On the 30 of March, 2005, Moscow Municipal Court Judge Natalia Olikhver passed a sentence on Alexey Pichugin. An employee of the Oil Company YUKOS got a term of 20 years to be served in a strict correctional colony. After the sentencing, Pichugin pleaded not guilty, defined his prosecution as a political one, and referred it just to the „YUKOS case“. „Iím going to fight to the end“, Alexey Pichugin said.
Chronology of the first trial
After the sentencing, Pichugin pleaded not guilty, defined his prosecution as a political one, and referred it just to the „YUKOS case“. „Iím going to fight to the end“, Alexey Pichugin said.
At the trial held in the Moscow Municipal Court, public prosecutors Kamil Kashaev and Evgeny Naidyonov applied to the court for a life sentence on defendant Alexey Pichugin as having been found guilty of all charges.
Judge Natalia Olikhver retired to state a sentence.
Sentencing was set for Wednesday, March 30.
The jury found Alexey Pichugin, an employee of the Oil Company YUKOS, guilty of all charges. The verdict of the jury recommended no leniency to show towards A. Pichugin.
Defense counsel Georgy Kaganer informed that the jury had found Pichugin guilty of all counts of a killing offense of the Gorins spouses. It was a majority verdict of eight to four.
Besides that, the jury found A. Pichugin guilty of an attempted murder of Olga Kostin, a former public relation department head at the
On the other hand, the jury refused to convict Pichugin of an attempted murder of Viktor Kolesov, a former head of the „Rosprom“ executive office though admitted a beating of Kolesov by the defendant.
According to Kaganer, the Pichugin defense didnít expect such a verdict, „No evidence has been given for any charge concerning either Kolesov or Gorin“.
According to the counsel, questions for the jury will provide the ground to file an appeal against the verdict. „The questions for the jury were put as if a psychologist worded them, they contained several charges at once that contradicted provisions of the Criminal Code of Practice“, he said while added that the defense was also „anxious about the new jury“. The counsel reminded that Pichugin faced his second jury trial as the Moscow Municipal Court had discharged the first jury.
The hearing of arguments at which the prosecution will apply to the court to pass a sentence on the defendants will take place in the Moscow Municipal Court tomorrow. The Pichuginís defense has already announced that itís going to appeal the verdict to the Higher Court of Russia and even to the
A hearing of arguments on the Alexey Pichuginís case was held in the Moscow Municipal Court hall. The prosecuting officers, defendants, and defense counsels addressed the jury. Tomorrow the jury will have to return its verdict.
Prosecuting Official Kamil Kashaev asked the jury to find Alexey Pichugin, an employee of the Oil Company YUKOS security service, guilty of all three charges. The prosecutor stated that the testimonies confirmed the guilt of Pichugin.
Obviously, Prosecutor Kashaev meant the evidence given by members of the
Ė Igor Korovnikov, in 2000 for eight rapes and murders of young girls, was sentenced to life in a special correctional colony with seizure of property; earlier had got a suspended term of 5 years;
Ė Pavel Popov, in 2000 for a series of murders and rapes, got a strict correctional term of 14 years with seizure of property;
Ė Vladimir Kabanets, in 2000 for a series of murders and rapes, was sentenced to 22 years in a strict correctional colony with seizure of property;
Ė Denis Erbes, in 2002 for a series of murders and rapes, got a strict correctional term of 17 years with seizure of property,
Ė and Oleg Smirnov, a former Tambovís militiaman, in 2002 for a gang stealing of oil products, was sentenced to 7 years in a strict correctional colony with seizure of property.
In the course of the hearing the prosecuting officers and Judge Natalia Olikhver tried to conceal a social status of the mentioned „witnesses“. The other witnesses questioned at the Pichuginís trial didnít give testimonies against Alexey. Thus, the prosecution considers the testimonies of four criminals serving long correctional terms and a serial murderer and rapist sentenced to life as credible to render judgment on Alexey Pichugin.
