A flash mob has been going on in social networks for several days in support of the Khachaturian sisters, who are accused of killing their father. The case of the sisters is, without exaggeration, one of the most high-profile stories of domestic violence in Russia in recent years: soon after the story hit the news, it became known that the father abused the daughters, they were physically and sexually abused. The girls' mother and their friends also spoke about this. The fact of violence is confirmed by the investigation - but despite this, the sisters still face a long term. We are looking into what is known about the Khachaturian sisters' case today - and why it is so important to follow it.
On June 14, the investigation filed a final version of charges against Krestina, Angelina and Maria: they were charged with the crime provided for by paragraph "g" of Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - murder committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy. In this case, the Criminal Code provides for imprisonment from 8 to 20 years or life imprisonment, although the latter is not prescribed for women in Russia. The qualification of the crime in the final version remained the same (the girls' supporters hoped, for example, to “exceed self-defense”). Only the motive has changed - officially it sounds like "personal hostility caused by the infliction of physical and mental suffering on his daughters by their father for a long period of time."
About the Khachaturian sisters all over Russia became known last summer: on July 27, the body of Mikhail Khachaturian was found at the entrance - in the reports he was described as the body of "a 57-year-old man with multiple stab wounds in the neck and chest." Reports of what exactly happened that day vary - but the girls are known to have used a knife, hammer, and pepper spray.
Novaya Gazeta, referring to the materials of the case, writes that before the attack, the father once again punished his daughters for the fact that not all the things in the house were “in their places”, “a few black hairs” on the floor, but from the family bank card spent 14 thousand "extra" rubles. Khachaturian took turns calling his daughters to his room and there he sprayed pepper vodka in their faces. During the daughters' first attempts to stab their father, Khachaturian, according to the newspaper, was asleep, but then got up and, not understanding what was happening, shouted that he needed to wash. One of the daughters, who ran into the room, used a pepper spray that was lying on the floor, and then ran out of the apartment. Khachaturian went after her, and on the landing, another sister several times "stabbed him with a knife in the region of the heart."
One of the sisters (the name in the publication has been changed) told Moskovsky Komsomolets that she wanted to take all the blame on herself, but she and her sisters “did not think through all the details”. “It was the youngest who cut us with a knife after all, so that we could later say that it was self-defense. But in the end we got confused. Much had to be calculated, but we could not. So we went for a frank confession,”she says. The sisters are accused of murder by prior agreement - although the defense insists that they acted spontaneously and were in a dire emotional state due to years of bullying by their father.
After the case went public, dire details of domestic violence in the Khachaturian family surfaced. The girls' mother, Aurelia Dunduk, says that her husband began to beat her almost from the moment they began to live together. “The first time, I remember, when Seryozha (eldest son. - Ed.) Was eight months old. A holiday at home, I'm in a smart dress, I wanted to go to my mother. And he suddenly kicks me in the face in front of everyone and chokes me: “You’re not going out of this house anywhere else, do you understand?” Everyone saw - his sisters, mother. After that, I did not go out for five years. The youngest Maria was a year old when he more or less started letting me out.His sisters sometimes walked with the children; they also went to the store and to the kindergarten. I had no right to speak on the phone without his permission,”the woman said in her first interview.
The sisters are accused of murder
by prior conspiracy - although the defense insists that they acted spontaneously and were
in a dire emotional state due to years of bullying
Aurelia says that violence accompanied all the years of her marriage ("They got married with tears in their eyes. He beat me up and went to get married"). According to her, Mikhail Khachaturyan humiliated their eldest son Seryozha in order to "raise a fighting man." When Seryozha grew up, Mikhail began to beat him, and when the teenager turned sixteen, he kicked him out of the house. “I helped as best I could, donated money, food,” says the woman. - It was such that in the entrance he was sitting in winter warming himself, there was nowhere to go at all. And I waited for my husband to fall asleep, let Seryozha into the apartment. We had a large sofa with a bottom, where he hid and slept. And in the morning he left. Once my husband noticed, beat him and me, he said, if I see again, I will kill both of them. I shot him. " According to the woman, they had a weapon at home and he regularly threatened to kill him.
