MOSCOW, March 6 - RAPSI. RAPSI is live on the scene as Moscow's Tagansky District Court is expected to issue a decision today on the detention of Bolshoi Theater leading soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko and two suspected accomplices in connection with the brutal acid attack that left Bolshoi Artistic Director Sergei Filin with third degree burns to his face and eyes.
15:11 Well that's all for today. Stay tuned into RAPSI for anything and everything related to the ballet trial of the century! Thanks for joining us. Enjoy your weekend!
15:07 So, yeah. Long story short: everyone will remain in custody, at least until preliminary investigation wraps on April 18. Lipatov and Zarutsky will appeal, and apparently Dmitrichenko will not. They have three working days to submit their appeals.
14:58 Finding that Lipatov could escape and commit crimes given the chance, the court has decided he will stay in jail, at least until the preliminary investigation wraps on April 18.
14:57 Lipatov has returned to the courtroom. We're in the home stretch!
14:54 Prosecutors have returned to the courtroom. It's freezing in here. They opened all the windows earlier when the room was packed to the brim. Since Dmitrichenko's ruling, things have calmed down and the open windows are making us feel bad for gloating earlier about the beautiful Moscow weather.
14:43 We are still waiting for an answer. After today's proceedings all of the defendants will have to go with their attorneys to get arraigned by the investigative team.
14:33 Lipatov's attorneys are already so outraged by the propsect of a detention order that they're already planning to appeal in case it goes that way for him.
14:32 “If he’s lucky, and we’re unlucky, they’ll let him go,” reflects one of the more cynical journalists among the bunch still waiting in the courtroom.
14:27 For your viewing pleasure as the judge deliberates, how about a really awesome performance by the ballet company at the center of the drama? Enjoy!
14:25 After his attorneys said that he didn't commit any crime so he has no reason to hide, the judge departed to deliberate.
14:22 Along these same lines, the attorney argues that Lipatov never confessed to a crime, as such.
14:20 Lipatov's attorney argues that his client was merely a witness in his capacity as the driver, and that it's unjust to keep him locked up.
14:16 Lipatov, on the other hand, thinks detention is a bad idea, since he was "just the driver."
14:14 Investigators advance the theory that he could be a flight risk. The prosecutors aren't presenting, but they agree that detention is a good idea.
14:10 Lipatov lives in the suburbs of Moscow and is a single father.
14:05 Proceedings are now underway for Lipatov, the accused driver.
14:00 Zaruktsky and his attorneys are still undecided about whether to appeal the order. They have three working days to make up their minds.
13:52 Zarkutsky has remained eerily silent this whole time. The court has called another recess before the start of the suspected driver Lipatov's hearing.
13:48 Yes, in fact Zarutsky will join Dmitrichenko in custody, at least until April 18.
13:46 It looks like they're getting ready to announce the ruling.
13:41 The judges have been consulting on his arrest for the past ten minutes. Let's hope this one goes a bit quicker than the Dmitrichenko deliberation.
13:31 Zarutsky is not impressed.
13:30 The prosecution has requested Zarutsky's arrest. The whole thing read word for word pretty much exactly like Dmitrichenko's.
13:19 The defense reminds, in its turn, that Zarutsky has pleaded guilty and there is no evidence supporting the allegations he might flee.
13:15 Zarutsky, one of the suspects in Bolshoi acid attack case, has already a criminal record. He was convicted and sentenced over a robbery assault. The prosecutor insists on Zarutsky's further detention telling the judge he is a flight risk.
13:13 Zarutsky is next to take the stand. He is being asked about who planned the attack. No answer.
13:09 Some of the reporters have left the courtroom, there is a mess in the hallway.
13:05 The court chairman is now asking all the journalists to leave so room can be made for some of the other journalists that are still outside waiting to get in. We don't know what their whining about. -2c and sunny in Moscow? Unheard of. They should be enjoying it out there.
12:58 Dmitrichenko and his attorney have agreed not to appeal the detention order.
12:53 Finding that suspicions were justified, and that relations between the dancer and Filin were hostile, the court ordered that he remain in detention, at least until preliminary investigations wrap on April 18. Thus his request for bail was rejected.
12:52 And we're back in action. Dmitrichenko has been ordered to remain in detention.
12:50 Dmitrichenko has returned to the courtroom, raving about corruption at the Bolshoi.
