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$1 million offense of Russian ballet-dancer

One of the best Russian ballet-dancers Anastasia Volochkiova is in a turmoil of legal suits.
On February 11 two suits by Volochkova for compensating moral damage and re-hiring her at her former workplace – the Bolshoi Theater - with the full work load were submitted to Basmanny District court of Moscow. The defendant is General Director of the Bolshoi Theater Anatoly Iksanov.

In her first statement of claim the ballet-dancer demanded the Bolshoi Theater General Director to compensate the moral damage to her professional reputation and personality made by “disseminating false information on her weight, height and professionalism”. Volochkova estimated the moral damage as $1 million.

In another statement the ballet-dancer appealed that the Bolshoi Theater Director had violated the verdict of Tverskoy District Court of Moscow. That court’s verdict stated that firing Volochkova from the theater contradicted the law. “They did not return me my leading parts in Bayaderka, Jizel and other ballets which I was performing before being illegally fired”. 

The conflict of the leading ballet-dancer with the Bolshoi Theater administration has lasted long. On September 16, 2003 the General Director of the Bolshoi Theater signed the paper on Volochkova’s dismissal on the grounds of the dancer’s refuse to sign the contract with the expiration date of December 31, 2003 (Volochkova requested the contract for one-year period). The ballet-dancer did not take seriously the director’s argument that in the end of 2003 the theater administration was supposed to be changed. Volochkova initiated legal proceedings.

The court satisfied the fired dancer’s demands and in its verdict from December 26, 2003 requested the Bolshoi Theater to re-hire Volochkova. The Bolshoi Theater formally complied with this decision, and the ballet-dancer was hired again by the Director’s order on November 27. 

What is the problem of ballet-dancer Volochkova today? The Bolshoi Theater administration does not give her the opportunity to perform, because there are neither parts no partners for Volochkova (who became heavier than she used to be). There are rumors that Volochkova’s only partner Evgeny Ivanchenko quit the job in the theater for a reason. The only performance Volochkova is enlisted in, Swan Lake, she can perform only with this partner. Because of his absence, Volochkova is unable to perform on the theater stage at all. Anastasia Volochkova considered this fact violation of her rights and started legal proceedings again. 

If the court makes the decision in her favor, the contemporary ballet star will be able to solve her financial problems. The matter is, Volochkova is currently a defendant for another suit. Representatives of several companies from St-Petersburg accuse the dancer of not paying for the works on improving the interior and decorating her apartment on Italian Street. According to the plaintiff, the attempts to settle the matter peacefully produced no result.

This scandal aroused in mid-December 2003. The cost of works in the ballet-dancer apartment is about 12 million roubles ($400,000). According to the company doing the job, the ballet-dancer owes 850,000 roubles of the sum. The other companies doing some work in Volochkova’s apartment are claiming that she owes them 400,000 roubles. She did not pay for specially designed chandeliers, curtains and cornices, unique stained-glass windows.

The ballet-dancer said this suit is “provocation”. Moreover, she believes the theater administration is behind it. “This is an attempt deprive me not only of my job, but also of my own home”, she said.

To support the suit, judge Oleg Kutiev passed the resolution to put Volochkova’s apartment under the court arrest. According to the judge, this is ordinary decision of legal proceedings. Until the matter is settled in court, Volochkova is not in a position to change the owner in the apartment, use it as collateral or register anybody in it.

The ballet-dancer did not show up for the legal hearing on her apartment, and the resolution of the apartment arrest was given to bum-bailiffs for execution. However, bum-bailiff Dmitry Mironenko was unable to inform the ballet-dancer of the court decision – Volochkova did not want to see him. The ballet-dancer can be fined for ignoring the bum-bailiff’s summoning and not compliance with the court decision by refusing to see the bum-bailiff. Moreover, the court intends to take the ballet-dancer to the next legal hearing session by force. 

The vivid illustration of Volochkova’s personality is her remark to the statement of Russian Minister of Culture Mikhail Shvydkoi. The Minister said that after re-hiring Volochkova, the Bolshoi Theater is in a position to pay her 2000 rouble salary ($60) and give the part of  “the fourth swan”.

”The hypocrisy of so high-ranked people is frustrating. We are supposed to see hope in the people having such prominent position”, said Volochkova several days later. “The statement of the Minister that after being re-hired in the Theater, I can count on the part of the fourth swan, surprises me. However, if the men on the top of theatrical hierarchy think it is worthy to fight a woman, let their conscience to judge them”.

This eloquent phrase contradicts too much with the variety of scandals around ballet-dancer Volochkova.

Maria Chalusova

Source: Rosbalt

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