Russian court reopens LUKoil official crash case

Russia’s Constitutional Court has reopened the case of two women who were killed in a road accident last year involving the vice-president of oil giant LUKoil.

The Investigative Committee declared the case closed in August last year after LUKoil’s Anatoly Barkov was cleared over the deaths of gynecologist Vera Sidelnikova and her daughter-in-law, Olga Alexandrina, also a doctor.

Police put the blame squarely on Alexandrina, despite evidence that Barkov’s chauffeur-driven Mercedes pulled into the oncoming lane to try to avoid traffic, where it collided head-on with the women’s Citroen on a major Moscow thoroughfare on February 25, 2010.

The deaths of the two women helped galvanize a grassroots protest against the widespread use – and abuse – of flashing blue lights for VIP vehicles.

“Decisions that were taken with regard to Olga Alexandrina and the complaints of [her father] Alexei Alexandrin will be reconsidered,” the Constitutional Court said in a press release on Thursday.

“Where there are arguments, the relatives of the deceased should have the right to demand a further investigation,” Judge Nikolai Melnikov told reporters.

He said however that there was “no doubt that [Alexandrina] was to blame.”

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