of them can't harm them in another place. Similarly, didn't a Russian die of radioactive poisoning in London in the last decade?

As I said earlier, the theatre can respond without "sling[ing] mud" itself, by investigating (or appearing to be investigating), instituting reforms (if necessary or positive), eliminating wrongdoers (or the worst forms of wrongdoing, after providing due process), instituting protections, paying its dancers (the amounts promised, as well as a fair wage), all without making up lies or stories about her.

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I thought Volcanohunter had stated that he was asked to make a report the day before the acid attack, but you are saying it was months before. Was this from press reports of evidence presented in trial?

Are you suggesting that he Tsiskaridze knew of this evidence or had any relationship to the person hired? Is that what Iksanov was suggesting when he blamed Tsiskaridze in the press?

When you say he had a duty to report the activity, are you saying to the police or the theatre? People routinely make threats (veiled or not) in negotiations, so I have a hard time believing that he had a "duty" to report to either. His duty was to pursue the best interests of the dancers, which could have taken a number of forms, under the circumstances, which may or may not have included reporting any coercive activity. For example, if one side makes a show of force, the other side may counter with its own show of force.

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Please link to any evidence that the theater has made up anything about her.

Womack was the one who went to the press, and so far the press has reported her allegations. The theater responded to her allegations, acknowledging that they had screwed up her contracts due to inexperience, and told her to go to the authorities, with whom they'd cooperate, with her complaints. It was a brilliant move, and they've washed their hands of her and dismissed her as "not our kind." It's not as if America or Americans are terribly popular in Russia or that she'd be considered credible in Russia. It would be a good angle for a career in the West, though, especially if the article which says repeatedly that she was fired is true.

There's no evidence that she's remotely important enough for anyone to retaliate against her. I'm sure they could have black-balled her informally, or if they were that influential and vicious, they could have pulled strings to have her work permit messed with and her citizenship application to be in a bureaucratic tangle indefinitely. As it is, official news is that she's been hired into the Kremlin State Ballet, which she neither confirms or denies.

If she were leaving, as an American she'd be versed in the PC "I want to dance with a smaller company where I'll have the opportunity to grow," if she feared retaliation, rather than making allegations that would put her in danger. She's hardly important enough to merit a physical attack: she's a blip in their history, and acid attacks and beatings aren't the administration's mo. This isn't a John le Carre novel.

Whether this impacts the hireability of other American students in the school who aren't as disillusioned will be seen.

Yes, Dmitrichenko was asked to make a report the day before. He did not resort to a physical attack on Filin because he was afraid of going to the authorities as you wrote. . Not taking the legal option because of fear was not a factor in taking the illegal one, because the ilegal one was contracted months before and re-confirmed efore his meeting with the theater official where he made his accusations.

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I am curious about the sentiment that Joy Womack was treated badly in part because she was American or not Russian. That may well be the case but three years ago, the Bolshoi held auditions and issued invitations after the dancer sent the requested information. I don't know how many nationalities or Americans were invited. I seem to remember hearing at the time that Filin was trying to open up the company and become more international. Maybe the company wasn't ready, maybe the leadership wasn't ready but Filin did hold those "open" auditions.

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Filin did want to open up the company: he was instrumental in getting Hallberg hired. There was a lot of controversy and resentment about this, especially when he was given the "Sleeping Beauty" HD.

However, there's a difference between hiring someone for their differences -- open audition dancers would, by virtue of their training, be different -- and hiring someone who had been to the school, where they'd have been considered sub-standard upon arrival. Even if they caught up, first impressions are hard to dismiss, especially when that dancer takes a precious spot. I think Womack was between a rock and a hard place in that respect: neither a fresh, incoming Westerner with different training or authentically Russian.

It may be easier for the American boys who started before adolescence, since there were likely Russian boys who started later, too, and by the end of 6-8 years, their dancing would be indistinguishable from their peers.

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Ismene Brown has two blog entries: the first reported that Iksanov did not appear in court because he never received a summons to go to court, and he thinks reports that he was nowhere to be found, when he was in fact at home, were meant to discredit him.

The second is about Iksanov's testimony in court, where he backtracked from earlier statements he made about Dmitrichenko and Filin's relationship, claiming second-hand knowledge. His earlier statements were read in court as a response.

Iksanov also directly denied Dmitrichenko's claims about threatening staff and extorting money.

