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Updated: Suspects questioned in Bolshoi Ballet acid attack

March 05, 2013|By Deborah Vankin
  • Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin speaks to journalists as he leaves a hospital in Moscow where he was treated after the acid attack.
Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin speaks to journalists… (AFP/Getty Images )

Moscow police have isolated three suspects in the bizarre case of an acid attack on Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin.

The suspects, one of whom is Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, were detained and questioned on Tuesday.

Police suspect Dmitrichenko may have masterminded the attack, in which sulfuric acid was hurled into Filin’s face outside of his home, authorities said. The incident left Filin with third-degree burns and almost blinded him.

Yuri Zarutski, 35, is believed to be Filin's assailant. He was also brought in for questioning along with Andrei Lipatov. According to a statement on the Interior Ministry website, Lipatov is suspected of driving Zarutski to and from the attack.

"The detainment gives us hope that the perpetrators will be found and punished," said Bolshoi Ballet spokesperson Katerina Novikova. She added that Filin had received had phone threats and his Facebook account had been hacked before the attack.

The Jan. 17 attack exposed the divisive lines within the company’s leadership and the infighting among the 200 dancers whom Filin assigned to stage roles.   

Speaking anonymously, one Bolshoi dancer told The Times that Dmitrichenko's girlfriend, Anzhelina Vorontsova, was upset with Filin when he didn’t grant her a coveted role.

"She was very disappointed with the way Filin treated her, not giving her the roles that she wanted," the source said.

The Moscow ballet company was scheduled to debut a new production of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" in late March to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian composer's work. It would have been broadcast to cinemas around the world, but was canceled shortly after the attack.

Filin is now undergoing treatment in Germany, Novikova said, and may return to work in summer.

ALSO:

Bolshoi artistic director attacked with acid

Bolshoi Ballet director says acid attack was likely an inside job

A 'Rite of Spring' that Nijinsky and Stravinsky would recognize

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