Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Top Court Reopens LUKoil Car Crash Probe

The Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered that a criminal case be reopened into last year’s road accident involving LUKoil vice president Anatoly Barkov that resulted in two deaths.

The ruling promises to have a far-reaching impact because it will make it harder for the police to close inquiries into incidents by blaming them on those who died, Igor Trunov, one of the lawyers for the two prominent gynecologists who died in the accident, told Interfax.

The gynecologists, Vera Sidelnikova, 72, and her daugher-in-law Olga Alexandrina, 35, were killed when their car collided head-on with Barkov’s Mercedes on the traffic-clogged Leninsky Prospekt in southern Moscow.

City police blamed the accident on the women and closed the case in August. An independent probe by a motorist rights group, the Russian Federation of Car Owners, claimed that Barkov’s car actually caused the crash by swerving into the wrong lane, but the findings were ignored by officials.

The car crash became one of the biggest public scandals of 2010, with the media, bloggers and numerous celebrities accusing investigators of participating in a cover-up for a prominent businessman. Police denied the allegations, and the investigator in the case, Stanislav Lagoiko, told The Moscow Times by telephone earlier this month that the only pressure he had faced was from the victims’ relatives.

Alexandrina’s husband, Sergei Sidelnikov, died from a cerebral hemorrhage last August that friends said might have been caused by stress from the car crash. Alexandrina’s father, Sergei Alexandrin, who has become the guardian of her 2-year-old daughter, has pushed for the case to be reopened.

Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court and the Moscow City Court rejected appeals to reopen the case last fall, but the Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that a criminal case cannot be closed over the death of a suspect if relatives insist that it should proceed.

Lawyers for Alexandrina and Sidelnikova said they were pleased with the ruling and would recall lawsuits appealing the case’s closure from the European Court of Human Rights.

City police said they will comply with the ruling.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more