In 2018, Russia learned about one of the most high-profile and dramatic stories of domestic violence that took place in Moscow. The Khachaturian sisters were accused of killing their own father. According to investigators, 57-year-old Mikhail Khachaturyan was sent to the other world with a knife and a hammer by his own daughters, the eldest of whom was a sophomore student, and the other two were still finishing school. Five years have passed. The general public has forgotten the story, but the spiritual wounds of those who came into contact with the tragedy of the Khachaturian family will not heal so soon.
On the evening of July 27, 2018, Mikhail Khachaturyan’s life ended in an ordinary high-rise building at 56 Altufevskoye Highway. According to the investigation, a 57-year-old man was killed by his own daughters. It all started when Mikhail Khachaturian fell asleep in an armchair. The middle daughter, Angelina (she was 18), allegedly hit him on the head with a hammer, the youngest, Maria, 17 years old, wielded a knife. At that moment, the eldest daughter Krestina ran into the room. She sprayed her father in the face with pepper spray. He tried to run outside. But in the stairwell, Angelina caught up with him, who took the knife from her sister. She allegedly stabbed him several times, and Mikhail Khachaturyan no longer showed signs of life.
In total, the elder Khachaturian received more than thirty blows with a knife and a hammer. After that, the girls themselves called the emergency services. They were arrested. After that, a long, simply painful trial began.
On his last day, Mikhail Khachaturian returned home from the neuropsychiatric center. At home, he found that the apartment was not tidied up, and the girls spent more money during his absence than he expected. Then, according to the sisters, Khachaturian took turns spraying gas from a canister into their faces, which caused the eldest daughter, Krestina, to lose consciousness: she had asthma. Shortly thereafter, Khachaturian was allegedly killed.
The sisters’ mother, Aurelia Dunduk, said that Mikhail Khachaturyan allegedly started beating her when they had just moved in together. She had nowhere to go: she was pregnant. He also beat and humiliated his son Sergei when he grew up a little. Khachaturian was rich and regularly took his family on vacation, but, according to Aurelia, it was a vacation for him: she “worked as a maid” during these trips. Sometimes Khachaturian promised that it would not happen again, but, of course, he did not keep his promises.
Michael kicked his son out of the house early and threatened to kill him if he returned. As a result, in 2015, when the eldest daughter was 16, Khachaturian also kicked out his wife. Relief for the sisters came when the “beloved parent” left. In correspondence, by the way, they called daddy none other than Pakhan.
Somewhere he disappeared regularly and gave money, so there was an opportunity to rest. By the way, Mr. Khachaturian’s place of work remained a vague question: a certain “business” brought him money, but what kind of business it was and where he disappeared after Mikhail’s death remained a mystery.
What did relatives and neighbors say about Khachaturian
On some neighbors, a caring father made a depressing impression. Stories in the spirit of “he yelled at me, and then pointed a gun and threatened” were told by different people independently of each other. So many people accepted his death with relief. Another detail is that when Khachaturian was actually killed, the neighbors did not react at all to the screams. From their point of view, it was the usual background noise from the apartment of the father and sisters.
It is possible that daughters and neighbors slandered Khachaturian. Mikhail’s relatives believe that he was a kind person, except that he tried to raise his daughters in strict norms of conservative morality, and his daughters were killed solely out of a desire to lead a riotous and dissolute lifestyle.
– They needed freedom, they needed to lead the lifestyle that their father forbade them. My father was very strict, he wanted them to be decent, says Mikhail’s sister.
– I lived in the entrance with him for more than twenty years. All these witnesses know nothing about him. One of all in the entrance was a normal man. His daughters are simply socially dangerous, they should not be released, says neighbor Valentina Bezhbalova. She is sure that the witnesses who appeared on TV and spoke about the dark sides of life in the Khachaturian family simply received money for their performances.
Judging by the correspondence of the sisters, they freely spent money and allegedly already knew what drugs were. Chats from girls’ phones contain some details.
How did the sisters live?
The girls discussed both drinking and partying. Khachaturian was absent from home for a long time and could disappear for weeks somewhere abroad. According to relatives, while he was gone, the girls indulged in simple teenage hedonism. The sisters threw money in the literal and figurative sense, petty hooligans.
“They weren’t afraid of anything,” lawyer Georgy Chuguashvili, representing the late Mikhail Khachaturian, told Life. – They spent money, did everything in spite of. The girls really didn’t look like the shy ones from the church choir.
According to the girls’ mother, she wrote statements about the beatings to the police, but this case was put on the brakes. In the same way, no reaction was caused by the appeal to the guardianship authorities of the director of the school where the sisters studied – he claimed that since February 2017 they had been systematically skipping classes, explaining this by the illness of their father, and as a result, they were not allowed to take the exam (as a result, the middle sister did not finish school at the age of 18). Khachaturyan allegedly simply did not let guardianship representatives into the apartment, and no one made any more attempts to check what was happening.
The situation in the family was extremely unhealthy long before the murder. It is possible that the idea itself has matured before the fateful day.
According to security forces, the two sisters went to their father’s car before the murder to get a hunting knife: the knives in the house were too blunt. According to lawyer Mikhail Khachaturyan, a link to a resource was found in one of the phones, where it was written where to hit a person with a knife in order to inflict a mortal wound.