12:43 Dmitrichenko refused a lie detector test, by the way. His lawyer says his refusal was based on the massive media attention surrounding the incident.
12:24 Andrei Bolotin, another colleague of Dmitrichenko, said that he was sure the confession was forced. A widespread video of his confession broke yesterday. You can see it here on RAPSI Russian.
12:19 Durseneva claims that the conflict started with a girl.
12:14 Soloist Alexandra Durseneva and musician Roman Denisov claim that while Dmitrichenko has an explosive temper, he could never intend to cause such harm to another human.
12:11 The break's still going and rumors are floating around that the Bolshoi Ballet is undergoing incredible stress at the moment, worried about how the rivalry gone terribly wrong will reflect on its legendary reputation.
12:04 In the meantime, a bit of intel: the defense attorney representing Dmitrichenko is Alexander Barkhanov.
11:55 The court has called a short recess. Andrew Lipatov is believed to be the driver in the operation. He's sharing the cage today with Dmitrichenko and Zarutsky.
11:52 The preliminary investigative period has been extended until April 18 to give investigators a chance to review the record.
11:50 Investigators call shenanigans on this argument, saying Dmitrichenko was free to do as he pleased until his actual arrest Wendesday.
11:45 Apparently since the search, Dmitrichenko was constantly monitored by law enforcement authorities. This, in his attorney's view, qualifies as arrest.
11:43 The defense counsel will accept house arrest for his client as an alternative to release on bail if it comes to that. He also asks the record to be adjusted to reflect that his client was effectively arrested earlier than previously reported. He was essentially arrested Tuesday after his apartment was searched, not Wednesday.
11:38 He further notes that his client has been fully compliant with investigators, having actually admitted to committing a crime.
11:37 Dmitrichenko's attorney advances the theory that all claims against his client in connection with his specific request are based on speculation at this point, and that he thus shouldn't be detained until trial.
11:34 To add fuel to the fire surrounding the Bolshoi's various intrigues, no one from the Dmitrichenko camp is denying claims that there was a heated rivalry between Dmitrichenko and Filin. The only point anyone's denying is that tensions were so high as to drive Dmitrichenko to order an acid attack.
11:32 Dmitrichenko's attorney remains focused on the claim that his client had no intention of causing bodily harm. He urges the court to accept that through repeated interrogations the dancer never strayed from his claim that he had not wanted to Filin.
11:30 According to the case materials, Dmitrichenko's parents are his dependents. Both are retired, and his mother is disabled. Specifically, she is a "Group II invalid." In Russia there are three groups in total. The second is applied to those who should stay away from work due to their poor health condition, but who still do not need any exterior help and can stay by themselves. Notably, "invalid" doesn't sound as politically incorrect in Russian as it does in English.
11:28 Dmitrichenko added that when Zarutsky offered to beat up Filin, the dancer was outraged by the idea of using force against the artistic director.
11:27 Dmitrichenko's attorney requests that his client be released on 500,000 rubles bail (about $16,280).
11:25 He swears he did not order Zarutsky to douse Filin with acid.
11:23 Dmitrichenko claims that he had not ordered the culprit suspected of having carried out the attack, Zarutsky, to cause harm to humans. Apparently he had been introduced to Zarutsky by the latter's reputation as "a man sho can solve anything."
11:20 Dmitrichenko laid the sass on thick.
11:19 The defense claims that if released from detention leading up to the trial Dmitrichenko may try to pressure witnesses.
11:16 As promised, a link to the video feed. It is in Russian - fair warning.
11:15 When asked if he wants to apologize to Filin, Dmitrichenko responds, "for what?"
11:11 The hearing is finally underway.
11:11 Things have gone from bad to worse for opposition golden boy Sergei Udaltsov. The man who helped spearhead last year's opposition movement but then fell from grace after a documentary advanced the theory that he was plotting a coup was ordered to wear a tracking bracelet so the authorities can make sure he stays put on house arrest. Check out the full story here.
11:05 A bit of good news for those of all that think white supremacy is a bad idea: a skinhead was sentenced to 9.5 years in prison in the Urals today for a series of hate crimes inspired by racism. Apparently when Alexander Solovyov was 17, he attacked 21 individuals of non-Slavic appearance. He was sentenced in Yekaterinburg. Check out the story and some background details here.