In his speech, Kashaev juggled, at every turn, with the witnessesí testimonies and cited a testimony that hadnít been voiced. The Kashaevís speech climaxed in the statement that victim Viktor Kolesov had declared Pichuginís innocence of his attempted murder under alleged threat to his life. However, Kashaev failed to reveal which party had threatened.
All Alexey Pichuginís lawyers asked the jury to return a verdict of acquittal as they maintained he had committed no crimes. In the course of the hearing Alexey Pichuginís lawyers stated that neither Pichuginís involvement in the offenses incriminated him nor any interest of the YUKOS, its leadership as well as personally Alexey Pichugin in committing the crimes of which he had been accused had been proved in the court.
On Wednesday in his last plea in the court, A. Pichugin declared once again that he had not committed the crimes of which he was accused. He asked the jury to be guided by their conscience when judging him and to reach a fair verdict.
In the course of the hearing, Alexey Peshkunís defense counsel Alexander Shishin declared a possible self-incrimination of his defendant. Earlier Peshkun had pleaded guilty to a fraction of the charge.
In the hearing tomorrow, a questionnaire for the jury will be drawn up and after that the jury will return its verdict of guilty or not guilty on Alexey Pichugin and Alexey Peshkun. Judge Natalia Olikhver attracted the juryís attention to a long time of the tomorrowís sitting.
What Judge Olikhver had in mind will possibly become clear tomorrow.
Today Alexey Pichugin and Alexey Peshkun, the second suspect on the case, were being questioned at the trial.
Alexey Pichugin once again pleaded non-guilty and non-involvement in the offences incriminated him. The defendant explained that he had got to know the surnames of Kolesov and Kostin of whose attempted murders he was accused only from the indictment on the criminal case. While Olga and Sergei Gorin of whose murder he was accused, in Alexeyís words, had been his good friends
At the same time, Alexey Peshkun, the second suspect in the case, pleaded guilty to organization of an attempted murder of Olga Kostin.
Tomorrow on the 23rd of March, a hearing of arguments will be opened at the trial. While appointing the tomorrowís sitting Judge Natalia Olikhver, a chairman of the trial, refused to give Alexey Pichuginís counsels a time to prepare for the hearing and also forbade the counsels to analyze before the jury a speech for the prosecution, which would be pronounced in the hearing.
On the 18th of March the Alexey Pichuginís defense has completed to present its materials.
The next hearing is set for March 22. Alexey Pichugin is planned to appear and then a hearing of arguments will be opened.
On the 16th and 17th of March, Irina Fyodorova, Nadezhda Isangildina, and deputy of the RF State Duma Alexey Kondaurov appeared as defense witnesses. The defense testimonies confirmed by documents disproved some testimonies of witnesses for the prosecution.
The next hearing will be held on the 18th of March.
At the routine sitting, representatives of the General Public Prosecuting Office read out documents which, in their opinion, showed evidence of guilt of the defendants. With that the prosecution topped off the introduction of evidence.
At the next sitting, Alexey Pichuginís defense counsels will begin to offer their evidence.
The next hearing will be held on the 16th of March.
The Moscow Municipal Court extended detention of A. Pichugin and A. Peshkun in custody up to
The evidentiary hearing on the 10th of March failed to be held because a counsel of second suspect Alexey Peshkun had fallen ill.
The next hearing was set for
On the 2nd of March, a sitting on the Alexey Pichuginís case wasnít held because of an illness of a counsel of second suspect Alexey Peshkun.
Judge Natalia Olikhver set the next hearing for March 10.
On the 28th of February, Judge Natalia Olikhver granted a motion of the defense and stopped proceedings on a charge of threat to kill businessman Sergei Lobikov, which Alexey Pichugin was accused of. The prosecuting office representatives raised an objection against dismissal of the charge; however, Natalia Olikhver didnít sustain a case for the prosecution for the first time in the proceedings on the „Pichuginís case“.