According to Mikhail’s nephew Arsen Khachaturian, Maria even managed to say goodbye to her friend in advance in correspondence, saying that the sisters intend to do something extraordinary.
The lawyer of the deceased claims that the girls called an ambulance for themselves, and inflicted injuries on themselves with a knife in advance, creating an alibi. In a word, what happened could not be the result of a spontaneous outburst of rage, but the implementation of a long-term plan.
Why the investigation considers the father of the sisters a rapist
Finally, this story remains an intractable mystery. The girls told the investigation about alleged harassment and rape by their father.
The media reported that at least one pornographic video with a daughter was found on Khachaturian’s phone. In addition, correspondence was found in the girls’ phones. There was a phrase from the older sister Krestina: “It’s a nightmare at home. I didn’t have time to go home, as I already began to pester. Was it difficult for him to pick up a prostitute?”
As a result, in March 2021, investigators opened a posthumous criminal case against Mikhail Khachaturyan under articles 132 of the Criminal Code (sexual assault against a minor), 242 of the Criminal Code (illegal production and circulation of pornographic materials using the Internet) and 111 of the Criminal Code (intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm). for two or more persons). The sisters were recognized as victims in this case. Experts of the Institute. Serbsky found that the girls were constantly in a state of severe nervous breakdown, and the youngest was not sane at all at the time of the murder, which excludes criminal liability.
The case against Mikhail Khachaturyan began to be heard in the Butyrsky District Court of Moscow back in April 2023. The next meeting is scheduled for July 28.
However, the issue of sexual violence is not as simple as it might seem.
– Initially, in the main case, the investigation imputed violence, including sexual violence. The investigator refused to open a criminal case for Mikhail’s death. We have appealed this. And the position of the girls’ lawyers was very interesting: there is no need to cancel this and conduct an investigation into how and what happened in reality. I believe that it was not in their interests, because the investigation disproved their version of violence, – says Alexei Papenov, lawyer for the Khachaturian family.
According to him, the DNA in the girls’ bed was isolated from sweat-fat traces. It is quite obvious that Mikhail lived in this apartment, he could sit on the bed, something else. It doesn’t say anything. Those examinations that say that there was violence do not reflect reality, since all the expert opinions are based only on the testimony of the sisters.
The problems of such crimes are similar everywhere. It is extremely difficult to prove sexual crimes if all traces have disappeared long ago. In addition, girls allegedly do not accurately remember the details of harassment, even the most seemingly basic ones.
Alexey Lobarev, a veteran criminal investigator and public figure, remarks:
– When there were face-to-face confrontations, for example, the lawyer says: “I molested in Israel.” The girl says: “I have not been to Israel.” – “And where have you been?” – “In Sochi”. – “Comrade investigator, write down: molested in Sochi. And when did you molest in Sochi?” — “But I don’t remember.”
Proving sexual abuse of girls is currently an extremely difficult task to solve: the evidence is mostly circumstantial. In any case, the issue of sexual harassment of the sisters will have to be put to the court.
Trial of the Khachaturian sisters
The sisters are charged with murder by a group of persons by prior conspiracy. This is a serious article that provides for a very severe punishment – up to 20 years in prison.
The victims in this case are the sisters of the deceased, Naira and Marina Khachaturyan, as well as the husband of Nelly’s third sister, Gennady Musaelyan. In their opinion, daughters slander their father.
Since August 2020, the Moscow City Court has repeatedly tried to select jurors in this high-profile case, but the procedure has failed for various reasons. In December, the Basmanny District Court overturned the decision of the Main Investigation Department of the ICR, which refused to initiate a case against the late Mikhail Khachaturyan for violence against his daughters. And in February 2021, the Moscow City Court supported the petition of the accused and the victims and sent the criminal case of the Khachaturian sisters for further investigation.
The girls themselves spent some time in the pre-trial detention center, but at the moment they are at large with a number of restrictions: they cannot communicate with witnesses in the case and with each other and use the Internet.
Although the girls are forbidden to communicate and they live in different apartments, there are photographs in which the sisters are together and communicate. According to Arsen Khachaturian, girls use social networks and generally lead a more or less ordinary life.
Now all the sisters are working. They did not enter universities, the future is foggy. With no access to the Internet and a lack of higher education, they have a very narrow range of possible specialties and are engaged in work where it is not required: Maria, for example, is reportedly working as a waitress. It is impossible to call all this a normal life: the ghost of prison still looms ahead – for years.
The case of the Khachaturian sisters caused a massive discussion of the topic of domestic violence in Russia. On the whole, the case of the sisters brought the very question of domestic tyrants into public discussion. There is a lot going on behind closed doors in our country, including beatings, sexual assault, murders. Legislation in this area is frankly imperfect. In fact, it is often more dangerous and more difficult for victims of kitchen boxers and domestic Humbert Humberts to actively resist than to put up with violence.
Now the defense is trying to convince the court to qualify the actions of the girls as a necessary defense. The court has a very difficult decision to make. And this decision can seriously affect the future of many families in Russia.