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Acid attack leaves Bolshoi Ballet's Sergei Filin nearly blind

June 21, 2013|By Deborah Vankin
  • Sergei Filin, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, is seen Jan.18 in a Moscow hospital where he was treated after being attacked with acid.
Sergei Filin, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, is seen Jan.18 in… (Associated Press / RenTV )

Sergei Filin -- the artistic director of Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet who was attacked with acid this year -- has been left nearly blind despite 18 operations, according to company spokeswoman Katerina Novikova. He is preparing for a 19th operation at a clinic in Germany.

Filin, 42, was returning home late at night in January when a masked man hurled sulfuric acid in his face. He suffered severe burns to his eyes and face. Initial reports, after his treatment in Germany, were optimistic, but Filin’s right eye is completely sightless and he’s lost 95% of his vision overall, Novikova said.

The attack and ensuing intrigue shed a spotlight on bitter infighting within the Bolshoi and sent the international dance world spinning with speculation.

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Principal dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, who has played villains in “Swan Lake” and “Ivan the Terrible,” eventually confessed to masterminding the plot because he felt Filin favored certain company members who were in line with his more traditional vision of Russian ballet, giving them better roles.

Dmitrichenko, 29, admitted to paying Yuri Zarutski about $1,600 to attack Filin -- but not with acid. That came as a surprise to Dmitrichenko.

Filin has been involved in company business by phone, speaking regularly with Galina Stepanenko, a principal dancer who has taken over Filin's duties temporarily. He aims to return to the Bolshoi as soon as he's able.

"We spoke to him recently over Skype and we all talked about issues" at the ballet," Stepanenko told Reuters. "I hope the next time we see him, it will not be as a patient in Germany but after he has already returned.”  


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