In the course of the hearing, Judge Olikhver also granted a motion of the Alexey Pichuginís defense to exclude all operational reports from the criminal case materials.
The next sitting will be held on the 2nd of March.
Witnesses for the prosecution, Mikhail Yastrubitsky, guards of the
Mikhail Yastrubitsky declared that he enjoyed friendly relations with the Kostins. He said that right after the explosion Madame Kostin had told him that she had referred the explosion first and foremost to a conflict with Tsoy and to other conflicts with the city council.
After questioning of Yastrubitsky, Alexey Pichuginís counsel Ksenia Kostromin announced that the defense made a motion to dismiss a charge connected with Lobikov as time-barred. Judge Olikhver denied the motion as premature without asking opinion of the prosecution and victim Lobikov.
The testimonies of Sergei Lobikov and guards of the
The next hearing will be held on the 25th of February.
In the course of the hearing, witnesses for the prosecution Konstantin Kostin, Ekaterina Rozhkov, and Olga Kostin who, for some reasons, the prosecuting office regards as a victim on the Alexey Pichuginís case have been questioned.
The investigation believes that an explosion of a small self-made exploder detonated at in the night in October, 1998, in the elevator area on the floor where Olga Kostinís parents live was an attempt upon the life of Olga Kostin. While the investigation regards Alexey Pichugin as a head for the explosion.
As it happened in the course of the autumn hearings on the Pichuginís case neither both witnesses nor the „victim“ have given any evidence confirming the guilt of Alexey Pichugin in the crimes incriminated him. Furthermore, all the three witnesses do not know Pichugin. Olga Kostin, in her own words, got to know about a possible Pichuginís involvement in the explosion in the porch where her parents lived from investigators in spring, 2003.
Itís worth noticing that a sentence was passed for a fact of explosion in 2000. The
The next hearing on the Pichuginís case is set for February 24.
In the course of the hearing, witness for the prosecution Igor Korovnikov, a recidivist sentenced to life with seizure of property to be served in a special correctional colony for several murders, rapes, violent actions, kidnapping, manufacture of self-made exploders, and other crimes, was questioned.
In the Moscow Municipal Court, hearings on the Alexey Pichuginís case continued.
The questioning of second suspect on the case Alexey Peshkun, which had been started the day before, was completed
After that, the prosecution began to question victim Viktor Kolesov who had been cruelly beaten near his house in 1998. The General Prosecuting Office accuses Pichugin of organizing an attempted murder of Kolesov. Whereas in the first hearings on the case in autumn of the year 2004, Viktor Kolesov himself declared in the court that he failed to consider what had happened to him as an attempted murder and to connect this incident with Alexey Pichugin whom he didnít know.
The next hearing on the case will be held on 16th of February, 2005.
In the Moscow Municipal Court, hearings on the case of Alexey Pichugin, an employee of the YUKOS, were resumed.
Counsels for the defense made two motions before the beginning of the hearing.
As was well known, at the last week, Moscow Municipal Court Chairman Olga Egorov had addressed the Ministry of Justice with a claim to debar all four Pichuginís counsels from maintaining defense. Therefore one motion requested to dismiss Judge Natalia Olikhver, chairman at the trial, whose rulings looked biased and showed impossibility to conduct a trial. The judge granted neither this motion nor the second one for open-court trial in accordance with EUPA directions.
After denial of the motions, a public prosecutor stated merits of the prosecution case against Alexey Pichugin and Alexey Peshkun. Alexey Pichugin pleaded not guilty to every charge while Alexey Peshkun pleaded guilty to a fraction of charges and refused to agree with definition of the offenses charged. After that, the court started to question Alexey Peshkun.
On the 3rd of February a hearing on the Alexey Pichuginís case hasnít been held because his counsel, Georgy Kaganer, fell ill. The next sitting is set for February 7.
