Bolshoi Dancer Admits Prompting Acid Attack

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Moscow police say Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko – a top soloist specializing in playing villains – allegedly conspired with two other men in a January acid attack on the dance company’s artistic director Sergei Filin.

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Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin

Filin-who had been appointed to his position two years ago amid fierce rivalry with other troupe members-on Jan. 17 was cornered on the street near his home. Assailants splashed his face with a vial of highly concentrated sulfuric acid.

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Filin suffered third-degree burns over much of his face. Doctors reportedly struggled to save his eyesight. He has been undergoing treatment in Germany for several weeks, and is expected to return to his Bolshoi post by summer, according to today’s Christian Science Monitor. The newspaper reported further:

The two accomplices – who police say were paid by Dmitrichenko – were named as Yuri Zarutsky, who is alleged to have carried out the attack, and Andrei Lipatov, who is suspected of driving the getaway car.

The three suspects will go before a judge tomorrow to determine bail, and could now face up to eight years in prison for “willfully inflicting damage on the health of another…”
…Other sources have told Russian journalists that Dimitrichenko was furious that Filin had supposedly stalled the career of his girlfriend, ballerina Anzhelika Vorontsova. Ms. Vorontsova was passed over for an important role in the Bolshoi’s upcoming production of Swan Lake – in which Dmitrichenko himself was slated to play the part of the evil sorcerer, Von Rothbart, who turns a group of beautiful women into swans…

… One of the theories about the attack on Filin that Moscow police were said to be looking into his supposed efforts to combat the misappropriation of Bolshoi tickets.

Right after the January attack, Bolshoi Theatre spokesperson Yekaterina Novikova told the Russian paper Ria Novosti that the assault came after months of intimidation, including Filin’s car tires being slashed and his receiving threatening phone calls. Shortly before the attack, his Facebook page and an email account were hacked.