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According to Ismene Brown's blog entry with commentary and a translation of an article in ITAR-TASS, noticeably not Izvetsia, senior coach Maria Kondratieva and group of dancers want to testify to rebut Tsiskaridze's characterization of Filin on behalf of themselves and other Bolshoi dancers. The group includes Obraztsova, Smirnova, Rebetskaya, Lantratov, Ovcharenko, and Medvedev.

http://www.ismeneb.com/Blog/Entries/2013/11/26_Bolshoi_teachers%2C_dancers_demand_to_refute_Tsiskaridze_in_court.html

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According to Ismene Brown's blog entry with commentary and a translation of an article in ITAR-TASS, noticeably not Izvetsia, senior coach Maria Kondratieva and group of dancers want to testify to rebut Tsiskaridze's characterization of Filin on behalf of themselves and other Bolshoi dancers. The group includes Obraztsova, Smirnova, Rebetskaya, Lantratov, Ovcharenko, and Medvedev.

http://www.ismeneb.com/Blog/Entries/2013/11/26_Bolshoi_teachers%2C_dancers_demand_to_refute_Tsiskaridze_in_court.html

http://www.ismeneb.com/Blog/Entries/2013/11/26_Bolshoi_dancers%2C_teachers_demand_to_rebut_Tsiskaridze_in_court.html

Helene's link didn't work for me. I am posting a slight modified link above. Perhaps the blog changed its link afterward.

Mods, if desired, please feel free to update Helene's link and delete my post.

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Olga Smirnova is already on the list of witnesses scheduled to appear. Initially the prosecutor had asked the court to accept her written testimony since she and half the troupe were in Singapore last week performing Swan Lake, but Dmitrichenko insisted that she appear in person, and the judge denied the prosecution's motion.

The prosecutor asked the judge to allow the testimony of Bolshoi Theater leading soloist Olga Smirnova to be read aloud, because "she cannot personally appear in court due to being on tour in Singapore from November 17 to 26."

Lawyers for the victim said they supported the petition because "the law allows for the reading of testimony of witnesses who are traveling."

Dmitrichenko protested against the initiative, noting that Smirnova is "a witness to the events of January 17, having spent the evening with Sergei Filin."

The leading soloist was supported by defense lawyers, who noted that Article 281 of the Criminal-Procedural Code of the Russian Federation contains an exhaustive list of circumstances under which testimony may be read aloud. But Olga Smirnova is "on a business trip, alive and well, and will arrive soon."

Judge Maksimova ultimately rejected the prosecutor's motion.

http://izvestia.ru/news/561004

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There seems to be a difference between witnesses brought forth by Filin's lawyers and the prosecutor. Smirnova was being summoned by the prosecutor, and I wonder if she has to be listed as Filin's witness to be able to testify to Filin's character, due to the monetary damage part of the trial.

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The prosecutors and Filin's attorneys appeared to agree on the Smirnova motion. Neither side seemed to want her there in person. But the court decided she must appear, so she will be able to use the occasion to rebut Tsiskaridze's testimony, as well as to relate what she knows of the events of January 17. She will also have to answer Dmitrichenko's inevitable questions about how often Filin used to drive her home at night.

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Forgive me if this question has been addressed elsewhere in related threads. But my question is this, why was it considered okay for Bolshoi Ballet dancers to not attend regular class? In the links above, Dmitrichenko rebelled against Filin making class attendance a must. For those who do not attend, Mr. Filin wished to impose fines. Dmitrichenko was particularly incensed about this rule. I thought major companies such as NYCB and others all have stipulations about class attendance, mandatory and what is excusable, spelled out in contracts. I am very surprised that a company like the Bolshoi did not have such requirement. If dancers there were used to such laxity, no wonder many supported Mr. Dmitrichenko fighting for their so-called rights.

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When you look at that youtube video of Christopher Wheeldon choreographing at the Bolshoi, and the "excuses" that Tsiskaridze came up with to miss choreography sessions (the choreo was making him unwell) then you can begin to understand Filin's predicament.

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I would not make generalizatons based on Tsiskaridze's behavior. What is pretty obvious from that documentary is that the other dancers in the production did not act that way.

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Per the Ismene Brown article:

Tsiskaridze also commented that Filin 'would do anything for publicity'

jawdrop.gif

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Dancers weren't contractually required to go to Company Class in Balanchine's time. However, he mostly made decisions about dancers when they were right in front of them, even going so far as to have an optional Monday class on the dancers' day off for a while that was legendary to those who went. (Farrell and Ashley wrote about it in their books.) It was not considered a career move to skip class when Balanchine gave it.

Villella and some of the dancers when they were older wrote that they could no longer do Balanchine's class physically later in their careers and stopped taking class. Villella's description in "Prodigal Son" of having to crawl into the bathroom to soak in the bathtub and then having a very long massage in the morning so he could stand upright and walk was frightening.

Stephen Manes wrote in "Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear" that there were classes that were essentially auditions for stagers and choreographers. These weren't announced, and dancers lost and gained parts by the impression they made, sometimes unknowingly.

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