A hearing on the Alexey Pichuginís case has failed to take place. Poor general state of Pichuginís counsel Georgy Kaganer didnít allow him to attend the sitting. Besides that two jurors from the new selected jury havenít come to the sitting.
The trial will continue on the 3rd of February.
In the Moscow Municipal Court, a hearing on the case of Alexey Pichugin, an employee of the Oil Company YUKOS, was held
In the course of the hearing, a new jury, the second one for this trial, was being selected. The first jury for the Pichuginís trial had been discharged in December of 2004 by Judge Natalia Olikhver, chairman at the trial, after multiple adjournments initiated by the judge on formal pretexts.
In law, 12 jurors and 4 alternate jurors should be selected out of 60 candidates. However, only 28 candidates attended the todayís selection.
At the same time, prosecution representatives failed even to exercise in full their right to challenge candidates. Out of two rightful peremptory challenges they used just one. Obviously, all the other candidates presented for the jury by the court perfectly satisfied the prosecutors.
New prosecutors in court Kamil Kashaev and Evgeny Naidyonov started their participation in the trial with comments for the press. They declared that the first jury had been discharged because Pichuginís counsels had delayed the trial. Such a position in prosecution looks rather strange; all the participants of the first hearings on the Pichuginís case (to tell the truth, Kashaev and Naidyonov do not belong to them) know very well that the court was adjourned not because of counselsí actions but because of Judge Olikhverís illness.
Judge Olikhver herself announced that the second trial on the "Pichuginís case“ would last 4-5 weeks. Letís make a comparison. The five first hearings on the „Pichuginís case“ were not enough for the prosecution to present their evidence of Pichuginís guilt. Which grounds Judge Olikhver have for supposing that the second hearings on the „Pichuginís case“ will take shorter time one can just guess.
The next hearing on the „Pichuginís case“ is set for January 28.
In the Moscow Municipal Court, the hearings on the Alexey Pichuginís case having been already announced in December by Judge Natalia Olikhver failed even to start. In the sitting on the 17th of January, a new jury should be selected.
Nonappearance of victims as well as absence of defendants in the court served as a formal pretext to adjourn the hearings. If to take account of administrative resources of the Moscow Municipal Court both causes sound, to tell it mildly, unconvincing.
Besides that, it got known about substitution of prosecutors Evgeny Naidyonov and Kamil Kashaev notorious for their participation in other odious trials for prosecutor Boris Laktionov. Naidyonov won the „Sutyaginís case“ after having discharged the jury that had tried to take a verdict of acquittal on Sutyagin. Kamil Kashaev is famous for conviction of a person earlier acquitted of all counts on the case of an explosion at the Kotlyakovskoe cemetery.
The next sitting is set for January 26.
In spite of counselsí objections, Judge Natalia Olikhver has discharged the jury for trial on the criminal case of YUKOS employee Alexey Pichugin.
Before that, the judge adjourned the trial five times. Actually, the case prosecution was suspended on the 1st of November.
A hearings on the Pichuginís case, in which a new jury will be selected, is set for
A hearing on the Alexey Pichuginís case held in the Moscow Municipal Court has been again adjourned for the fifth time.
Judge Natalia Olikhver chairing the trial has announced hearings to be stopped until 9th of December in connection with nonappearance of a counsel for Alexey Peshkun, the second defendant on the Alexey Pichuginís case. In case of nonappearance of jurors the judge may discharge the jury.
The hearings on the Alexey Pichuginís case have been suspended since November 1.
A secretary to the court has announced that a hearing on the Alexey Pichuginís case wonít be held again in connection with an illness of Judge Natalia Olikhver. This time the hearing is adjourned for two weeks, until December 7.
A secretary to the court has announced the hearings to be adjourned until November 23 in connection with an illness of Judge Natalia Olikhver.