In all interviews, Aurelia says that she repeatedly filed a statement with the police against her husband, but they had no effect: according to her, the man had connections (“In the mid-2000s, I wrote a statement against him, left it to the employees, and the next day he brought it home and tore it in front of my face”). She also says that she tried to leave many times, but Khachaturian always found her, no matter how she hid. In 2015, Mikhail had already kicked his wife out of the house himself - Aurelia says that he put a gun to her temple, demanded “not to lead to sinning” and leave. “I gathered the children, I say: if you say, I will stay. Say - I will leave, if you want - we will all run away together. They reassured me: Mom, go away, you will improve your life and we will come to you. I had nowhere to take them: no money, no work, no apartment. And he loved them, it seemed to me. Didn't touch,”the woman says. Aurelia confesses that since then she has seen her daughters in fits and starts, occasionally and secretly, not suspecting what they are exposed to at home.
After the mother left, the responsibility to look after the father fell entirely on the sisters. “He beat us with everything that came to hand, for any little thing,” said one of them last year. - He probably had low self-esteem, and he took it out on us. Plus, in his understanding, a woman is a slave. He did absolutely nothing around the house, he did not even pour water for himself and did not close the window. He gave us orders. " Both the mother and the girl's friend recall that Khachaturian had a bell, which he would ring when he needed something - and to which his wife and later daughters were obliged to immediately respond.
Khachaturian controlled the girls - he watched where they went and who they saw, and later began to forbid and go to school. “The youngest and I studied in the same class, and so, for the whole year we were there for seven days. He even more or less let the older one go, because she was studying to be a doctor. He forbade modern dressing, walking on the street, and using social networks. But, probably, it could have been tolerated if it hadn't been even worse …”- says one of the sisters.
Khachaturian had a bell, which he would ring when he needed something - and to which his wife, and later daughters, had to immediately respond
In addition to physical abuse, the sisters also faced harassment and sexual abuse. The middle sister says the harassment started when she was fourteen. The elder and middle sisters Krestina and Angelina were sexually abused - Khachaturian called the violence "useful massage." A friend of the sisters says that the harassment began after he kicked Aurelia out of the house, even when both older sisters were underage. The girls' mother found out about everything only after the murder: the sisters hid everything from her, because they did not want her to worry.
On August 2, Krestina, Angelina and Maria were arrested and placed in a pre-trial detention center. But almost two months later, at the end of September, the sisters were given another measure of restraint - a ban on the commission of certain actions: they were imposed a restriction on communicating with the press and staying outside the home. The examination recognized the younger sister as "insane" - that is, at the time of the murder, she did not give an account of her actions. The examination recognized the two older sisters as "sane", giving an account of their actions.
The girls' lawyers strongly disagree with the accusation. “There was no collusion. There was constant violence (including sexual) and a psycho-traumatic situation, - says Aleksey Liptser, Krestina's lawyer. - As for my client specifically, she was not involved in the murder at all. When everything happened, Krestina ran into the room, thinking that again the father was using violence against the sisters. She tried to spray pepper spray in his face. But I didn't even get it. There was no purposefulness in her actions. After that I ran out of the apartment into the entrance and stood there. This is confirmed by both investigative experiments and the testimony of other sisters. However, we were denied our request to terminate the criminal prosecution against Krestina."
Liptser believes that, given the circumstances of the case and the fact that the girls were subjected to constant violence, they should have been released from criminal liability, and the case should have been brought against Khachaturyan himself, posthumously. What decision the court will come to remains to be seen: the investigative actions have been officially completed. According to Aleksey Liptser, a preliminary investigation should end this week, after which the parties will be allowed to familiarize themselves with the case materials.
COVER: Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS