A new step has been taken in the investigation into the murder of singer Igor Talkov, since which more than thirty years have passed. A decision has been made to arrest the suspect. This verdict, however, was delivered in absentia.
“From the moment of extradition, or from the moment of detention”
According to TASS with reference to the joint press service of the courts of St. Petersburg , On January 20, 2022, the Petrograd Court of St. Petersburg arrested Valery Shlyafman in absentia. “The measure for Shlyafman was chosen for two months from the moment of extradition to the territory of the Russian Federation, or from the moment of detention on the territory of the Russian Federation,” — the message says.
The reopening of the investigation into the murder, which took place on October 6, 1991, became known in 2018. “On November 13, 2018, the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for St. Petersburg resumed the investigation of a criminal case initiated on the grounds of a crime under par. “b”, “d” Art. 102 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, on the fact of the murder on October 6, 1991 in the sports palace “Yubileiny” singer Igor Talkov, — according to a statement posted on the agency's website. — During the investigation, sufficient evidence was collected, on the basis of which, on May 6, 1992 and March 18, 1993, decisions were made to bring Valery Shlyafman as an accused in the murder of Igor Talkov through negligence, i.e. on the grounds of a crime under Article 106 of the Criminal Code RSFSR, a preventive measure in the form of detention was chosen. It was established that in January 1992, Shlyafman left for permanent residence in the State of Israel. On March 19, 1993, the criminal proceedings were suspended on the basis of paragraph 1 of part 1 of Art. 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the RSFSR (in the case when the accused has fled from the investigation or court, or when for other reasons his whereabouts have not been established), », — stated in the press service of the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee for St. Petersburg.
Tatyana Talkova, the widow of the murdered man, was recognized as the victim in the case.
On October 14, 2021, the crime was reclassified from Article 106 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR (“Murder committed by negligence”) to paragraph “d” article 102 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR (“Murder and attempted murder committed in a way dangerous to life”).
The conflict in Yubileiny
34-year-old Talkov was killed in the Palace Sports «Jubilee» in St. Petersburg during a combined concert of Soviet pop stars, organized by the production company LIS’S.
The performer, who started with lyrical songs, in the last years of his activity focused on exposing the Soviet regime, creating a whole musical program called “Court”. For this reason, versions were put forward that high-ranking representatives of the Soviet elite or KGB officers could be involved in the death of Talkov.
However, such assumptions were not confirmed. Talkov was the victim of a conflict that broke out behind the scenes. The reason was the order in which the artists entered the stage. Since it was considered prestigious to perform as late as possible, 28-year-old Igor Malakhov, bodyguard of the singer Aziza, tried to convince the organizers of the concert and the Talkov team to give up their turn.
About five minutes before Talkov's supposed appearance on the stage, a skirmish broke out between him and Malakhov in his dressing room, after which the artist's guards took Aziza's bodyguard into the corridor.
There, Malakhov took out a revolver of the Nagant system and pointed it at his opponents. His concert director Shlyafman ran up to Talkov, shouting: “Igor, give me something, he got a gun.” Talkov replied: “We will find our own for his cannon.” After that, the singer took out his gas pistol and went out into the corridor.
The musician shot several times from a gas pistol in the direction of Malakhov. The shots had no effect, perhaps due to the fact that the cartridges were faulty or expired. Talkov's security, taking advantage of Malakhov's confusion, attacked him. Malakhov managed to fire two shots from his revolver. One bullet hit the floor, the second hit the equipment box.
Then the revolver was knocked out of Malakhov's hands. But, nevertheless, the third shot from him still happened, and the bullet hit the singer.
According to witnesses, Talkov said: “How painful.” Then he walked a few meters to the stage, fell near a large mirror and died within minutes. By the time the ambulance arrived, it was already impossible to help the singer. Nevertheless, doctors, who feared excesses, took the already dead Talkov to the hospital, where his death was confirmed.
The forensic experts agreed that the wounding of Igor Talkov left no chance of survival.