Judge Natalia Olikhver has announced that a hearing wonít be held in connection with bad general state of Alexey Pichugin. According to Olikhverís decision the hearing has been adjourned until November 17. At the same time Alexey Pichugin himself didnít ask to adjourn the trial.
A hearing has been adjourned till November 10 in connection with an illness of a counsel for Alexey Peshkun.
A hearing has failed to take place since a counsel of Alexey Peshkun, the second defendant on the Alexey Pichuginís case fell ill. The hearing has been adjourned till November 4.
A questioning of Oleg Smirnov in the court was continued. He maintained that he had given all his testimonies both at the investigation and in the court within words of Gorin. Smirnov stated that he hadnít met Pichugin.
A hearing wasnít held.
In the court there was a questioning of the next witness for the prosecution, former employee of law-enforcement bodies Oleg Smirnov sentenced to strict correctional term of 7 years with seizure of property for gang stealing of oil products. Oleg Smirnov having been a Sergei Gorinís driver for some time told that he had known about Gorinís criminal actions. Madame Dedov who was in the court expressed in response her indignation at Smirnovís slander against her son-in-law.
Judge Olikhver once again prohibited the defense counsels from questioning the witness and cautioned counsel Georgy Kaganer for his disagreement with the judge prohibition.
Counsel Dmitry Kurepin made again a motion to dismiss Judge Natalia Olikhver. Judge Olikhver once again refused to consider the motion.
The hearings were declared adjourned until October 29 at the request of the counsels.
While opening a court, Judge Natalia Olikhver blamed the defense counsels for an interest in the „Pichuginís case“ displayed by representatives of the media and their reports in press. „If just another article on the case appears I will raise a question of discharging the jury“, Judge Olikhver announced.
In that day, Pavel Popov, a member of the Korovnikovís gang, convicted for murders and rapes committed in the years 1998 Ė 1999 and sentenced to strict correctional term of 14 years with seizure of property was questioned. The Popovís testimony contradicted testimonies of Korovnikov and Kabanets with regard to how an explosion in the porch of Olga Kostinís parents had been carried out.
Gangís member Denis Erbes sentenced for murders and rapes committed in the years 1998 Ė 1999 to a strict correctional term of 17 years with seizure of property was also questioned in the court as a witness.
The defense counsels made a written motivated motion to dismiss the judge. Judge Olikhver said that she wouldnít even consider it and continued proceedings. Korovnikov was kept questioning in the court. The Korovnikovís testimonies in regard to six-year-old information on Alexey Pichuginís involvement in the offenses incriminated him become more and more detailed every day.
Witness Vladimir Kabanets, a member of the Korovnikovís gang, sentenced for murders and rapes committed in the years 1998 Ė 1999 to a strict correctional term of 22 years with seizure of property was questioned in the same day.
While addressing the court, Kabanets read out his testimonies from a note which contained answers to all possible questions.
Madame Dedov, the mother of Olga Gorin who was missing together with Sergei Gorin in November of 2002 in
Madame Dedov maintained that there existed many versions of the Gorins disappearance while a version referring it to Pichugin seemed doubtful: „My son-in-law was not so stupid to blackmail Pichugin while Pichugin was not such a fool to kill Gorin“. After these words, Judge Olikhver suspended the questioning of Madame Dedov till another day.
Ararat Agasaryan who had been a deputy head of the criminal explosion division of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department at the moment of an explosion in the porch where Kostinís parents lived was questioned in the court. He told about technical details of the explosion carried out by Korovnikov in 1998. Then the questioning of Korovnikov continued. In the course of the hearing, Korovnikov requested the jury not to take account of the eight murders and other offenses he had committed. „I have already confessed my sins to God and believe He has forgiven me“, Korovnikov announced.
Judge Natalia Olikhver didnít permit Alexey Pichuginís counsels to question Korovnikov. The counsels expressed their indignation at the violations of the RF Criminal Code of Practice, which had been committed by Judge Olikhver. Natalia Olikhver announced in response that she would inform the Bar about their indecent behavior. „If the counsels do not stop to behave like hooligans the court will consider a possibility to discharge them from defending the case“, Olikhver said.
