Russia Seeks Nine-Year Jail Term For Bolshoi Dancer In Acid Attack

by
Reuters
Russian state prosecutors demanded a nine-year jail sentence on Friday for a dancer accused of masterminding an acid attack that nearly blinded the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director.

Russian state prosecutors demanded a nine-year jail sentence on Friday for a dancer accused of masterminding an acid attack that nearly blinded the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director.

Pavel Dmitrichenko, has pleaded not guilty to ordering the attack last January which exposed bitter rivalries behind the scenes at one of Russia's great cultural institutions. He could have faced calls for a maximum 12 years in jail.

State prosecutor Yulia Shumovskaya also asked for 10 years in jail for Yuri Zarutsky, who is accused of throwing acid in Sergei Filin's face, and six years for Andrei Lipatov, who is accused of driving him to and from the scene.

"Dmitrichenko's motive was a conflict between Filin and Dmitrichenko," Shumovskaya told a Moscow court, saying the dispute was caused by the dancer's disappointment at not being given good roles by Filin.

Filin's lawyer, Natalia Zhivotkova, said: "All the defendants are guilty and, from our point of view, deserve no mercy."

Dmitrichenko, confined to a courtroom cage with his co-defendants, remained impassive and showed no emotion as Shumovskaya spoke. Zarutsky and Lipatov looked down at the floor.

The case has tarnished the reputation of the Bolshoi Theatre, which has made management changes to try to turn the spotlight back on the stage.

The poisonous backstage rivalries have at times flared up during the trial, including when Filin, his damaged eyes shielded by dark glasses, made an emotional appearance to give evidence.