The examination did not confirm Malakhov's guilt
A criminal case No. 381959 was initiated into the murder of Talkov by the prosecutor's office of the city of St. Petersburg. The first charge in the murder of Talkov was brought against Malakhov, who fled the scene and was put on the All-Union wanted list on October 10, 1991. On October 16, Malakhov voluntarily surrendered to the authorities.
Initially, it was believed that Aziza's bodyguard shot. But the examination showed that Malakhov could not fire the fatal shot. Everything pointed to the fact that they were shooting from the place where Shlyafman was.
In May 1994, the Petrogradsky District Court of St. Petersburg sentenced Malakhov to two and a half years of suspended imprisonment for the illegal acquisition and carrying of firearms .
After that, Malakhov disappeared for almost 20 years. New information about him appeared only in the early 2010s. It became known that Aziza's former bodyguard changed his last name, lived in the village and was married to an actress. In 2016, it became known that the defendant in the Talkov murder case died after a serious illness.
No extradition from Israel
Concert director Shlyafman left for Israel for permanent residence in February 1992.
Several appeals from Russian law enforcement agencies to their Israeli counterparts with a request for assistance in the investigation did not yield any results. In 1997, the Prosecutor General of Russia, Yuri Skuratov, announced that if the evidence provided was considered convincing enough, Shlyafman would be tried in Israel. However, no investigation and prosecution of Shlyafman in Israel followed.
The former concert director himself, who changed his last name, remained silent for a long time, but in 2012 he told Komsomolskaya Pravda: “The murder took place on October 6th. And I left on February 12! I didn't run. Talkov's wife warned that I was going to Israel. It was to everyone's advantage that the matter be hushed up, that my departure was looked through. Through Kiev flew to Tel Aviv. The investigator came here five months later to interrogate me, but he was not allowed to. The Russian prosecutor's office made so many requests about me! And the Israeli prosecutor's office told them: send the case materials, if guilty, we will judge, and if not, leave it alone. The case was not sent. Nobody wants to be carried through to the end. About eight years ago, they sent a paper that the case was closed due to prescription. I had to sign, but I refused. I stated that I could only sign a termination for lack of corpus delicti. This would recognize my innocence.
Shlyafman insisted that Malakhov was the killer, and the evidence against him was destroyed in order to hush up the case. However, it is not clear who and why would need to shield Malakhov — the version of the political assassination was not confirmed, and Malakhov himself had no serious connections in the criminal world.
Stupidity and cheap “show-offs”
The representative of the investigation, as part of the current meeting on the choice of a measure of restraint, said that Shlyafman initially interfered with the investigation, trying to put the case on the wrong track, and not only testifying against Malakhov, but and urging others to do the same. According to the competent authorities, Shlyafman's guilt is confirmed by expert opinions and investigative experiments.
The political version, general chaos in the country, active interference with the investigation by Shlyafman prevented the investigation from being brought to its logical conclusion back in 1991-1992. Although eyewitnesses noted — the concert director, by his behavior, actually dragged Talkov into a conflict, instead of trying to save him from a dangerous situation.
Fans of conspiracy and now continue to stomp on this story no worse than on the notorious “Dyatlov Pass”. True, the main problem now is not in them. Shlyafman, who is now 57 years old, is an Israeli citizen, and, to put it mildly, is not rushing to his homeland to stand trial. In these circumstances, it is difficult to imagine bringing the story to its logical end, at least in the usual order of legal proceedings.
As for the real reasons for the murder of Talkov, retired police lieutenant colonel Andrey Kivinov , the author of the idea of the legendary “Streets of Broken Lanterns”, once very accurately described what happened in the “Yubileiny” as a common story of that era: “Due to any stupidity and cheap show-offs, they could start shooting. In addition, nervousness reigned in society: a little — clung to the barrel».
So, we can say that Talkov was ruined by the onset of the criminal era, a quick temper and a mistake in choosing a person who enjoyed his trust.