Sergei Lobikov, a deputy general director of Ciber-Club LLC, who the investigation regarded as a victim on a count of the charge was being interrogated. Lobikov maintained that Pichugin had threatened to kill him and Lobikov had „taken the threats as real“. Lobikov told that Pichugin had threatened him while breaking one of the inner doors of the
In the same day, a questioning of Korovnikov continued during which he repeated everything he had told in the course of the preliminary investigation. Those who attended the sitting were astounded by details which Korovnikov gave while describing six-year-old events, namely vehicle license numbers, numbers of apartments, persons and places with whom and where he had met, who else had been there, etc.When Korovnikov began to contradict himself in his evidence at counselsí questioning Judge Natalia Olikhver adjourned the hearing.
The prosecution started to question its main witness Igor Korovnikov, a recidivist sentenced to life for a series of murders and rapes in
In the beginning of the questioning, Korovnikov who was guarded as a dangerous special criminal by two privates of special purpose troops requested the judge to provide his security.
Then Korovnikov displaying the jury his extraordinary talents of actor addressed Olga Kostin, „I beg your pardon, Olenjka! I didnít want to explode you but if I had failed to do that they would have killed me“.
After that Judge Olikhver forbade Korovnikov to give evidence concerning his conviction and prohibited the defense to put the corresponding questions to Korovnikov. Such prohibitions were not applied to the other witnesses.
Igor Korovnikov was being questioned for over four hours without adjournments. Korovnikovís evidence in the court agreed practically word for word with his evidence during the investigation. When Korovnikov who had served three years on island Ognenny, a colony for criminals sentenced to life, was addressing the court he recalled smallest details of the six-year-old events. To tell the truth he recalled only those events about which he wanted to tell himself. However when he answered defense questions to which he had failed to prepare beforehand Korovnikov couldnít recall even significant events of that time.
Besides that the questioning revealed an interesting piece of information. Witness Korovnikov admitted that a week before identification of Alexey Pichugin and Alexey Peshkun, investigators had showed him their pictures and explained who he would have to identify.
In the same day, Alexander Sidorov, an investigator of the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department, who had investigated an explosion near the apartment of the Olga Kostinís parents, was questioned in the court. As Sidorov told, in 1999, he had interrogated Igor Korovnikov detained in
When Korovnikov was asked where he had learned how to manufacture self-made exploders one of which had destroyed a lobby door in the Kostin parentsí porch Korovnikov, as Sidorov testified, answered that he had been taught at the Tambov Institute of Marxism Leninism. Within Korovnikovís words, he and other students had been instructed in methods of waging guerrilla warfare including manufacture of self-made exploders at the optional studies.
The Olga Kostinís parents were questioned in the court. They told about details of an explosion that had been happened near their apartment in November, 1998. After them, Valery Gorin, the father of missing businessman Sergei Gorin appeared in court. Alexey Pichugin is accused of organizing the Sergei Gorinís disappearance. None of them thinks the defendants were involved in committing the crimes. So the Olga Kostinís father, Nikolai Chistenkov, maintained that their family had considered the only version of the explosion, a daughterís conflict with the Moscow City Council leadership, and he held the version at present. Chistenkov also declared that he knew about numerous conflicts of Olga Kostin with officials of the Moscow City Council when she had worked as an out-of-staff advisor to the mayor of
After a break, Mikhail Yastrubitsky, the executive director of the Open Russia fund, was questioned.
Since this day, prosecutor of the Moscow Municipal Prosecuting Office Boris Laktionov became the main representative of the public prosecution. Prosecutor of the General Prosecuting Office Svetlana Artemieva who had headed the public prosecution of the case before stopped to attend hearings „in connection with prosecution of another case“.