11:02 Some might say we've wasted the past hour, but let's not be pessimists. We're going to make this a not-wasted waiting period by updating you on the latest goings on in Russia.
11:00 We appreciate your patience, dear readers. And while we sincerely wish we could keep you entertained with the juicy drama that promises to unfold from behind the cage right now, we'll have to be patient and wait until proceedings start. Should be any minute now.
10:48 Meanwhile, there's still nothing happening in the courtroom aside from the discomfort arising from the tightly packed pile of international journalists.
10:45 And now, in unhappier times...
10:43 Here's a picture of Dmitrichenko uncaged, playing the title role Ivan the Terrible:
10:38 The three defendants have taken their spots in the cage, Dmitrichenko first in the line-up. It is common practice in Russian courtrooms to keep criminal defendants locked in a cage. The ECHR isn't a big fan of the practice.
10:35 While we wait for the hearing to get underway, you should check out a bit of background on the written confessions reportedly submitted by the three defendants here.
10:29 We're simultaneously broadcasting in Russian, in case that's your thing. RAPSI Russian will be hosting a live video feed as well, to which we'll post links once they're available.
10:27 There's a massive foreign press presence here. Conversations in English, French, and Japanese can be deciphered amidst the Russian.
10:25 The start of proceedings have been delayed. That being the status quo would be hard pressed to make it into a Hollywood thriller.
10:20 The journalists are literally piling on top of each other. This case promises to be the ballet trial of the century. It's full of more intrigue than even the most shameless Hollywood thrillers. World renowned dancers, legendary ballet company, jealousy, brutality.... From that perspective, the media fire storm makes sense.
10:18 The Tagansky District Court certainly didn't expect this sort of turn out. The wait outside the courtroom isn't terrible, though. In a highly unusual twist of fate, the sun is shining in Moscow and it's an almost subtropical -2 C.
10:15 Judge Marina Orlova will be presiding over today's hearing.
10:07 There seems to be a problem at the entry way. Apparently the court won't be able to accomodate all interested spectators.
10:05 Everyone is apparently here and the hearing is ready to start. The security presence around the court house is pretty low key... definitely much less insane than it was for Pussy Riot's detention hearing.
9:45 Good morning and welcome to RAPSI's live text broadcast of the ballet world's trial of the century. With you this morning are Maria Gusarova and Ingrid Burke. The court is expected to decide whether to order the three men to remain in detention, to order house arrest, or to release them on bail. The decision will directly impact Dmitrichenko’s career, as he is scheduled to dance in the legendary ballet company’s rendition of Sleeping Beauty on March 16.
Bolshoi Theater principal dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko and two others have been detained in connection with the acid attack against artistic director Sergei Filin, an Interior Ministry spokesperson told RIA Novosti.
If convicted, the assailants could face up to eight years in jail for willfully inflicting damage on the health of another.
Sergei Filin, 42, joined the Bolshoi as a dancer in 1988, after graduating from the Moscow School of Choreography. He has also been invited on several occasions to dance with the English, Hungarian and Japanese national ballets, as well as at many other theaters. He ended his dancing career in 2008. In March 2011, he was appointed artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater amid fierce rivalry for the position.
On January 17, an assailant heaved what is believed to have been concentrated sulfuric acid in Filin’s face as he attempted to enter his home. Filin suffered third degree burns. Despite initial fears to the contrary, he is expected to recover his vision. Shortly after the attack, a Bolshoi Theater spokesperson confirmed that Filin had recently received threats.
On March 5 the Interior Ministry announced the arrests of the alleged perpetrators of the attack. Yuri Zarutsky, who is suspected of having physically carried out the attack, was detained in Russia’s Tver region. Andrei Lipatov, who is suspected of having been the driver in the operation, was also arrested. Leading soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko was arrested on suspicion of having paid the other two to carry out the attack.
A police spokesman echoed this sentiment Tuesday when telling RIA Novosti that “The motive for the crime lies in [Filin’s] hostile relations with Dmitrichenko connected to his work.”
Filin has speculated the aim of the attack was to remove him as artistic director and destroy the prestigious Moscow ballet company's reputation. Filin is currently undergoing treatment in Germany.
Police reported that all of the detainees have submitted written confessions.
During Thursday’s trial, the judge is expected to decide on the type of detention each of the detainees will face based on a consideration of the evidence and the statements of the prosecution and defense.