Hearings on a charge of alleged Alexey Pichuginís threats to kill deputy general director of Ciber-Club LLC Sergei Lobikov were opened. Public prosecutor Boris Laktionov announced that chief witness for the prosecution Sergei Lobikov was not ready to give evidence in this day though Lobikov himself was in the court at that time. The court questioned club guard Igor Korethky who stated that no threats had been expressed against Lobikov.
The proceedings have been suspended on October 18 because one of the counsels fell ill.
The Moscow Municipal Court has delayed till
Victim Olga Kostin was being questioned in the court. Her questioning lasted for almost three hours. Her speech was very emotional and mostly referred to her complicated, in her words, relations with one of the biggest YUKOS shareholders, Leonid Nevzlin. To confirm her words Madame Kostin announced that her husband, Konstantin Kostin who had been also working for MENATEP had been forced to leave the company under pressure of Nevzlin. The dismissal of Kostin had been preceded by, in Olgaís words, „his multi-hour interrogations in the security service“.
At the same time as to Alexey Pichugin accused of organizing her attempted murder, Olga Kostin just announced that didnít know him and had seen him only once four years after an explosion in the restaurant.
It was curious that Konstantin Kostin who appeared in the court in the same day as a witness for the prosecution maintained that he had resigned at will and nobody had questioned him when he had left the company.
An adjournment of proceedings has been announced for this day.
Vasily Shakhnovsky, one of the biggest YUKOS shareholders, and Dmitry Dubrovsky, the Rosprom secretariat head, were questioned in the court as witnesses for the prosecution. Both stated that Pichugin had lacked in motives for committing this crime.
Vasily Shakhnovsky refused to give a signed statement not to disclose information heard in the process and said, „I think that there is no connection between an attempt on the life of Kolesov and Pichuginís work. Kolesov was a storekeeping manager and a head clerk at Rosprom. Why should Pichugin kill him? Moreover, after the assault Kolesov keeps working in the same position in the company Sibintech connected with YUKOS. What a conspiracy against Kolesov is there?“ As Mr. Shakhnovsky thinks the whole case has been „quite transparently fabricated, it contains neither motives nor instruments of crime“.
Dmitry Dubrovsky told the court that once Vladimir Kolesov beaten black and blue had come to work. „Iíve seen that but know nothing about motives of the assault“, the witness said.
In the Moscow Municipal Court, hearings on the case of Alexey Pichugin and Alexey Peshkun, which had to be processed under seal of secrecy by an initiative of the RF General Prosecuting Office, were opened behind the closed doors.
The hearings began with an opening speech for the public prosecution delivered by Svetlana Artemiev, a prosecutor of the RF General Prosecuting Office, who stated the merits of the case against Alexey Pichugin and Alexey Peshkun. The prosecution proposed to consider the case count by count.
After a charge having been made public, Alexey Pichugin pleaded not guilty to all counts. Alexey Peshkun pleaded guilty to a fraction of the charge but refused to agree with a definition of the offenses charged. According to regulations of hearings suggested by the public prosecution, the defendants will testify after that all witnesses and victims will have been questioned and written evidence in the case will have been examined.
Then the court started to question victims and witnesses for the prosecution.
Viktor Kolesov appeared in court for questioning. His appearance became a sensation of the first day proceedings. Viktor Kolesov of whose attempted murder Pichugin was accused expressed doubts that some unknown people had wanted to kill him, defined a case for the prosecution as „a very hypothetical one“, and stated that „nobody killed in this way“.
The Viktor Kolesovís wife was also questioned in the sitting.
Judge Natalia Olikhver requested victims and witnesses to sign a statement not to disclose materials of the criminal case and information heard in the proceedings.
The media representatives who hadnít been allowed to enter the courtroom where the proceedings took place tried to get comments of second public prosecutor Boris Laktionov, a prosecutor of the Moscow Prosecuting Office, on the decision to classify the case as secret and to hear it behind the closed doors. „Will you call